Walk of Fame Hon­ors

Mu­sic stars Snoop Dogg, Michael Bublé to re­ceive stars on Hol­ly­wood Boule­vard

Variety - - Contents - By JEFF WEISS

When you mess up, you look for re­demp­tion, and when you do some­thing wrong, you try to get it right.”

Snoop Dogg

There is no Snoop Dogg mu­seum in Los Angeles County. A grave omis­sion. If a propo­si­tion to build one were put on the bal­lot, lo­cal reg­is­tered vot­ers would in­evitably ap­prove it in a land­slide. But un­til that hap­pens, the next best thing is an anony­mous brick com­pound in In­gle­wood, Calif., that serves as Snoop Dogg’s own Pais­ley Park.

The color scheme veers closer to ma­rine blue than pur­ple, but the ef­fect is sim­i­lar to Prince’s fa­bled Min­neapo­lis Xanadu. Snoop’s head­quar­ters sport a trio of record­ing studios, a tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity, a rub­ber bas­ket­ball court with 8-foot rims, a casino game room with pool and black­jack ta­bles and enough ar­cade di­ver­sions to fill up a Dave & Buster’s. A framed Snoop Lak­ers jer­sey, Blax­ploita­tion film posters, count­less plat­inum records, and mu­rals of Kobe and Shaq, Michael Jack­son, George Clin­ton and “Star Wars” adorn the walls.

If you Rip Van Win­kled the past quar­ter cen­tury and woke up inside this fortress, you could swiftly rec­og­nize the 180- de­gree reversal of Snoop Dogg’s rep­u­ta­tion. It was 25 years ago in Au­gust that Snoop was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of first- de­gree mur­der and the press im­me­di­ately branded him pub­lic en­emy No. 1. Two months later, he dropped his in­stant clas­sic, “Dog­gystyle,” which sold more than 800,000 copies in its first week, set­ting records for the fastest- sell­ing rap al­bum of all-time and the most by a de­but­ing artist, and he was ac­quit­ted of the charges.

That was then and this was now. Mar­i­juana is le­gal to­day in Cal­i­for­nia and Snoop went from Amer­ica’s Most Wanted to “Amer­i­can Idol” ( lit­er­ally). Walk­ing into the com­pound, you glimpse a framed and signed photo of Snoop meet­ing the Oba­mas in the Oval Of­fice. In an­other glass case, a poster ad­ver­tises his Emmy-nom­i­nated VH1 show with white lace-life­style mogul, Martha Ste­wart. Jay Gatz wished he could’ve rein­vented him­self as art­fully as Calvin Broadus — a re­al­ity that “The Simp­sons” ac­knowl­edged when they con­scripted him to voice him­self on the episode, “The Great Phatsby.”

At 47 years old, Mr. Mur­der Was the Case now reigns over a flour­ish­ing branded em­pire of cannabis-re­lated busi­nesses, com­mands the un­con­di­tional love of both you and your grand­mother, still has a song in reg­u­lar ter­res­trial ra­dio ro­ta­tion (“Smile Bitch”), and on Nov. 19 will re­ceive that ul­ti­mate flex of “You Made It” celebrity, a star on the Hol­ly­wood Walk of Fame. Oh, and he’s still

con­tro­ver­sial enough to be on the re­ceiv­ing end of at­tacks from Pres­i­dent Trump.

“You gotta put that work in,” Snoop ex­plains, puff­ing on a blunt in the Moth­er­ship, the largest stu­dio in the com­plex — full of black lights, burn­ing can­dles and flat- screen TVS. Atop the record­ing con­sole, a 16- cam­era se­cu­rity Panop­ti­con mon­i­tors every­one coming and go­ing. A bong is tucked in­con­spic­u­ously un­der­neath an end ta­ble cov­ered with roses.

“It’s not like they just gave this to me,” Snoop con­tin­ues. “The [press] was out to get me. I had to prove them wrong and do all the right things to get my­self in fa­vor. When you mess up you look for re­demp­tion, and when you do some­thing wrong, you try to get it right. That’s where I am right now.”

