Here is the transcript from Snoop Dogg’s keynote conversation presented to us at SXSW 2015.
Check it out. It’s a long read, but it’s not without its entertainment.
James Minor, GM of SXSW introducing Snoop:
“He has received multiple Grammy nominations, and has collaborated with everyone from Stevie Wonder, to T-Pain, to Willie Nelson. He’s also an avid sports fan who started the Snoop Youth Football League as a way to give back to inner-city kids. I’d now like to introduce Ted Chung. Ted?”
TED: Check 1, Check 2. Thanks for coming. So, I’m Snoop’s manager, I’ve been working with him, had the pleasure and honor for the last 15 years. I was asked to do this last minute, so this is a very candid conversation. I’d like to start off showing you this video that gives you a glimpse into the wide world of Snoop Dogg.
*brief bio video*
TED: Ladies and gentlemen, the one, the only, Snoop Dogg.
SNOOP: Thank you.
TED: Alright, so… we have a lot of conversations, but as friends do, we don’t usually ask each other questions like this, so this will be a fun time to just get into the DNA of Snoop, and have a good time here with it for the SXSW keynote speaking engagement. Let’s start with music. So let’s start from the beginning. Long Beach, it’s the 80’s. Where and how did you first fall in love with music?
SNOOP: I think it started in the 70’s with my mom playing music and having parties at the house, going to functions at the park and hearing music on the streets and seeing what it did for me and for other people… the spirit that music embodied when people heard it. And once I was able to understand the words and the music and the sound, you know, like, I became a real fan of music. I wanted to learn how to play music. My grandmother paid for me to play the piano and I was singing in the choir so I was trying to figure out how I could be a part of that movement.
TED: I’ve heard you share stories sometimes about the parties that your mom would have where you would listen to records. Can you describe that scene a little bit?
SNOOP: Well she would definitely play, like, Iseley Brothers, Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder. I mean, she would play everything that felt good. I heard everything, you know? It wasn’t nothin’ that I didn’t hear. I heard all of the good music, and then she had records up under the component set that was like Richard Pryor records and Rudy Ray Moore, you know… the records that I wasn’t supposed to listen to but I listened to those too.
TED: So, from the 70’s then going into the 80’s, what happened in Long Beach, and in general with regards to the West Coast and whether it was Reaganomics and gang banging, how did things change in your neighborhood?
SNOOP: Early in the 70’s and toward the latter part of the 70’s, everything was beautiful because we had ways to have fun and communicate, and for those who were underprivileged, living on the low economic side of life, we had things that the government would provide for us which helped us get by. It was like a society where we all needed it and we had it, so we all helped each other. Then when Reaganomics kicked in, certain things were taken away. After-school programs, you know, things of that nature, but guns and drugs were shipped into the neighborhood. So there was a shift of having fun and playing football, to selling drugs and shooting at each other. To me, it was a system that was designed, because once the Reaganomics era began, that’s when this began.
TED: So, I wanted to share with everyone for the first time ever, that Snoop is developing a show with HBO, in conjunction with Alan Hughes who directed “Book of Eli”, Rodney Barnes is the writer, from Boondocks, and it’s going to be about this era and this time in the 80’s and what happened on the West Coast. That’s something we all heavily anticipate. What does it mean to you, having a show on HBO?
SNOOP: HBO is the #1 network in the world as far as developing and having these types of shows come to life, and to be able to work with Alan Hughes who directed “Menace to Society”, one of my favorite movies, and “Dead Presidents” as well… this is like a dream come true to be able to tell a story that is going to be told the right way on the right network.
TED: So I was talking to Alan on the phone last night in preparation of this conversation, and he said he wanted to ask you this Snoop: He feels that during that era, gangster rap was obviously well known and you had groups like NWA that spawned that genre. He felt though that it wasn’t until the world heard your voice, that there was a respect for your voice and your perspective which we’re going to talk about a lot today. Your voice, your perspective, and how you see things, really bridged the gap between L.A. and New York which is heavily lyrical based when it comes to rhyming… and the rest of the world. How did your experiences as a youth and maybe some of your traveling when you were younger, contribute to your ability to speak to a bunch of people at the same time?
SNOOP: Well, when I was a kid, my mother raised me around people. She taught me to love people, no matter what color they was, so I built up a thing called love. I didn’t have no hate in me. When I was shipped to a school in Lakewood, which was a predominantly white neighborhood for my junior high school experience, I learned how to communicate with other people. I learned how to live and do things the right way, as opposed to what I was taught in my hood, which was to do it only one way. I believe that that helped me to learn how to articulate, to communicate, and make music that felt right for everybody and write with a purpose for the people, as opposed to my people. I feel like everybody’s my people, despite I’m from the hood, I’m from the East Side of LBC, my pen is for everybody who’s been through something that’s the same experience as me, no matter what color you are, what age, or where you come from. That’s why I feel like my connection is to the people, because I always write for the people.
