Smile Politely

Will he be the G that he was?

I was introduced to the work of Snoop Doggy Dogg on the asphalt jungle of Silver Lake Park’s basketball court — sort of the Rucker Park of Lake Park, Iowa (pop. 1,024).

It was the spring of 1994, and I was displaying the skills that ensured me a permanent spot on the bench for the Harris-Lake Park Wolves hoops squad the previous winter — a potent mix of poor fundamentals and lackluster athleticism that I’ve maintained into my mid 30s. My classmate and starting point guard for the Wolves, B.J., brought his boombox and a copy of Doggystyle, which had been released a few months previously to great acclaim in the hip-hop hotbed of northwest Iowa.

Having never spoken to an African-American in person at that point in my life, I was unfamiliar with what exactly it meant to aspire to be “a motherfucking hustler” or what format of radio station that “W Balls” was satirizing, but I did know that the whole album was hilarious, in a should-I-feel-bad-about-laughing-at-this? sort of way.

That fall, I went away to college and was introduced to MTV for the first time, where there were videos like this one waiting for me:

He could change into an actual dog at a moment’s notice. Amazing!

It was several years later before the Gourds couched the wordplay of “Gin and Juice” in an idiom us farm kids could understand.

Snoop Dogg and I lost track of each other in the late ’90s, when he was making The Doggfather and Da Game is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told.

However, our paths converged again in 2002, when an episode of Doggy Fizzle Televizzle became the most uncomfortable TV-watching experience I’d had with my mother since that time I was watching Seinfeld’s “The Contest” in high school.

In the same episode, there’s a segment (which I couldn’t find video of) where Snoop says: “People ask me, ‘Snoop, are you happy with your life?’ I say, ‘Am I happy? I’m prophylactic!'”

Over the next several years, I can only name three things that I was aware of:

  • He coached his son’s Pop Warner football team (I guess there’s a whole Snoop Youth Football League; the man never fails to surprise)
  • His speech at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards, where he said “They make me feel like an old G, a real old G, nephew.” This snippet is quoted around our house quite often.
  • His lackluster appearance on ESPN’s 30 for 30 installment about the Oakland/L.A./now-Oakland-again Raiders, along with Ice Cube. He put on a pretty good show for someone who’s actually a Steelers fan.

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been tracking Snoop’s musical movements closely lately. Apparently, he has a new album (his tenth) titled Malice N Wonderland. Here’s the video for his latest single, “Wet”:

Man, this autotune thing is really catching on, huh?

Snoop Dogg plays at the Canopy Club tonight. Doors open at 9 p.m., and hopefully you already have your tickets, as it’s a sold out show. As Ben so eloquently said in last week’s Overture, those lucky ticketholders “are in for what’s turned out lately to be one of the best live shows in hip hop. Snoop really goes for an organic, Roots-esque vibe with his live band, and he’s got an insanely good back catalog to draw from. Bring your eyedrops, folks.”

Related Articles