decade ago, then-Snoop Doggy Dogg with the help of L.T. Hutton, freaked
a Zapp sample for what would become Beware of My Crew for The Line Thin Between Love & Hate Soundtrack.
The period found the rapper on a frugal label, taking responsibilities
into his own hands to make hit after hit. Following his move to No
Limit a year later, Snoop Dogg had the budget and the skillful
entourage to never need to worry about beats again. Names such as Dr.
Dre, Timbaland, Pharrell Williams, Warren G, Daz Dillinger, Hi-Tek and
Battlecat are easily associated with the Long Beach icon. Now
in his mid thirties, the restless rap superstar seems to value
self-experimentation once more. Through his Doggystyle imprint, Snoop
compiled three stars from distinct movements of Hip-Hop: MC Eiht (80s
gangsta rap), Kam (90s Pro-Black rap), and Goldie Loc (00s gangsta
rap) as The Warzone. Whats more, Snoop, under his N***araci name,
produces much of the groups work.
An always relaxed Snoop Dogg jokes around with AllHipHop.com. Amidst a
discussion about producers and samplers, Snoop plays pranks, thanks the
Middle Passage for bringing him to America, and spits in Chicken
Noodle Soup. Real spit.
AllHipHop.com: Youve been around Dr. Dre and a whole bunch of other
top producers for years. How did you begin your path to beat-making?
Snoop Dogg: Well, I always had a knack for it, being a rapper that used
to make his own beats back in the 80s. I used to always beat on the
table and rap at the same time, so I always had that rhythmic
collaboration with myself. I just wanted to use the drum machines and
program. Once I mastered that, I wanted to take certain sounds and flip
em and bring out other elements than what Im hearing as far as these
producers go. N***aracci is here to stay.
AllHipHop.com: N***araci, thats hot.
Snoop Dogg: Oh yeah, thats your boy.
AllHipHop.com: What was the first beat machine that you worked on, ever?
Snoop Dogg: An SP-1200. I started with that at Can-Am [Studios] with
the LBC Crew [on the song] Beware of My Crew. I took [Zapps]
Heartbreaker and flipped that on the 1200, me and L.T. [Hutton].
AllHipHop.com: Youve sat and watched Dr. Dre work more than probably
any other rapper. One of the things hes known for is having a very
basic beat, but still allowing it to have tons of body. Were you able
to absorb those elements not just from Dre, but from others?
Snoop Dogg: I just took a little bit of every producer Ive worked with
and enhanced it into my s**t. What I took from Dr. Dre was the clarity
side; hes such a precision freak when it comes to the sound whether
its the music, the vocals, the instruments, or the arrangement. What I
took from Pharrell was, F**k it, whatever feels good. Hes not a
precisionist, hes more of a if it feels good, go with it guy.
If Im working with an artist that needs more patience and preciseness,
I go the Dr. Dre [method]. If Im working with a gritty, street rapper,
Im on a Pharrell tip.
AllHipHop.com: Where do you want to take this? Who would you like to make a beat for that you havent yet?
Snoop Dogg: I got beats for mothaf**kin everybody, man. I got beats for Celine Dion, [and] mothaf**kin Sade.
AllHipHop.com: If you do a track with Sade, can I be there when you record?
Snoop Dogg: Nah, cause I might wanna touch on her when I finish the
beat. Nah, but my music is like Ive got music for everybody, not just
rap. [Rap] s**t is easy whoever I call, I can get, just because Im
Snoop Dogg, theyd give me the love and say, Okay, Im gonna listen to
a Snoop Dogg track. Thats too easy [in rap]. I want to reach out with
some creative artists thats gonna be here 20 years from now.
AllHipHop.com: Who are The Top Five Producers Snoop Dogg Really Respects?
Snoop Dogg: Lalo Schifrin [of Bruce Lee fame] hes my n***a; I know
him personally. Quincy Jones. Dr. Dre. Curtis Mayfield. Louis Armstrong
was a bad mothaf**ka too. Hes cold blooded, cuzz.
AllHipHop.com: I never would have expected Louis Armstrong to be in the lineup. What is it about Lalo that you like?
Snoop Dogg: I like that he takes chords and makes motherf**kas
memorable. He makes scores last. Real spit, that says a lot if you can
make a f**kin score not a song but something that makes it to a
movie. Thats big.
AllHipHop.com: What about Quincy Jones?
Snoop Dogg: Just timeless. Bee-bop, Hip-Hop, Michael Jackson, James Ingram, Sanford & Son.
