Snoop Dogg of­fers a blast from the past

The rap­per will per­form his 1993 de­but al­bum, ‘Dog­gystyle,’ from start to fin­ish.

Los Angeles Times - - POP & HISS - By Au­gust Brown au­gust.brown @la­times.com Twit­ter: @au­gust­brown

In this re­cent wave of ’90s hip-hop nos­tal­gia — ma­jor new films on N.W.A, Tu­pac Shakur and Bad Boy Records were all re­leased in the last year or two — one core MC never quite got in on the rush.

That’s be­cause Snoop Dogg had never gone away.

Snoop, the de facto voice of SoCal party mu­sic for 25 years, re­mains a fix­ture on rap and pop ra­dio, and he co­head­lined the Coachella Val­ley Mu­sic and Arts Fes­ti­val with Dr. Dre (and the Tu­pac il­lu­sion) in 2012. His very suave 2017 al­bum, “Neva Left,” sums it up nicely: Snoop never needed to come back, as he was here all along.

But at this week­end’s Hard Sum­mer fes­ti­val, the rap­per will, for the first time, take a deep dive into his past. He’ll will per­form his 1993 de­but work, “Dog­gystyle,” from top to bot­tom.

The al­bum is burned into the mem­o­ries of many an An­ge­leno and Long Beach res­i­dent who grew up around it — the bawdy skits, the slowrolling funk bass and Snoop’s sneer­ing, la­conic de­liv­ery. It’s sur­pris­ing it took him un­til 2017 to try it out at a fes­ti­val.

The al­bum was a rib­ald mas­ter­piece that an­nounced a ma­jor new voice in West Coast rap. As South­ern Cal­i­for­nia hip-hop cul­ture was com­ing out of the N.W.A era, Long Beach na­tive Snoop teamed up with Dr. Dre on the 1992 sin­gle “Deep Cover” and that year bol­stered Dre’s work “The Chronic” with his laid-back men­ace.

On “Dog­gystyle,” he found the per­fect notch among the syn­the­sized funk of his youth, the brash lyri­cism of his peers and the com­mer­cial po­ten­tial of a coun­try whose fear and fas­ci­na­tion with gangsta rap would only es­ca­late.

Hard Sum­mer has al­ways known how to pair hip-hop with EDM and bass mu­sic. Rae Srem­murd, Mi­gos, Skepta, Ty Dolla Sign and Mike Will Made It are among the other hip-hop-lean­ing acts at the fes­ti­val (and one, Egyp­tian Lover, has a ca­reer that even pre-dates Snoop’s).

Last year, Snoop’s ’90s L.A. peer Ice Cube head­lined Hard Sum­mer with a fe­ro­cious, ex­plic­itly po­lit­i­cal set that put his clas­sic rap tracks in a new, ur­gent con­text.

For Snoop, the oc­ca­sion fi­nally made sense to try on his de­but again.

“I’ve heard a lot about the en­ergy that this fes­ti­val brings,” he said by email. “Look­ing for­ward to giv­ing L.A. an­other clas­sic show for the books.”

Hard founder Gary Richards lights up when talk­ing about the set, as “Dog­gystyle” eas­ily slots into his all-time fa­vorite al­bums list (the two col­lab­o­rated on a song, “Hard for the Night,” un­der Richards’ DJ alias Destructo).

“Snoop is a god to me,” Richards said.

At other dance mu­sic fes­ti­vals, Richards said, there were too many “lucky EDM dudes that got a break. Don’t get it twisted, it’s Snoop Dogg. I can’t be­lieve we got him, but I also want it to be special. What can we do? I want the bath­tub and the door­bell rings, peo­ple pour­ing drinks, I want the whole she­bang. Let’s re-cre­ate the record.”

Snoop plans to bring out a bevy of guests from the al­bum, although he de­clines to say who.

“I’ve been re­hears­ing and go­ing to bring some ex­tra sur­prises to fans, ya dig,” he said. But even though he’s fi­nally al­lowed him­self the chance to reach back to his first al­bum, he’s more cu­ri­ous to see how it plays out for a very young crowd of 65,000.

Ev­ery­one’s likely to know “Ain’t No Fun” and “Gin and Juice,” but how many kids in the era of stream­ing ser­vices have heard the whole record in one go? Even for a gen­er­a­tion raised on playlists and in­stant-grat­i­fi­ca­tion sin­gles, there is still a cer­tain joy to fol­low­ing an al­bum through its in­tended long arc.

Ev­ery­thing — from the racy skits to the sound ef­fects and track or­der — is es­sen­tial to why “Dog­gystyle” made such an im­pact. And that’s where Snoop feels most con­fi­dent about this show. The vibe and aes­thetic he pi­o­neered in 1993 more than holds up in a post-EDM, ev­ery­thing-all-the-time mu­sic cul­ture.

“We’re clas­sic — we laid the foun­da­tion for the sounds, styles and artists you are hearing to­day,” Snoop said. “That never goes outta style. I love see­ing th­ese new artists out here flip­pin’ it and putting their own on it.”

Tyler Kauf­man Getty Im­ages for Di­a­geo

SNOOP DOGG says of the fes­ti­val: “Look­ing for­ward to giv­ing L.A. an­other clas­sic show for the books.”

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