Q&A with Snoop Dogg
Photo by Jeff Farsai Snooperman with Slightly Stoopid.
It only took about six weeks to get Snoop Dogg to answer a batch of e-mail questions for a profile advancing the July 15 Blazed and Confused Tour stop at Red Rocks co-starring Slightly Stoopid, Stephen Marley and Mickey Avalon -- but it was worth it. The former Calvin Broadus offered up a frenzy of loony commentary, self-promotion and ultra-creative spelling in the Q&A on view in its entirety after the jump.
Snoop tackles questions related to the tour; Slightly Stoopid; the quality of Marley's weed; the possibility of him issuing a reggae album; the bad rep earned by hip-hop concerts; his mania for endorsing pretty much any product (except condoms); collaborations on his upcoming Malice in Wonderland recording and beyond; his fondness for original gangsta Johnny Cash; his MTV show Dogg After Dark, which allowed him to get his Hugh Hefner on; and his wide-ranging appeal.
According to him, he offers fun for the whole family. Hope you don't mind if Junior inhales, though....
Westword (Michael Roberts): Who came up with the idea for the Blazed and Confused tour? How would you describe the concept?
Snoop Dogg: Tha whole tour is one large summer party, ya dig?!? Good music, hot women, and tha best party ur city has seeen this summer and year. Slightly Stoopid and Snoop Dogg, as well as Stephen Marley, all have one thang in common and that's to put on a great show and make sure fans walk out happy. We gonna do our part and damn sure tha fans will do tha same. I think tha name of tha tour says for itself, jacc!
WW: Have you been familiar with Slightly Stoopid for a while? Do you think their musical approach connects to what you do? If so, how?
SD: Ya, I been down with them for a minute. Our approach is tha same. We make good music and have a loyal fan base that crossover and are very similar to each other. That's only gonna get bigger and better on Blazed and Confused and it's for tha people and tha fans. I saw last summer with 311 that our fans luv both approaches in what we were doing. It was only right to call up my homeys Slightly and Stephen to do it again and keep making it a bigger movement.
WW: How long have you known Stephen Marley? When did you meet? Have you had a chance to hang out with him and other members of the Marley family?
SD: I've been knowin all tha Marleys since tha 90s -- they all cool people. I luv hangin with them and burnin it down. They burn paper, we burn blunts, but we definitely gonna do it big one way or anutha.
WW: Who has better weed -- you or him?
SD: Wouldn't u like to know. Two legends in their own lane with tha same thang -- ya dig?!?
WW: There are rumors that you are in the midst of making a reggae album. Is that true? If so, will Stephen be one of the guest stars? How about other people on the album?
SD: U will have to wait for that. Workin on Malice In Wonderland for a 4th quarter release. Be ready for that. I might have a reggae jam on there, u neva know. I definitely got sum gangsta shit for yo ass and a crate of hits and hot music -- that's what I do, neffew. I would def have tha Marleys on a reggae album, how can u not? I did a song with Damian Marley on Blue Carpet Treatment in 2006 and it was bangin. Shout out to Timbaland. Take ya to tha LA Zoo.
WW: Reggae is a big influence on hip-hop. Were you into it before you got into hip-hop? Or did you learn about the connections later? What's your favorite reggae album?
SD: I've been down with it since bacc in tha day. My itunes can show u that -- past to present. There's too many great ones and great people that did it and do it to label a #1. That's like askin who's the best rapper or best rap album -- depends on my mood or what I'm feelin.
WW: Over the years, a lot of people have complained about hip-hop concerts, because they're usually not as theatrical and elaborate as rock shows -- but in recent years, performers like Kanye West have raised the bar. Do you have any plans to make your set on this tour bigger and more dramatic? Or are you going to keep things simple and let the songs and your performances speak for themselves?
SD: I saw Kanye last summer in concert and he def made me wanna step my game up and that's what I did. Snoop Dogg and Tha Snoopadelics got some hits for ya and tha Dogg Pound gonna be there, too. I guarantee u gonna come and have fun, party, hear great music and leave ya wantin more. So I let u be tha judge at tha end of tha nite.
WW: At this point, you've got so many other projects that you don't really need to tour in order to make a living. What keeps you going out there?
SD: I luv touring. I luv grindin from city to city and seein tha fans worldwide. It keeps u relevant and it keeps u focused. U aint an artist if u don't have a show and u aint makin money if u aint have a tour. I'm an artist and I like gettin money, so I think that answers that, ya dig?!?
WW: Your sponsor on this tour is Olifant vodka -- and you endorse a huge list of other products. How often do you get approached to endorse a product? How many of them do you turn down? And how do you choose which ones are right for you?
SD: Everyday. A lot. The ones that succeed and make money are tha ones that are Snoop Dogg stamped. Shout out to Olifant.
WW: You asked people on your Twitter feed to suggest new products for you to endorse? What kind of suggestions did you get? What's the most ridiculous or inappropriate product you've ever been asked to endorse?
SD: Alotta crazy ones, that's for sure. But alotta people had me thinkin, too. Craziest was prob condoms. Haha. Make sure and pick up tha Snoop Crusher head phones in a hood near u -- that's tha latest project. Shout out to Tha Homeys over at Skull Candy!
