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 whats missing right now for me. At this point in my career, I really felt like I wasnt going back to where I needed to be – which was the hood. I wanted to go back to my environment, where it wasnt about a gold chain. It wasnt about a lot of money. It wasnt about the fame. It was about the desire and the hunger to be fresh and be seen and be heard. So Im 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 thats representative of the Snoop Dogg the first time you heard him.
AllHipHop.com: You have a lot of folks on the album that youve never worked before. I heard youve got Mac Minister on the album, how did that come about?
Snoop Dogg: Well you know, me and the Mac I love Mac Minister. Thats my n***a. Weve 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 dont 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 its 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 Im 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. Ive read other interviews with you where youve said that when you first started and were working with Dre, your main goal was just to be the tightest rapper out.
Snoop Dogg: Thats 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 Im just gone on some other s**t. When Dre heard it he was like, N***a, I aint never heard you rap like that. Thats 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, thats my lil homie. So Im like, You like cuzz? And hes like, Thats my favorite rapper! I was like, What! Thats your favorite rapper?? So my littlest son in the back, Im like, Yo, who your favorite rapper, Lil Snoop? Hes like, You. So [to] my oldest son, Im like, Yo, why I aint your favorite rapper? Hes like, I mean you cool. You flow but you dont 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 aint know you did it like that! And I was like, Yeah n***a!
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of Dre. Whats your relationship with Dre like right now?
Snoop Dogg: He called me today. Weve 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 its a super hit record. He made me strike all my vocals. That means, Take all your lyrics off, I dont like em. Theyre wack. I even go through that s**t too. To this day, you know what I mean? I aint 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 cant 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 theres been a negative spin put on it. Tell me about that.
Snoop Dogg: Its a record with me expressing myself. Its 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 its 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 didnt 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 dont like you, you dont like me, you gonna believe that s**t. But if you see something on TV that says, Hey these guys are working together. Theyre trying and making an effort, its gonna make you say, Well s**t, if they try, Im gonna try.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of negative visuals, lets talk about Crippin. Theres an extremely negative visual about the Crips, and you align yourself with it.
Snoop Dogg: I dont align myself. Thats what I am. Im a East Side Long Beach Crip; I cant help that. I was put on in 1982. Thats what I do. But at the same time, theres a such thing as redemption-when you flip out and decide what the right thing is. My situation is this, I dont have to care. I dont 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 aint with us. But my s**t is, I realized that I had to turn around for the betterment of this Crippin. Im still Crippin to this day because thats what I am.
If you aint walked in those shoes, you cant 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 Im not abusing my power. Im 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 its Bloods, Crips, Mexicans, Whites; its for kids. So its like despite me being aligned with it, I have to be because a soldier aint gonna listen to nobody on a typewriter. They only gonna listen to a general, or a lieutenant, or somebody thats been out there on the battle lines that can tell em what it is. Somebody thats on a typewriter cant tell a soldier how it goes down. I aint on a typewriter. Ive been on the front lines. The way I talk and they way I walk, thats really me. So I try to educate these young gangbangers – even the ones out here – the ones thats 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. Im not tellin you to go out and get a gun. Im just tellin you if youre Crippin, you know what comes with the territory. But you dont see me on a poster sayin, Uncle Snoop Dogg wants you in this here Crippin, like Uncle Sam. This is what I am. Im not tellin you to do it, but Im 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 aint 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 didnt get these scars on my face from just rippin and runnin down the street. Thats real s**t I had to go through.
But at the same time, when you realize whats right and whats wrong you have to say as a man, I want to do whats right. Whats 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 Im 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, thats 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 Im 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, Im riding with the mothaf**kin West Coast, n***a. F**k yall n***as. It is what it is. I been on that page before. I aint 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 didnt like that. Because thats 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, dont be offended by this Crippin, because this Crippin is very educational. This is a man trying to save lives as opposed to take lives.