TED: So, rhyming. When did you know that you wanted to take that voice and put it to music? How did you know and what influenced you to become and MC in the beginning?
SNOOP: Wow. It was, uh… I heard the Sugar Hill Gang first. I’m sure a lot of y’all heard that. When I heard it, I wanted to learn it. Once I learned it, I started putting my name in the place of Big Bang Hank and you know, Wonder Mike. I was trying to put my name in here. There was another song that came out at that time…
TED: What was your name at that time?
SNOOP: My name was Snoop Rock Ski.
SNOOP: Yeah that was my name back then. I’m not ashamed.
SNOOP: There was another song by an artist named Jimmy Spicer that was called “Super Rhyme”. There was so much personality in that song, he had changed his voice like 5 or 6 different times. He was different characters and that was so appealing to me. It was like, Wow. If I was to ever be a rapper, I’d want to have personality with my rap. I don’t just wanna be one sided. Then I heard Slick Rick. When I heard Slick Rick, it was like… Ok. Now I got it. You know what I’m sayin’, so everything started to come together. Hearing Ice Cube, and hearing Ice T, and hearing the people that were connected to where I was supposed to live, and like, those stories were my stories. It was like I had flavor, I was gangsta, and I was writing for people. So, it was like a blessing in disguise to have all those attributes. Then at the same time, the rhyming was easy for me. I could always freestyle. I didn’t have to write… actually I couldn’t write. My first 3 or 4 years rapping, I couldn’t write nothin’ down. I’d rather just freestyle and talk about whatever was going on at that moment. That was like, one of the things I was known for. Once I learned how to write, I felt like I was unstoppable because I was always able to come up with something good, but now I’m able to sit down and put it into the form of a song and I’ll be real sharp with it.
TED: You’re a well-respected battle rapper in Long Beach as well, correct?
SNOOP: Most definitely. I mean, I only lost one battle out of about, maybe 3-400.
TED: Obviously, those songwriting talents, putting music together with Warren and Nate led you to meeting Dre. How did that happen, for those that don’t know? And what was your relationship like with Dre when that partnership started?
SNOOP: Well, as you know, Warren G and Dr. Dre are brothers. Warren G was one of my friends growing up that always saw something in me. He recognized the talent in me before I did. So he would always say, “Man we need to get this to Dre. You need to rap for Dre.” and I was like, “I ain’t ready for that. They makin’ real records.” know what I’m sayin’? Once we started making cassettes… ’cause cassettes was in back then… we was making cassette tapes…
SNOOP: They started floating around and people started supporting it and wanting to hear it. So we started selling it for $5 a tape and then our music started getting all around the Southern California area. So, one day, Dr. Dre had a bachelor party for one of his friends, and Warren G happened to be there, and the music had stopped. So Warren put in our cassette and the party just kept on rockin’. Everybody was like, “Who was that?” and Dr. Dre was like, “Who was that rappin’?”, and he was like, “That’s my homeboy I was tellin’ you about”. From that day, he called me and I didn’t believe it. I was like, “Man quit playin'” and I hung up on him, like “Man this ain’t no Dr. Dre”.
SNOOP: He called back and was like, “I want you to come to the studio”. So I came to Sonar Records and we did one of the songs that was on my tape. The song never came out, but once I heard myself in the studio with him, it was like magic. You could see it in his eyes and mine, and we knew that this was going to be something special. We built a friendship, we built a bond, it was like a brotherhood. It wasn’t like “I’m older than you, I know better than you”, it was like, “I’m depending on you”. He really depended on me like I depended on him, which gave me confidence whenever I was able to step into the foreground. I was very confident as opposed to being scared of the moment.
TED: That confidence also contributes greatly to that breakout moment, you becoming a star, which then led you to becoming the leader of your crew at the time. Can you kind of describe what it’s like to be thrust into that sort of leadership position? Have you always been a leader, even before you were famous?
SNOOP: Well, when I played sports, I played point guard and I played quarterback. And usually, those positions are positions of leadership where you have to lead the team and lead the troops and take control of the situation. So, I had leadership qualities, but I was never a real leader. I was content with being in the background, and you know, being behind somebody. But once I got with Dr. Dre and created my own crew and forged my own identity, the leadership role just felt like it was calling me. It was destined for me to be a leader and I stepped into it and I became a great leader, because I was one that had compassion. I had love and consideration. That’s something that I have that a lot of leaders don’t have. They’re either, “It’s my way, or no way”. I had a lot of consideration and love which enabled me to grow as a leader.
TED: You know we’re at SXSW. We’re talking about, obviously, your music career, your voice, and the music industry is changing incredibly fast. You’ve adapted and thrived through all of that. What in your opinion are some of the reasons that allow you to continue to evolve?