Re­demp­tion is an al­lu­sion to “Re­demp­tion of a Dogg,” the semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal tour­ing mu­si­cal that has ab­sorbed much of Snoop’s early fall sched­ule. It’s one of roughly 74 projects that Snoop has go­ing on at all times, in­clud­ing his new cook­book (“From Crook to Cook: Plat­inum Recipes From tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen”), his GGN news show (coming soon in adapted form to film and tele­vi­sion) and a game show (“Snoop Dogg Presents The Joker’s Wild,” re­turn­ing to TBS next year). His most re­cent al­bum, “Snoop Dogg Presents Bi­ble of Love” topped the gospel charts in March, and he hints that it’s about to nom­i­nated for a Grammy.

“I’ve got 18 nom­i­na­tions and not one f—ing Grammy,” he says. This makes him the Su­san Lucci of mu­sic, the mostever nom­i­na­tions with­out a win for a per­former. “Not one! And now I’m get­ting nom­i­nated for an­other one for Best Gospel Al­bum. If I get 20 nom­i­na­tions with­out a win, I’m go­ing to make my­self a Grammy and have peo­ple come over and ash in that s—t.”

How did we get here? The first an­swer is that Snoop Dogg is sui generis, the Amer­i­can Dream writ weird, an icon in a stoned out­law lin­eage that in­cludes Wil­lie Nel­son, Keith Richards, George Clin­ton and Lee Perry. There are some artists who spawn en­tire schools of im­i­ta­tors, but Snoop can­not be mim­icked. We of­ten con­flate ge­nius with ec­cen­tric­ity — as though the nakedly trans­gres­sive is the most ob­vi­ous sign of bril­liance. But Snoop is a ge­nius of a dif­fer­ent sort, im­pro­vi­sa­tional and light­ning- swift in re­sponse, ca­pa­ble of re­veal­ing ad­di­tional lay­ers of com­plex­ity with­out rein­vent­ing him­self (Snoop Lion aside). Other than Si­na­tra, ar­guably no one in pop- cul­ture his­tory has been rel­e­vant longer.

In per­son, he can only be de­scribed as be­ing like Snoop, which is to say time­less — the ef­fort­less per­son­i­fi­ca­tion of cool. He re­mains skinny as a spliff, clad in a navy blue and red Adi­das track­suit and slip­pers. His braids are cov­ered by a white hat with a weed leaf on it as if he just stepped out of the “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” video. That’s where the world first dis­cov­ered the East­side Long Beach na­tive, who had spent his late teens in and out of jail be­fore his child­hood friend and rap part­ner,

Snoop knows what’s hap­pen­ing a few steps be­fore it man­i­fests. He’s a cap­tain of cul­ture.”

Ted Chung

War­ren G, brought him to his half- brother, Dr. Dre. From there, per­fec­tion was per­fected.

“Dre taught me so much, but I learned so much from hav­ing [rap­per and long­time Dre col­lab­o­ra­tor] DOC as my sen­sei. He re­ally showed me how to write,” Snoop says, aban­don­ing the blunt half­way. “The last time I went to Dal­las, he came to my per­for­mance and hugged me af­ter the show and said, ‘I’m so proud of you cuz.’ That’s the ul­ti­mate feel­ing: when your coach can be im­pressed that you be­came a great player and it’s all be­cause of him.”

If the most su­per­fi­cially vis­i­ble side of Snoop is the hilarious smoked­out un­cle, more nu­anced strata ex­ist un­der­neath. In con­ver­sa­tion, he’s a seri- ous mu­sic his­to­rian, quick to pay rev­er­ence to his peers and spir­i­tual an­ces­tors. He’s still in slight awe of be­ing friends with George Clin­ton, still proud that when they first met decades ago, Clin­ton called him the “pick of the lit­ter.”

“When I met [Clin­ton], I said, ‘You didn’t know, but on your song “Atomic Dog,” you shouted me out and I wasn’t even in the game,’” Snoop laughs. “He was like, ‘What are you talk­ing about?’ I was like, ‘ You said, “fu­tur­is­tic bow wow.”’ That’s me. I’m the big bow wow and I’m from the fu­ture.”

There are too many sto­ries with Snoop; it’s im­pos­si­ble to even know where to be­gin. He talks about how Suge Knight be­friended War­ren Beatty and reg­u­larly brought him to Death Row. He and Tu­pac hit it off, and that’s how the late Makaveli got into Ver­sace. It was also Tu­pac who first en­cour­aged Snoop to think be­yond mu­sic.

