Snoop Dogg with Choclair and Jenna G at Ricoh Coliseum (100 Princes Boulevard, Exhibition Place), Saturday (December 20). $49.50-$55.50. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
something seems very right about Snoop Dogg coming to town for the holidays. Since Nuthin' But A "G" Thang, he's embodied funky partying via ill verses on numerous rap classics as well as shoddy No limit "whangers" (my term for the opposite of bangers). Toronto will get to hear this classic man as a yuletide gift after a year fraught with SARS, mad cow and a mammoth electricity failure.
Snoop projects the image of a party-livener to the extreme max. When I finally get a chance to talk to a distracted-sounding Dogg and find out what he's been up to recently, I cross my fingers that his answers may involve the words "sexily partying."
"Just hangin' and bangin'," he murmurs.
Does that mean sexily partying?
"Nah, I don't do that no more."
Fine, Snoop, shit all over my dreams of you carousing heartily with Rubenesque courtesans on the regular. Next you'll tell me you don't smoke weed.
"I gave it up," he tells me.
Did he do it for clarity of mind?
"You got it right there, man."
Does he have a favourite memory from his days of constant bonging?
"I don't remember. That's why I quit."
In all fairness, Snoop's probably a bit partied out, seeing as he's been in the game for over 10 years, which means he's attended approximately three billion after-parties (not counting after-after-parties). It's also been 10 years since his solo debut, Doggystyle, whose risqué, off-colour dog cartoon appalled my mother while awakening anthropomorphic animal fetishes in others.
But Snoop's still rolling along.
"I wanna run as long as I can run. I ain't ready to stop yet. I'm ready to do a lot more."
From an upcoming Super Bowl halftime appearance to the release of the upcoming album from his 213 group, the man is busy. He's also looking forward to his next solo album, set to drop near the end of 2004, whose working title is Snoopafly The Movie: The Nigga Ya Hate To Love. I cannot wait.
Another thing that's much-anticipated is the long-discussed NWA reunion, in which Snoop is set to take over the deceased Eazy-E's spot. So when is it gonna happen?
"Talk to Dr. Dre about that," he says in a tone that sounds like he's waiting, too.
And then there's beef. Normally, dogs chase after beef, but in the case of this Dogg, beef has been chasing him since day one, whether it's the East Coast-West Coast rivalry or his departure from the Death Row label, due to problems with Suge Knight.
But to keep you updated on his beefs and woes, Snoop's newest feud is with recently arrested Eastsida Big Tray Deee, who claims he was cheated out of royalties by the Doggfather.
I mention that Juvenile recently re-signed to Cash Money records after a period of public estrangement from the label. So what would it take for Snoop to re-sign with grunting wannabe baller Master P's No Limit?
"A hundred million. Cash."
If Snoop were anybody else, some might consider him overexposed. Actually, people already probably do consider him overexposed, since Snoop is on television as much as, if not more than, weaselly CNN anchor Aaron Brown. He's had his problems with the media, too. Populist pundit Bill O'Reilly has vilified Snoop on several occasions.
It seems that even though he's a global hero to frat boys, hiphoppers and the non-uptight, there's still a segment of the mainstream working against him, and by proxy against hiphop.
"I don't pay no attention to 'em. It doesn't matter," he says. "Why wouldn't they work against it? You got young black Americans making money without going to college, without nothing - so they definitely not with that."
Game, set, Snoop.
Snoop's been doing a lot outside of hiphop, too. His Doggie Fizzle program on MTV is a favourite of many, and he plans to make it into a movie. He's taken part in top-shelf pornography and is even a hidden character in the True Crime video game. Soon, he'll appear in the movie version of Starsky And Hutch, taking on the Huggy Bear role.
Perhaps he's not focusing all his attention on rapping because, as Jay-Z recently claimed, there's not much competition right now.
Snoop agrees to a degree.
"That's how I feel at times, too. I feel like Jay-Z was the only one actually challenging me, and then 50 (Cent) came and brought the game back to a new height again. But I feel like the game isn't challenging once you've done it all, so you wanna experiment and try other things."
"Other things" include some career advice for the now almost adult Bow Wow, who was famously titled "Lil" by the Doggfather. Right?
"Nah. He'll have to go through it. It's like a father and son. You can try to raise your kid to be who you want 'em to be, but they gotta make their own decisions and do what they do."
Our conversation winds down and Snoop gives me some pearls of wisdom, sharing the best advice he ever received: "Be me at all times."
He says the best strategy for moving out of my parents' house is "You gotta have a female first - that's your backup plan. Then you got to get yourself a job and some money."
As a final gift, I was given a nickname by the man himself. Snoop Dogg hath christened me "Nick the Quick." I'm the man now, Dogg. In truth, it's Snoop who's the man.