SNOOP: Well, I always keep my ear to the street, and I keep my feet to the pavement. The way I can explain that to those that don’t understand is that I always pay attention to what’s going on in the industry that I’m in. Whether it’s the new talent, the old talent, what’s hot, what’s not, what’s in, what’s out, and to have a pulse and still be relevant is key. I’ve always maintained a level of respect with the artists whether they’re new or old. And they treat me with respect, so it’s not like I’m an old man tryin’ to infringe. It’s like… that’s Uncle Snoop… and it’s all good.
TED: So you’re talking about all these different artists that look at you as Uncle Snoop, as a mentor. Is that an awkward position to be in? Whether they’re younger or older, that they’re looking up to you and getting advice from you?
SNOOP: No, I love it. That’s the ability of being a leader and understanding that you’re a leader and maximizing that as your strength. I’m great at that. I’m great at helping. I’m great at finding you a solution. I’m a problem solver. I’m the answer. I’m what you need.
*laughter and applause*
TED: A lot of the people and artists that have needed you are those that you’ve had a chance to collaborate with. You collaborate across multiple genres, and it’s spanned from rock, to hip hop, to country, to R&B. Everyone in this room is familiar with all those hits and collaborations, but being in Austin, one of those I wanted to bring up was Willie Nelson, who people might not assume that that would be a natural connection between you and Willie, so can you describe that relationship? And actually, I would love to know a story from when you were in Amsterdam when you’ve got you and Willie Nelson, in Amsterdam, shooting a video for a record called “My Medicine”. That was one video shoot I was not able to attend so we’d love to hear a story from that moment.
SNOOP: Well, I don’t know why people think me and Willie don’t have nothin’ in common…
SNOOP: First of all, we like animals… we like… good music… and, we like grass. So it’s a natural relationship and I’m a fan. You know, one thing about me, if I’m a fan of yours, I don’t have a problem with running up to you and telling you that. When I was able to meet Willie Nelson, I told Willie, I said “I’m a fan, I love you. I know you might not think that I do but I know all your music…” I started singing “On the Road Again”… and he was like, “But you know what, Snoop? I’m a bigger fan of your music than you are of mine. My daughter loves you, my family loves you”. It was like a beautiful situation where it was love at first sight. And then, you know, we went in the green room…. and had a conversation.
SNOOP: From there the conversation sparked up the idea of… yeah it “sparked up” the idea of me and Willie wanting to collaborate. At the time, I had a song called “My Medicine”. Yeah… my medicine.
TED: It is medical.
SNOOP: Yeah well it is now. I was like, “Willie, man… I think you would sound nice on this record right here”, and he was like, “Well, send it over to me”. I was like “Well, how about we do it together, I don’t wanna send it to you” and he was like, “Well, I’ve got a show in Amsterdam on, uh… 4/20.” I said, “Well, Willie… I’m coming to Amsterdam on 4/20”. So when I came out there, you know we had a good time. We performed together and the day after the show, we was chillin’ in Willie’s room playin’ dominoes, right. He whoopin’ my ass at dominoes. But at the same time, he’s passin’ me a paper, a cigar, a vapor, a bong, and a little… what is that thing with the plastic bag, I don’t even know the name of it. A volcano, yeah. So I’m like, “This old man is really trying to challenge me right now”. So after he gets me to say, “Hey man, let’s go get something to eat.”, because that’s the cue that you’re winning right now and I gotta find a way out. So we jump into a van and we go to our favorite spot, Kentucky Fried Chicken. We pull up in the drive thru, and we’re ordering chicken, we want a bucket of this and a bucket of that… So me and Willie are sitting side by side so when we get up to the window to pay for the food, we pay for it, they give us the buckets of chicken, and we open it up… Me and Willie, we stick our hand in at the same time and we grab the same piece of chicken. And I look at Willie, and I’m like, “That’s you dog, my bad.”
SNOOP: I let him go on and have it, and that was, like, that was one of the greatest moments of my life when me and Willie Nelson grabbed the same piece of chicken at the same damn time.
TED: What a beginning to a beautiful relationship.
TED: So, I mean Willie is one artist that’s obviously in the country genre, and you’ve collaborated with a lot of other artists. What is that experience like for the musicians in the room? Is that hard for you to adapt to the different genres?
SNOOP: No, because I feel like music is music. One thing I started to notice is that when you make good music, people love it no matter what genre it is. So if I go into the studio with a rock artist or a reggae artist or a rap artist… the music is what connects us. There’s something about the music that I’ve made that’s touched them, there’s something about the music they made that’s touched me. That’s what I love about music. It’s the universal language of all people, once you allow it to become what it is.
TED: And all this music now brings us to your new album, “Bush”. This is a manager’s statement… which is coming out in May of this year. We just saw the video for “Peaches and Cream”. The album is such an incredible body of work produced entirely by Pharrell. Describe your relationship with Pharrell. What’s it like working with him?
