No other rapper has been able to carve such a distinct niche in hip-hop’s diverse and expansive history as Snoop Dogg. His flow is like a Southern breeze on a lazy Sunday afternoon – soothing in its feel, sturdy in its power. We’ve all witnessed the curly – headed, lyrical phenomenon from 21st Street in Long Beach, California evolve and fortify into a grown man, now just as concerned with his business as he is with his music – his game as healthy and expanding as his straightened head of hair.
Over the past seven years, Snoop dogg has lit up as many microphones around the world as he has the sticky-icky, getting fans faded with high-potency rhymes and his signature, pimped-out, gangsta-flow that began with the 1993 classic “Deep Cover.” Fresh off of last summer’s “Up In Smoke” tour, Snoop Dogg is now releasing his fifth solo album entitled Tha Last Meal, a lyrical and aural feast guaranteed to satiate the most ravenous of hip hop appetites.
Snoops respect and admiration of old-school r&b makes a strong presence on Tha Last Meal, a collection of 19 tracks that skilfully combines the feel of 70s soul and funk with Snoop’s own gangsta-groove. While Nate Dogg drops his requisite g-notes on the album (“Set It Off,” “Lay Low”), Snoop coats the majority of “Tha Last Meal” with the gangsta, P-funk falsetto of Kokane, whose distinctive vocals weave a thematic musical thread throughout the album. Also making guest appearances are Master P., The eastsidaz, Nate Dogg, Eve, Lady of Rage, Suga Free, MC Ren, George Clinton, Ice Cube and more.
Snoop reunites with Dr.Dre who produces “Hennessey and Buddah,” “True Lies” and “Lay Low” and also mixed the majority of Tha Last Meal, while Timbaland laces the high-powered “Set It Off,” (featuring MC Ren, The Lady of Rage, Nate Dogg Ice Cube and Master P), and the first single “Snoop Dogg (What’s My Name pt 2).” Additional production from Battlecat, Meech Wells, Studio Tone, Scott Storch, Soopafly and Jelly Roll all combine to give Snoop the auditory foundation to celebrate his love for old-school soul – evident on such singles as the Parliament-esque “Stacey Adams,” and “Wrong Idea,” which takes its title from a line in the Cameo hit, “Single Life.” However, songs like the gangsta’d out “Lay Low,” featuring Nate Dogg, Butch Cassidy, Goldie Loc and Tray Dee, and “Bring It On,” featuring Suga Free and Kokane, prove that his Eastside Long Beach roots are not to be slept on.
The sessions for Tha Last Meal were completed in Los Angeles and New York on both sides of this year’s hugely successful “Up In Smoke” tour. The Doggfather anchored the show alongside Dre, The Eastsidaz, Eminem, Warren G, Xzibit, Nate Dogg, Kurupt, Ice Cube, Mack 10, WC and others on a 39-city, 43-show, seven-week tour. Grossing over $24 Million, “Up In Smoke” was the most successful hip-hop tour in history.
Not content just to be one of the most popular and respected MC’s in music today, in 1999 Snoop formed his own record label, Doggystyle Records, where he is making stars out of such groups as The Eastsidaz, Kokane, Butch Cassidy and the female rap trio Doggy’s Angels. At the same time Snoop formed a film division, Snoopadelic Films. The company’s debut release was this year’s straight-to-video hit “The Eastsidaz,” which featured Snoop, Tray Dee and Goldie Loc and shipped Double Platinum.
Snoop still found time this year to film his big screen debut in the New Line Cinema horror flick “Bones,” set to hit theatres in Spring of 2001.
For fans interested in Snoop’s long and bumpy path to the present day, Snoop detailed his life story in his autobiography, “Tha Doggfather.” Written with Davin Seay, the project required a self-analysis that few people are willing to undertake. “I had to go back to my childhood and the things that made me upset, and made me who I am,” says Snoop. “I also had to expose the bad things about myself that caused me to have the bad reputation when I first came out. But it’s all a part of life. I was willing to reveal it and share it with the public.”
Between his numerous projects, Snoop manages to squeeze in a weekly radio show at The Beat in Los Angeles that is nationally syndicated on 17 stations. His air-shift sizzles with his favourite old-school r&b and hip-hop joints, as well as world premiere releases of his own material. “I play everything from Anita Baker, to old Slick Rick, to my new stuff, to NWA, and everybody loves me because I’m playing it all on the same show,” says Snoop. “Usually, you either hear all love songs or all rap – you ain’t never gonna hear it all mixed up like this.”
A Year shy from birthday number 30, Snoop Dogg has already accomplished what many rap artists will never achieve. The sheer resiliency of his 29-year hustle has made hip-hop’s own “King of All Media” currently avaliable in record stores, movie theatres, book stores, syndicated radio and in concert, C-walking across a stage near you. Snoop admits that his newfound focus on matters other than rhyming was sparked by Master P after signing with No Limit in 1998. “That’s the biggest thing Master P taught me, putting it to use with my personal knowledge and just trying to be the best artist in the game.”