It’s a dichotomy of epic proportions. Snoop Dogg, 37, has found a way to curse, smoke and “misogynize” his way into the hearts of men and women, young and old across the world. No matter how coarse the presentation or thick the smoke, his demographically diverse supporters simply love him, and last night I saw why.
Snoop Dogg graced Atlanta with his commanding presence yesterday by performing his deep catalog of hits to a near sold-out crowd at the city’s intimate Center Stage concert venue. His stature, wiry but formidable, his confidence, completely off the meter. He may not “love dem hoes,” but “dem hoes” certainly love him; his fans practically worshiped the “D-O-double G,” and I must admit, I was cruising along on the bandwagon, myself.
He’s touring the country in advance of his forthcoming project, More Malice: Deluxe Album and Movie, which comes out March 23.
It took Snoop a good while to enter the stage, causing a little murmuring from the concertgoers, but as soon as he appeared, sporting a bubble coat, fresh braids, and a larger-than-life blinged out mic, all was forgiven. Hands immediately went in the air, fire from blunts lit the darkness, and the emphatic sing-along ensued. From “187” to “Gin and Juice” to “Sensual Seduction,” it seemed that every fan knew every lyric to every song. The Dogg ate the enthusiastic support up like candy. “What’s my name?!?” he shouted, to “Snoop Doggy Dogg!” in return. There was never a dull moment. I don’t think I’ve ever seen women move with such conviction to being called b—h and hoe in my lifetime. And the men were unanimously charged by the lyrics, heightened bravado visibly coursing through the crowd.
And now, a moment of silence … Midway through the set, Snoop’s deceased former label mate, Tupac Shakur, was paid homage through the DJ playing a few of his smash hits, including the infectious “Hail Mary.” Flames from lighters swayed back and forth in the air; with Snoop conducting it all as if it were a symphony, “da da da da da da da da,” hauntingly reverberated off the walls of the circular venue.
The performance set wasn’t elaborate, embellished with just a backdrop painted with a buxom young woman in a tipped martini glass and deck of playing cards, along with a smoke machine and a continuous reel of all the rapper’s exploits, and his DJ. If they had thought about it, they could’ve saved a few bucks on the smoke machine — the smoke was already being supplied via other means. Nevertheless, no props necessary, as the melody-laden West Coast flow pumping through the mega-watt sound system more than did the trick.
Along with the album, Snoop conceived a mini-movie titled Malice N Wonderland, which features Snoop in the title role, along with Jamie Foxx, Xzibit, Soulja Boy and the infamous The Five Heartbeats villain, Hawthorne James. The 40-minute movie portrays Snoop as a superhero, Malice, in his crime-plagued hometown of Wonderland. The safety of the city is up to Malice to fight crime, and bring peace back to his neighborhood, but through blood, gore and gratuitous partying. What the project amounts to is another genius way for the rapper to remain relevant and take his career to the next level. Excerpts from the film were shown before the show began.
Snoop, born Calvin Broadus, has dodged bullet after bullet, literally and figuratively, emerging as a brand to be reckoned with. His gang affiliation is well documented; he’s stood trial for murder; he’s been convicted for cocaine trafficking; he’s been held for — surprise! — weed possession on several occasions; he’s been sued for assault; and he’s been detained for illegal weapons possession.
On the flip-side, he’s sold millions of records; has his own reality show; he’s a certified youth football coach, with his own league; has a loving wife and three kids, and he claims membership in the Nation of Islam. The only real consequence of the faithful LBC rapper’s checkered past, and possibly his present, was San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision to withdraw his plan to issue a proclamation in his name; devastating!
Who can put women on leashes in a televised performance on one hand, but mentor kids on the other? Nobody but the D-O-double G. Snoop both raps and escapes, and fortunately for his ever-ascending career, he’s great at both. –gerald radford