When telling the story of "how the West was won" in the world of Hip-Hop, you can't leave out Snoop Dogg. When he first appeared next to Dr. Dre, he was young and fresh, but his words were straight and to the point and let folks know immediately that "Tha D-O-double G" wasn't for play. A living legend, whether in his role as MC, movie star, entrepreneur, football coach, or family man, he is one of the most recognizable faces and voices on the planet.
Over eight albums deep into his career, Snoop has managed to retain respect and relevance in an ever-changing industry now saturated with the Southern sound and upstarts clawing their way to the top. Perhaps he's been able to do so partly because since his beginnings, he hasn't changed. The once Snoop "Doggy" Dogg is now a full-grown man, and when he met with AllHipHop.com in a hotel room on the east side of New York City's Midtown to discuss his new album, Blue Carpet Treatment, pimpin', Crippin', and how he could be the King of New York if he so chose, it was clear that his bark still has bite. Here's the first half of this doggy biscuit.
AllHipHop.com: What did you attempt to do with The Blue Carpet Treatment?
Snoop Dogg: When I make a Snoop Dogg record, I really try to go in to make what’s missing right now for me. At this point in my career, I really felt like I wasn’t going back to where I needed to be - which was the hood. I wanted to go back to my environment, where it wasn’t about a gold chain. It wasn’t about a lot of money. It wasn’t about the fame. It was about the desire and the hunger to be fresh and be seen and be heard. So I’m going back to the basics of who I am. This record is sounding like that and the producers are all giving me tracks that are sorta kinda throwback music, and music that’s representative of the Snoop Dogg the first time you heard him.
AllHipHop.com: You have a lot of folks on the album that you’ve never worked before. I heard you’ve got Mac Minister on the album, how did that come about?
Snoop Dogg: Well you know, me and the Mac…I love Mac Minister. That’s my n***a. We’ve always been working together and this particular record right here, “Wanna Bes,” I [also] had Young Jeezy get on when he was in town. It was a record that I wanted to put out because it just feels like a lot of n***as in the game wanna be like us, wanna talk like us, wanna dress like us, but don’t wanna give us no love. So I spoke on it, and had Jeezy get on it and once I did that, Mac Minister, he had put together a Mac Ministry that was so cold that I had him spit it. And when I had him spit it, everything was perfect and so right on time. [Recently,] he just so happened to get locked up so the twist I put on it now it’s like his vocals are coming live from the jail. It shows that they can hold him down, but his word is still gonna be heard, and I’m gonna keep him alive and keep him pumpin’.
AllHipHop.com: You were saying that this album is a reflection of you goin’ back to basics. I’ve read other interviews with you where you’ve said that when you first started and were working with Dre, your main goal was just to be the tightest rapper out.
Snoop Dogg: That’s it.
AllHipHop.com: So is the lyricism more a focus on this joint?
Snoop Dogg: Yeah. The song I like most out of all the records is a song I got called “Think About it” where I just lyrically I’m just gone on some other s**t. When Dre heard it he was like, “N***a, I ain’t never heard you rap like that. That’s some s**t!” [The song] pressed me to another level. See, what had happened was, me and my eldest son were riding in the car one night and we were listening to the radio to XM Satellite and Cassidy came on, that’s my lil’ homie. So I’m like, “You like cuzz?” And he’s like, “That’s my favorite rapper!” I was like, “What! That’s your favorite rapper??” So my littlest son in the back, I’m like, “Yo, who your favorite rapper, Lil’ Snoop?” He’s like, “You.” So [to] my oldest son, I’m like, “Yo, why I ain’t your favorite rapper?” He’s like, “I mean you cool. You flow but…you don’t be like, bustin’ like Cassidy and them.” So I went and made [“Think About It”], and I played it for him and he was like, “God damn Daddy! I ain’t know you did it like that!” And I was like, “Yeah n***a!”
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of Dre. What’s your relationship with Dre like right now?
Snoop Dogg: He called me today. We’ve been working on my record. He helped me fix this song I did with R.Kelly. It was a hit record before I gave it Dre, but now it’s a super hit record. He made me strike all my vocals. That means, “Take all your lyrics off, I don’t like ‘em. They’re wack.” I even go through that s**t too. To this day, you know what I mean? I ain’t too big to take criticism. He made me take all my lyrics off and me and D.O.C. had to come up with some more s**t that was just extraordinary. I can’t trip, the s**t was dope to begin, with but that was Dr. Dre. He knows better than anybody. So I had to, you know, suck up my pride and erase them lyrics and throw ‘em the trash.
AllHipHop.com: So tell me about the song “Vato” featuring B-Real of Cypress Hill. The song originally had a positive intention, but there’s been a negative spin put on it. Tell me about that.
