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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Live Review: This Is What Going To A Snoop Dogg Show Is Like

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 3:18 PM

click to enlarge Sing it, Snoop. - KEVIN SMITH
  • Kevin Smith
  • Sing it, Snoop.

Halfway through Snoop Dogg’s Tuesday night set at the Regency Ballroom, the Long Beach rap legend paused and asked the audience to share some of their best pot with him. In response, a wave of presumably smokable objects were catapulted onstage, including fully rolled blunts and at least one entire bag of weed, which seemed to even catch the Doggfather off-guard. “I love ya’ll,” he responded.

It was a much more fitting Bay Area welcome than the TMZ story from earlier that day claiming that all of the rapper’s laptops, concert equipment, and luggage had been stolen from an SUV in San Francisco the night before. Snoop refuted the claim on Instagram, but TMZ still stuck by its story. Either way, the Regency show had a pretty sparse stage setup, with just a couple laptops and keyboards. But, then again, Snoop was really the only spectacle the packed audience came to see.

Stepping onstage to the bounce of “The Next Episode” from Dr. Dre’s 1999 album, 2001, the lanky MC displayed the same infectious charisma that’s made him a household name since 1992. Rocking black sunglasses, a gold chain that hung as low as his stomach, and dreads that dangled past his shoulders, he blazed blunt after blunt while effortlessly coasting through some of the biggest hits in hip-hop history.

Slow-motion sways and goofy grins aside, Snoop’s greatest weapon has always been his distinctive voice, and at 44, it hasn’t lost a note of its nasally, feather light smoothness. He also never seemed to miss a lyric, but after 24 years in the game, he could probably recite these songs while comatose, which may help explain how he manages such a healthy onstage weed intake.

The fact that Snoop has released 13 solo albums to date— his latest was 2015’s Bush—is impressive for an artist in any genre. Luckily, Snoop is wise enough to know fans want the hits. His breezy set— clocking in at just under an hour total with no encore— felt more like a house party than a flex of his entire catalogue and leaned heavily on his ‘90s material. Naturally, his landmark debut, Doggystyle, got the most love, breaking out classics like “Gin And Juice,” “Who Am I (What’s My Name),” and “Lodi Dodi.”

Nostalgia was a big theme of the night, and that was representative of the largely glassy-eyed audience, which seemed to skew slightly on the other side of 30. Ever the crowd-pleaser, Snoop took time to run through some of the biggest throwback anthems like Eazy-E’s “Boyz-n-the-Hood,” Biggie’s “Hypnotize,” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around.”

When Snoop dug into slightly newer songs, it was usually tracks from other artists in which he had delivered a memorable guest appearance— something he’s built a reputation on dating back to his very first verse on Dr. Dre’s single, “Deep Cover.” Highlights included DJ Khaled’s "All I Do Is Win" and Wiz Khalifa’s "You and Your Friends" from 2014, in which he not only ran through his guest verse but also handled the chorus in place of Ty Dolla $ign to mixed results.

After a strong finishing run of smashes like “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and his immortal “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted” collaboration with 2Pac, Snoop closed with “Young, Wild & Free”— a 2011 joint effort between Snoop, Khalifa, and Bruno Mars— with its chorus of “So what we get drunk/So what we smoke weed/ We're just having fun/ We don't care who sees.” With the Regency smelling like the inside of a burning blunt for the better part of the night and producing a generous contact high, it felt like an appropriate sentiment to send the crowd home with.

Critic’s Notebook:


• Tuesday night’s show was the first of many upcoming Super Bowl-related Bay Area events for Snoop. Tonight, he plays Petaluma’s Mystic Theatre. Friday night, he’s scheduled to rock The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, then hightail it back to San Francisco for a party at the W Hotel. On Saturday, he’ll be coaching his youth football team in the “Snooper Bowl” at San Jose City College. And if he’s still got anything left in the tank, he’ll be DJing a Super Bowl wrap-up party at Ruby Skye Sunday night. Let it not be said that the d-o-double-g is a slacker.
• Snoop joins a seemingly growing list of hip-hop luminaries swinging by the Bay for Super Bowl festivities this week, including Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Pharrell, T.I., Rick Ross, 50 Cent, and Jermaine Dupree.
• Snoop has remained loyal to the Dogg Pound, his longtime Long Beach rap group rounded out by Daz Dillinger and Kurupt. In January, Snoop and Daz released an album together called Cuzznz (because they’re real-life cousins). Tuesday night, Daz played the role of Snoop’s DJ while Kurupt was a hype man who took moments during the performance to spit verses on songs like “Let’s Get High.”
• Despite the show’s brief runtime of around an hour, it still somehow felt like a full meal. I heard no grumblings on the way out of people not getting their money’s worth.
• I heard multiple guys yell, “We’re at a Snoop Dogg concert! We’re at Snoop Dogg, bro!” seemingly in disbelief before the show even started.
• A lone “Straight Outta Vallejo” t-shirt was spotted draped over the balcony.
• My clothes still smell like weed. 
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Kevin W. Smith

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