“Tu­pac was all about be­ing in movies and a part of movies. I liked movies. He gave me the bug,” Snoop re­calls.

Then he acts out an old ex­change be­tween him and Pac.

“N—a, you need to be act­ing, you’re a star,”

“Nah, you trip­ping. I ain’t no moth­erf—ing ac­tor.”

“Yes you is, n—a, I’m telling you.”

Snoop con­tin­ues: “That’s the kind of per­son he was. He’d push s—t on you if he knew you was great — if he knew you could do bet­ter.”

Af­ter Tu­pac’s mur­der and Death Row’s sub­se­quent de­cline, the pre­scient Snoop switched to Mas­ter P’s No Limit Records. At the time, con­tro­versy sur­rounded the no­tion of a de­fin­i­tive West Coast artist sign­ing with the big­gest la­bel in the then-fledg­ling South. In hind­sight, he in­tu­itively grasped that the re­gion would be­come hip-hop’s big­gest over the next two decades.

Snoop’s third ca­reer phase be­gan in the early years of this mil­len­nium. If he spent his first mu­si­cal decade within the con­fines of Death Row and No Limit ex­pec­ta­tions, he was sud­denly free to ex­per­i­ment and ex­pand the bound­aries of what be­ing Snoop Dogg meant.

“It’s al­ways been there but I never had the room to do it. On Death Row Records, they just wanted me to be all about Death Row Records. There were so many artists on No Limit Records that you couldn’t fo­cus on no one but No Limit Records, be­cause they were all fam­ily and that’s what made sense. When I got my hands free, I could work with who­ever I wanted to, based on me hav­ing a re­la­tion­ship with them.”

En­ter the clas­sic sin­gles with Phar­rell: “Beau­ti­ful” (2003) and “Drop It Like It’s Hot” ( 2004), plus a long-promised 213 al­bum with Nate Dogg and War­ren G. As for col­lab­o­ra­tions, you’d be bet­ter served won­der­ing who Snoop hasn’t worked with.

On the sil­ver screen, he de­liv­ered mem­o­rable per­for­mances in “Baby Boy” and “Train­ing Day.” Of course, not ev­ery­thing worked out. Af­ter eight episodes, his “Doggy Fiz­zle Tele­viz­zle” show on MTV, uh, fiz­zled. In ret­ro­spect, his for­ays into porn (2001’s “Snoop Doggy’s Dog­gystyle,” dis­trib­uted by Hustler) and an even-more shock­ing and short-lived de­ci­sion to quit weed were per­haps ill- ad­vised.

But through­out this un­prece­dented run, Snoop dis­played a cre­ative fear­less­ness that be­lies con­ven­tional logic. When he re­leased 2007’s “Sen­sual Se­duc­tion,” the retro- erotic bal­lad, it os­ten­si­bly seemed that his synapses had short- cir­cuited.

In re­al­ity, it be­came a clas­sic first-wave Au­toTune an­them that cracked the Bill­board Top 10. Dur­ing the late years of the last decade, his tour­ing band of­fered cru­cial early op­por­tu­ni­ties to cur­rent jazz vi­sion­ar­ies Ka­masi Wash­ing­ton and Thun­der­cat.

While some critics ma­ligned his Snoop Lion reg­gae al­bum, it’s ac­tu­ally lit­tle dif­fer­ent than de­i­fied French crooner Serge Gains­bourg so­journ­ing to Ja­maica to cre­ate his own reg­gae lilt in the late ’70s. And in 2013, Snoop teamed with Dam-funk for “7 Days of Funk,” which found him as­sum­ing his fi­nal form as cold-blooded funk pharaoh.

“Snoop is a true mu­sic his­to­rian,” Dam-funk says. “From Blue Magic to Wil­lie Nel­son to Kashif to Gary Nu­man, he loves and knows it all. He’s re­ally a post- funk artist who kept the mu­sic alive when la­bels stopped sign­ing funk mu­si­cians. He’s a ge­nius who doesn’t of­ten get cred­ited as one — one who stayed rel­e­vant through each era and stayed true to the fab­ric of West Coast mu­sic and style.”

