SNOOP DOGG by CARL HANCOCK RUX
CARL: I know you're in the studio right now—judging from that furious bass line pumpin' through the phone line. Are you working on a new track-- something from Last Meal?
S: Yeah. Ain't got no name for it yet, though.
C: If it’s the last track, how about Last Meal Before The Next Meal... because with everything you're doing and everything you've got coming up there has to be something said for a rapper of your status who actually survives it all. Survives the business of it all--manages to make his last record for the label on successful and peaceful terms, then moves right into working on his own label. What's it gonna be like, this last joint you're doing for Master P's No Limit?
S: I'm just trying to give up a hot album that mothafuckas ain't heard in a long time, you know. Every project I do, I try to make it my best one. It’s a message behind everything I do, and the message on this one is more or less the fact of...you know... young artists need to know, that you gonna get tooken.... It's the way of the game. You just gotta be smart enough to stay in the game long enough and be successful enough to change that.... You know what I mean? Change that the way it'd never happen to you again.
C: You're changing from being an artist, to being an artist and an executive in the music industry. You're about to be one of the suits. Do you feel like it's possible to really change the game?
S: Ah, shit. All my artists get all of their publishing off the top. And that's something that's unheard of so we're trying to break new standards and new rules, by giving them all their publishing and not locking them down for selling three albums. You know, if it don't work after three albums, they're able to leave and do what they wanna do. You usually won't have your publishing, and usually you'll be stuck with a label for seven albums. That's something that'll usually get stole from you in the beginning: you're publishing and your freedom. With my label, you know, it's just about givin' em freedom and giving up (to them) all that they deserve.
C: A new form of give and take.
S: Yeah. Record labels, they look at you as talent, and they’re like-- we can take advantage of you. I look at you as talent, and I'm like--you should take advantage of ya own self. And I'm just spot lighting you and bringing you to the light, the same way somebody did me. I'm just taking the bad I learned from Death Row, and the good I learned from No Limit and putting them both together into formulating my own thing and trying to help and give back.
C: Who's on the new label?
S: Night Dome. Cocaine. Butch Cassidy, Toy--those are all my R&B artists. Then I got; Doggy's Angels, my West Coast female group, and rappers...three of them. The EastSiders: Tre D, and Goldie Loc, uh, Superfly...uh...Doghouse Heavyweights which is CPO and RBX, you know I got just the hot music that's missing right now.
C: With all of that on your plate, how much are you looking forward to doing this NWA reunited/reinvented project with Dre and Ice Cube.
S: Like I said, man, every project I do, I try to make it the best thing I've ever been on. And I came out the gate on one of the best projects ever in the rap game, ever, you know what I'm saying, so I got a lot of high standards... so when I say that everything I try to come out with, I like to make it my best project-- I mean it. I don't like to dwell on the past, but I'm trying to out do the shit I done in the past, trying to make history with this new stuff and let people know that we continuing to make music like the great James Brown, and Curtis Mayfield, and Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson, the Temptations. People like that who continue to make hits year after year.
C: James Brown--now there's somebody who we can look back at for like forty years in the music business, and we can still listen to the music that he' made forty years ago, and it still works.
S: He made music about, just havin' a good time, he made music about our people, and us being proud of who we are. He made music about drugs that was affecting our people, and then he made music about life in general, and how the man had us suppressed, and how we have to be a people to overcome that. And that was special because he had his own way of relatin' to his people and that's what I look at myself as doing. And I'm just doing what I do best and that's what makes good music, and that's how you can relate to people whether you black, white, brown, small, big, girl, boy...you know, it's music and it's made for everybody.
C: Just in terms of career longevity, would James Brown be one of your models?
S: Oh definitely. As far as career and precision on stage, and the sound, the clarity in the studio, and the professionalism about his self whenever he appeared.
C: Every artist who has clarity on stage doesn't have clarity in the studio. Did it take you a lot of time to learn the studio?
S: I wasn't trying to learn it at first. I was just happy to be in the studio, loving the fact that I could put my voice over music and it sounded good and people loved it. So the learning of it didn't come until I wanted to become an independent aspect of it. After getting with No Limit and seeing that it's a business, and you know I should be trying to create and open up more ventures with this.... Then I started wanting to learn the studio and the studio became real easy for me because I'd already been around it for so many years, around the best people in the game.