Snoop Dogg: It’s a record with me expressing myself. It’s a story about me almost getting jacked for my chain and me having to do some things to get out of the situation. One of my ese` homeboys had seen it and he brought it back to his homies just saying what he had seen and the story got repeated three or four different times and whatnot. But the whole actual reality of it is it’s a gangsta record. It was an opportunity for me to capitalize off of a negative situation because Blacks and Mexicans are fighting and killing each other, and I didn’t know how to put that situation in a positive light other than doing a video that could have us working together, working our problems out, and just showing us on the same page moving as one team. You know I believe people believe in what they see. If you put on TV a bunch of negative s**t about, “I don’t like you, you don’t like me,” you gonna believe that s**t. But if you see something on TV that says, “Hey these guys are working together. They’re trying and making an effort,” it’s gonna make you say, “Well s**t, if they try, I’m gonna try.”
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of negative visuals, let’s talk about “Crippin’.” There’s an extremely negative visual about the Crips, and you align yourself with it.
Snoop Dogg: I don’t align myself. That’s what I am. I’m a East Side Long Beach Crip; I can’t help that. I was put on in 1982. That’s what I do. But at the same time, there’s a such thing as redemption-when you flip out and decide what the right thing is. My situation is this, I don’t have to care. I don’t go to the neighborhood and bring my own drugs and guns and say, “Go smoke them Mexicans. Go kill them n***as that did that to us.” I go to my hood and share my own plots and schemes on how to get outta there. We can make music. We can help each other by working together. I give them solutions as opposed to putting gas on the situation. Which I could go to the hood and dump a bunch of guns, a bunch of dope and say, “N***a, we finna’ kill everybody that ain’t with us.” But my s**t is, I realized that I had to turn around for the betterment of this Crippin’. I’m still Crippin’ to this day because that’s what I am.
If you ain’t walked in those shoes, you can’t really talk to the young generation. So by me being so aligned and in focus with them, they tend to want to believe me. They tend to want to listen to me. They tend to want to get instructions from me - which is a good thing, because I’m not abusing my power. I’m not leading these kids on a terrible mission. I started my own football league. Which started from me Crippin’. Because when I played football, me and my homies was Crippin’ against other n***as. But I made this football league where it’s Bloods, Crips, Mexicans, Whites; it’s for kids. So it’s like despite me being aligned with it, I have to be because a soldier ain’t gonna listen to nobody on a typewriter. They only gonna listen to a general, or a lieutenant, or somebody that’s been out there on the battle lines that can tell ‘em what it is. Somebody that’s on a typewriter can’t tell a soldier how it goes down. I ain’t on a typewriter. I’ve been on the front lines. The way I talk and they way I walk, that’s really me. So I try to educate these young gangbangers - even the ones out here - the ones that’s Crippin’ in Brooklyn.
AllHipHop.com: But with the images that are out here representing it, “Crippin’ it” seems as though to Crip, you need a gun. So how can you be Crippin’ without a gun?
Snoop Dogg: Well, in some places you do need it to protect yourself. I’m not tellin’ you to go out and get a gun. I’m just tellin’ you if you’re Crippin’, you know what comes with the territory. But you don’t see me on a poster sayin, “Uncle Snoop Dogg wants you in this here Crippin’,” like Uncle Sam. This is what I am. I’m not tellin’ you to do it, but I’m sayin’ if you do do it, these are the consequences. This is what you gotta got through. This is what I went through. I make it look easy, but it ain’t easy. I had to fight a murder case. I had to fight my homies. I had to fight Mexicans, Blacks, Whites, all kinda s**t comin’ up. I didn’t get these scars on my face from just rippin’ and runnin’ down the street. That’s real s**t I had to go through.
But at the same time, when you realize what’s right and what’s wrong you have to say as a man, “I want to do what’s right.” What’s right is to educate and to elevate. I could waste a lot of time and just put out negative music and n***as would do what I say ‘cause I’m Snoop-mothaf**kin’-Dogg. King of this Crippin’, King of whatever the f**k I want to. I could be the king of New York right now if I wanted to be. Who is it, Jay-Z and 50, that’s it? Them my lil’ homeboys. If you wanna keep it real, I could be the King of mothaf**kin’ New York and mash on n***as. But I got my hand out in peace and love because I’m a grown man and I understand that when I make peace with Jay-Z and make peace with 50 and I sincerely love them and treat them with respect and love all their homeboys, I get more out of it. The game expands more as opposed to me sayin, “I’m riding with the mothaf**kin’ West Coast, n***a. F**k y’all n***as. It is what it is.” I been on that page before. I ain’t get far. When I was on Death Row, I was on that page. It was, “F**k everybody!” And nobody wanted to see me or none of the people I was moving with, and I didn’t like that. Because that’s the reputation I was trying to get rid of as a youngster, so why would I bring that in as a musician; as a businessman. So you know, don’t be offended by this Crippin’, because this Crippin’ is very educational. This is a man trying to save lives as opposed to take lives.