If the route to main­stream Amer­i­can ac­cep-

Snoop is a true mu­sic his­to­rian. From Blue Magic to Wil­lie Nel­son to Kashif to Gary Nu­man, he loves and knows it all.” Dam-funk

tance usu­ally in­volves rap­pers even­tu­ally mor­ph­ing into safe fam­ily- friendly artists, Snoop re­fused to saw off his gangsta rap roots. He’s been a vo­cal critic of Pres­i­dent Trump, even shoot­ing a clown dressed as him in a 2017 video. Ear­lier this year, he called Kanye West an “Un­cle Tom” for sup­port­ing the chief ex­ec­u­tive.

“I speak when I need to,” Snoop says. When the voice­less don’t have a plat­form to speak, I feel like that’s my time. I don’t be speak­ing just to be speak­ing; some­thing has to drive me to speak. So it has to be some­thing that I’m pas­sion­ate about … some­thing I need to say right now for the peo­ple sit­ting at home … I know y’all wanna say it, but you can’t … so here, take it.”

His early con­tro­ver­sies might have once scared away busi­ness part­ner­ships, but as the gen­er­a­tion that Snoop ir­re­vo­ca­bly shaped con­tin­ues to get into po­si­tions of power, his fi­nan­cial clout has only grown. With his long­time busi­ness part­ner and man­ager Ted Chung, Snoop cre­ated Casa Verde Cap­i­tal, a ven­ture stage in­vest­ment firm that has raised $50 mil­lion to fund com­pa­nies in the greater cannabis sphere. Most promi­nently, the com­pany helped fi­nance Eaze, the so- called Uber of Weed, and Tiger Global, a com­pany that tracks and traces cannabis plants across sup­ply chains. There’s also the Casa Verde- owned Merry Jane, a web­site, pro­duc­tion com­pany, and cre­ative agency. Not to ig­nore LBS (Leased by Snoop), a boom­ing mar­i­juana prod­ucts com­pany that sells ev­ery­thing from flower to ex­tracts to CBD oil.

“Snoop knows what’s hap­pen­ing a few steps be­fore it man­i­fests,” Chung says of his part­ner’s en­tre­pre­neur­ial acu­men. “He’s a cap­tain of cul­ture, who is just enough ahead of the curve that by the time things come to fruition, there’s al­ways a lot of suc­cess.”

Back in In­gle­wood, Snoop once again sparks up the half- smoked blunt. This is seem­ingly the cue that time is run­ning short. The con­ver­sa­tion nat­u­rally slants to­wards the big­ger pic­ture, the wis­dom ac­crued over nearly a half cen­tury of earth, much of that time spent as one of the most fa­mous hu­mans to in­hale and ex­hale.

“You only die once, so you should live ev­ery day,” Snoop in­tones like a comic Bud­dha. “Rule num­ber two, mas­ter your self — mas­ter be­ing great at you, be­cause once you un­der­stand the mech­a­nisms of you, you con­trol you at all times. That way, you’ll never be out of con­trol.”

He stands up; tow­er­ing like a tele­phone pole, for­ever slim with the tilted brim. In a world of chaos, he re­mains for­ever un­change­able — the com­fort­ing, avun­cu­lar leg­end. With a gi­ant drag of the blunt, he glides out of the room, quickly dis­ap­pear­ing into an­other darkly lit stu­dio, to thank­fully keep be­ing Snoop Dogg eter­nally.

Ahead of the GrooveSays Snoop: “It’s about re­spect­ing the game. How could you not bring some­thing to the ta­ble that’s dope and new?”

Young, Wild and Free“I like watch­ing old footage of Snoop Dogg back in the ‘90s when he was just truth,” says Snoop, here with Dr. Dre in 1993.

Un­break­able Bond“It’s hard try­ing to main­tain in this mu­sic in­dus­try,” says Snoop, seen here with his wife, Shante, and kids at the 2013 BET Awards.

Zero Sum GameSays Snoop: “Ev­ery­body lost in the East Coast-west Coast sit­u­a­tion be­cause both Big­gie and 2Pac died. There was no win­ner.”

Funk Soul Brother“Funk ain’t for every­one,” says the end­lessly quotable Snoop, who con­tin­ues to tour reg­u­larly. “That’s some cold shit.”

Busi­ness, Man“All these new [guys] coming in [will] drown you out if you don’t play your po­si­tion,” says Snoop, seen here with Ted Chung.

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