WW: Speaking of Twitter, do you like the technology? Is it fun to stay in touch with fans that closely? Or do you see it mainly as a promotional tool?
SD: I use it as both. Imma big fan of Twizzle.
WW: The music business has changed so much in recent years, and albums aren't selling nearly as well as they used to. Is it even worthwhile to make an album at this point? Or does it make more sense to put out a series of singles and hope one of them hits?
SD: If u have hits on ur album, u don't need to worry about it. The music is gonna speak for itself. It's just nowadays there are so many different avenues of gettin money in music with ringtones, itunes, tha internet, websites, etc. U gotta pick a lane and run with it, and I like to run in all of tha lanes, ya dig?!? But at tha end of tha day, if u keep makin hot singles, a consumer that wants bang for their buck is gonna scoop tha album.
WW: You guest on an incredible number of songs by other artists. What are some of the most recent collaborations you've done?
SD: Soulja Boy. Dr Dre. Lalo Shifrin [it's actually "Schifrin," but he was close]. Gucci Mane. I got plenty surprises for ya on Malice In Wonderland. I ain't gonna leave ya disappointed.
WW: How do you pick which songs to put your stamp on? Is it mainly dictated by the other performers? Or the pay day? Are you ever afraid that by being on so many songs, you're going to overexpose yourself? Or after seventeen years, have you proven that overexposure isn't a problem?
SD: There's a reason why I've been makin hits since Deep Cover in 1992, and that's because I stay relevant by continuin to make hot music and pickin tha right projects to be a part of. It's not a formula. U just gotta have ur ear to tha ground and know what's gonna knock and know what's gonna flop and I'm gonna knock, ya dig? It's gonna be hot and it's gonna be bangin and tha people are gonna feel it. And if not, I'mma make sure u gonna on tha next one. U jus gonna have to make sure u makin hits with tha right people and projects, and I feel like I been doin it and gonna keep doin it.
WW: Another of your recorded projects is a remix album of Johnny Cash's music. What is it about Johnny Cash that you identify with? Is your goal to get kids raised on hip-hop to connect enough with his remixes that they'll check out the rest of his stuff?
SD: Johnny Cash is tha first Original Gangsta. I got alotta respect for tha man in blacc. He tha one I made "My Medicine" for on Ego Trippin. We did tha video in Nashville and went to his studio and met John Jr. It was big bein there and then flyin to Amsterdam to have Willie Nelson in it. All 3 of us are similar people in our own ways. Makin gangsta music and talkin plenty shit, but baccn it up, ya dig? I hope I can put people on to their music, because they both make great stuff. I got libraries of their stuff on my itunes and luv listenin to both of them. Alotta hits on tha Johnny Cash remix album. Shout out to tha Cash and Nelson family. I'mma see u when I'm bacc in Nashville and Austin.
WW: Are you going to do more episodes of your MTV show Dogg After Dark? Do you see the program as kind of like the old Playboy shows, with you in the Hugh Hefner host role?
SD: You gonna have to wait and see. Right now tha focus is finishin tha album and goin on tour. I've been in tha studio 24/7 tha past weeks and I'm puttin together tha final touches in tha kitchen and made you a hit album. Its bangin. And this tour is gonna be doin tha same thang. Dogg After Dark was definitely a hit and I enjoyed doin it. I'm a big fan of tha old variety shows and def see it as tha present day Playboy After Dark. We had tha hottest guests and performances on there and Club Kress was always craccn. Every week was a party and I'mma bring that same environment to Blazed And Confused, ya digg? Shout out to Hugh -- I jus did a show at tha Mansion and it was dope!
WW: Is your business relationship with MTV continuing? If so, what are some of the things you're involved with? And are you still filming episodses of your E show as well?
SD: It is definitely continuing. With my album Malice In Wonderland, as well as Rock Band -- it's a relationship that is only gonna get bigger and grow. We did television with Dogg After Dark and succeeded. Next is to do tha same with music in Malice and then follow up with video games. We got it all covered for ya and u don't know what we gonna hit u with next. But guarantee it's gonna knock and leave yo ass happy and wantin more.
WW: How much preparation time does each episode of these shows take? Or do you have it set up so that everything's ready when you get there and you can just kind of cruise through? Will you be filming anything for these shows or others on the road?
SD: Tha show is alotta work, but at tha same time we make it fun and a party environment. That's why Dogg After Dark was so fun and such a hit. Plus, it had dope guests and performances which made it even better. And when we weren't filmin in tha club, tha trailer out bacc was still craccn. If I tell u when we filmin, u aint gonna be surprised when u see it on tv, so don't watch me, watch tv and tune in, jacc!
WW: Over the years, you've managed to create an image that's hard-core, and yet you still appeal to families and kids. What's your secret? Is that a balance you consciously set out to strike? Or does it just happen naturally?
SD: Everyone, young to old grandpas to uncles to moms and nieces to great grandmas, luv themself sum Snoop Dogg. Whether it's my music, television shows, movies, football league, they r connected to Snoop Dogg. I go into tha booth and I come out as Snooperman. Clark Kent can't tell his secret. He and me just do it and did it naturally. Church! I'm comin to a town near you, so get ready to party. Shout out to Slightly Stoopid and Stephen Marley. We gonna be partying this summer and you better be too, jacc!