Quincy Jones was the mothaf**ka, man! Strawberry Letter 23, [hums the melody]. Thats the kind of music I want to make, man beautiful
AllHipHop.com: What are some of your favorite soundtracks?
Snoop Dogg: The Mack, Claudine, Paid the Cost to Be the Boss, Hell Up in Harlem, Lets Do it Again, and Which Way is Up?
AllHipHop.com: Few rappers market themselves as well as you do. How do
you choose what Snoop Dogg puts his name or image on? Snoop Dogg: I got
to like the s**t for one. For two, they gotta get they paper together,
ya dig? Thats important. Once you get all that together, its gotta be
something effective and efficient enough to go along with Snoop Dogg;
its got to be the same cup of tea. It cant be no s**t thats out
there you aint gonna see no Snoop Dogg Speedos. F**k that.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about The Warzone. How did that group together?
Snoop Dogg: I always had a relationship with MC Eiht. We started off
battling each other in 1986, 1987, in high school, you know what Im
sayin? We always had a cool relationship. Kam is somebody that I
admired from the days of Ice Cube [once Kams mentor]. Goldie Loc is my
homeboy from Tha Eastsidaz. Basically, I knew all of them was dope as
f**k, and I wanted to get down with em. I had no tools for them
individually no label would give me a deal for them [as soloists].
F**k it, let me take all three ingredients, package them together and
force it on people. This is the s**t youve gotta love! Its three
mothaf**kin stars pushin for one cause. They pushed their egos to the
left cause they all could be solo artists. Its about showing these
West Coast artists the only way were gonna make it is if we work
together. They can always go back and do solo projects, but right now,
to get the dough down, theres gotta be unity.
AllHipHop.com: When people arent receptive to these artists youre
working with for instance a Soopafly or a Kam on their own, is that
about the industry or skill level?
Snoop Dogg: I dont think its industry. As far as skill level, those
n***as is servin any n***a now thats in the game. At the same time,
theyve got followings that you wouldnt believe. Its just a matter of
people have to kick in certain doors. Bulls**t sells. [DJ Webstar &
Young Bs] Chicken Noodle Soup, no disrespect, but what the f**k is
chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side? Youre pushin all that
bulls**t, but wont push no real s**t. Theyre stealin our look, our
t-shirts, our braids, our attitudes, come out here and shoot videos,
use our parks, our lowriders, our b***hes, our palm trees, and then go
back home. When we try to get in the game, it looks like were copying
AllHipHop.com: You mention unity. You recently went to Nigeria. Tell me
about your trip to Africa, cause I have not yet been. Many people say
that such experiences give them clarity on what it means to be Black in
America. Did you have any such experiences? Did you learn anything?
Snoop Dogg: I got more in tune with my spirit musically out there,
which I knew that I would. That American/African s**t, Im not into all
that s**t Im happy where the f**k Im at; good look for bringin us
n***as [as slaves] over here, we appreciate that. Good lookin!
AllHipHop.com: What do you do when Minister Louis Farrakhan calls you a prophet?
Snoop Dogg: That was like a passing of the torch, not symbolically, but
spiritually. Its about peace and whatever it takes to raise the youth.
Were pushing that same line. Ive got a direct connect with the hood
and the ghetto, so basically, by him passin that onto me, it lets me
know Ive got a mission now.
AllHipHop.com: When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ran again, I really
thought you were gonna drop an anti-campaign song to persuade people
not to vote for him after the Tookie execution. He just did a TV show
with Xzibit for Pimp My Ride. After what happened, could you see yourself working with the governor?
Snoop Dogg: I dont know, man. I was bitter about the decision he made,
man, but hes not God, so I cant fault him that he took Tookie away.
My affiliation with Tookie is different than Xzibits. I couldnt see
myself doing certain s**t, but maybe in the future, politically, I
dont know. Im still kinda bitter though, cause even though God made
the ultimate decision, I feel that he could have had some remorse in
AllHipHop.com: Who else is in the room that I can build with?
Snoop Dogg: Oh, T.D. in here.
AllHipHop.com: Dope, put him on.
Snoop Dogg: You know who T.D. is?
AllHipHop.com: Tray Dee.
Snoop Dogg: Nah. T.D. [pause] This d**k.
Snoop Dogg: Had to get you, my n***a.
Snoop Dogg [in baritone voice]: Hello, yes, this is T.D. [pauses] S.T.D.
Adisa Banjoko is an author, lecturer and co-founder of the Hip Hop Chess Federation: www.myspace.com/hiphopchess