C: You got a chance a whole lot of artists will never get-- to be in it long enough to learn something about it. What's the biggest mistake some of new artists make when they first enter the business?
S: I think it's just being so eager to get the money that you really don't focus on none of the other aspects that are important to you, like the publishing. All you know is when to ask when do I get paid?
C: That’s because a lot of people come to the table hungry.
S: Yeah exactly, and nobody's really gonna teach you about those other elements of the game. That's something that you have to learn on your own, or find good attorneys that can be on your side and explain it to you.
C: The Dogfather, your auto-bio, I was feeling it. It was brave if nothing else. I don't think I could ever write an autobiography. What was it like for you, writing about your self?
S: It was just different, cause I had to open up to the man who wrote it. It's not like the music, cause when I'm doing that; I'm doing that. Telling somebody my story was a little bit different for me, but it turned out pretty good, though.
C: A lot of biographical books on icons in the hip-hop world come out post-mortem. Not many people get to say this is what happened, this is how I did it, and this is how I survived it. You just said, "the man who wrote it" so I guess you don't think of yourself as having written it?
S: I think of myself as portraying it, and now I'm gonna take it to the next step and do a movie with it. That's what I'm hoping for, you know what I'm saying, get a life story on my life in a movie theater.
C: Who would you want to play you?
S: Shit, I don't know.
C: You're acting in a movie right now-- Bones, right?
S: Yeah. That's a horror movie. Ernest Dickerson is directing it and it stars me and Pam Greer and Clifton Powell and Ricky (name tk)
C: This is your first movie. Do you feel like it's time to break out into the whole acting thing.
S: Yeah, that's why I went ahead and did this one. This was the right story, the right everything, so it was easy for me to get involved with it.
C: Obvious but necessary question--what's it like working with Pam?
S: Shhh...... It's unbelievable man. Looking at all those movies of hers when I was a kid growing up, and now being able to do scenes with her and you know talk to her, and be a friend of hers, and hear her emotions and feelings on things other than the movie. It's beautiful the way God works in his mysterious ways to bring people together. And that's all we doing is just coming together and making it happen. My label--we're gonna come up with movies too to support our records. So we'll have movies coming to home video, DVD. We're trying provide our people with the entertainment that is missing, you know like all through the 70's we had great movies, and soundtracks, and shit that was you know supportive of that.... that represented our people. But it's like nowadays the people making movies don't care about our heritage or our people. We're too busy making sci-fi thriller bullshit movies, instead of movies that mean something to our peoples and soundtracks to support em. So I'm goin' back to the roots of where it all began, like the Superflys, the (words tk), Foxy Brown, I'm trying to bring them movies back, like Lets Do It Again.
C: Yeah bay, no doubt--those early seventies movies where it was definitely about hyper ghetto style, but all of us who really lived in the ghettos of Harlem or LA still related to it even though Shaft's Harlem was ten times larger than the one I grew up in.
S: But it was still us. It was part of our community. When we seen it, we felt like Superfly was our Superfly, he was in my neighborhood.
C: Hype Williams tried to bring that sensibility back with his movie, Belly. Is that what you're trying to do?
S: No. Belly was dope, but when you see Bones, you'll see exactly what I'm trying to do. It's a scary movie, but it’s got that seventies twist to it, and it's just got that quality that the movies are missing right now. It'll be out in October.
C: just got my first pit bull. I know you have a pit bull, or two or three--how many dogs do you have?
S: Shit, bout five now.
C: Are they all pits?
S: No, one of them is a rot.
C: I adopted my dog...and I was adopted as a kid. He reminds me of myself in allot of ways. He's really mild mannered, but he if he don’t like you he lets you know it. Everybody's always flipping when they see him, because they always think that he's gonna attack him. They ask stupid questions like, "does he bite?" I always say, "if he thinks you'll bite him first".
S: Dogs...They are all you-- they're the best representatives of you. How you are-- that's how they're goin' to be.
C: What are your dogs' personalities like?
S: Just like mine...Cool, friendly, you can chill around them and everything, you know what I'm saying? They cool around kids. Mines don't trip on nobody for no reason, you know what I'm saying. Not just for no reason at all.
Originally published in Interview magazine
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