SNOOP: Wow. Well, when Pharrell was a youngster, I think I was leaving No Limit Records and going on my own. I loved the music he was making and I ran into him and I was like, “Man I wanna do something with you”. I think I went to Virginia where he was at and I made a record with him. From that record, we made another record and another record and another record. Then he was like, “Let’s do this thing over here… I’ve got a song for you. I love the way you rap but you ain’t never made a song for the ladies man, the ladies love you Snoop!” You know, I was always “Man, I don’t love them hoes”, “Bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch, bitch”. He was like, “Man, Snoop… you fly man the ladies like you” and I was like “For real?!”… He was like “Pharrell, fo’ real”.
SNOOP: So he told me he was going to give me a song, right. The song was called “Beautiful”. So he told me, “When you write it, think about your wife and your daughter.” and I’m like, “Ok. I got you.” That let me know he cared about me to put me on a lane toward writing records for my people. I was blindfolded, I didn’t know. I didn’t know I could make music like that for the women, and music that was not considered soft, but felt good. He tapped me into a lane that I wasn’t able to tap into on my own and that built our relationship to where when we finally got to the day when we made “Drop It Like It’s Hot” it was like we was like Batman and Robin, we was on. He sat there and made that beat from start to finish and he told me how to rap. He wasn’t saying the words, but he was saying the melody. For an artist, you love to get that because that’s half the battle. The melody is half the battle. Words are easy. It just felt like we were meant to be. From that day on, we built a friendship, we built a love. We brought in Charlie Wilson because Charlie Wilson is somebody that I love and I love working with. I felt like him and Pharrell working together would be magic. I put those two together and they made history. It was a love thing that was about the relationship that me and Pharrell had on our own… didn’t nobody create this. No manager said, “You should get with him” or “Maybe you should work with him”. It was something that we created and to this day, we still love each other and that’s why we’re making hot music still.
TED: “Bush”, the new album with you and Pharrell, definitely has a totally different feel, right? How would you describe it, because we’ve read about it in the press. Our press people have put out words, but how do you describe “Bush”, what journey does it take you on?
SNOOP: The Mothership is reconnected. It’s a funk ride. It’s a ride through the funkosphere. It feels good. When I listen to this record, I really really enjoy listening to it and playing it for people and seeing their response. A lot of the records I’ve made in the past, you know Ted, I don’t listen to my music. It’s hard for me to listen to Snoop Dogg because… I’m Snoop Dogg, know what I’m sayin?
TED: This is true.
SNOOP: I’m so busy trying to be different, like when I make a record I really don’t listen to it. It’s like, “Ok I’m done with it, I’ve gotta get on to the next thing”. But this record right here is living with me. It’s starting to become a part of my everyday life, and when I go over to different countries and I play it, and sneak it in I can just see the way people dance to it. It’s a different groove. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s just a whole different groove.
TED: And the visuals are very different, right? We saw the first video and the videos coming up are crazy and ill as well so where did that come from?
SNOOP: Well, Pharrell is a genius. I wanted him to compliment his music, the sound should have a visual piece to it. As a producer sometimes, you lose that privilege. The artist will take your song, go do a video with a bunch of girls in it, poppin’ champagne, and you’re like, “Well that’s not really the vision I had for the video”. So I was able to say, “Pharrell, what’s the vision you want? I’ve already done 100,000 videos with what I want; let me see what you want. I allow you to give me what you think I should have.” That’s what the process has been this whole album.
TED: Dope. Well we look forward to it, everybody… “Bush”. Coming in May.
TED: So throughout all this music in your career, the key has been your voice and your perspective. What do you think shaped that and where did you find… you know all of us have voices in this age of social media. We all have the ability now to project our thoughts and feelings and share, but it takes something special to be a superstar and for that voice to translate around the world, especially if there are other artists in this room. How do you find that voice, and how do you constantly redefine it?
SNOOP: You gotta work at it. It’s a work ethic. It’s not something you can just wake up and say it’s a God given talent; you gotta go work at it. Anything in my life that I’ve ever achieved, I’ve worked hard at. I worked harder than my competition. I’ve always looked at my competition as competition. That’s not negative, I come from a sports background so I love to compete and I was taught to compete and I hate losing. That’s just the attitude that I have. I love to win. When I’m on it, I’m on it like I want it. When I’m in it, I’m in it to win it. That’s just the spirit that I have and I just… I embellish that. I embody that whole feeling as far as wanting to be the best and wanting to be great. I don’t like being good. I wanna be great because I grew up watching people good. I’ve seen the people who was great, and some of them are still here. That’s what I want, I want greatness. You gotta strive to be great, if you want to be great.
TED: Sports seems to be a recurring theme in this discussion, and you getting a lot of those fundamentals of your philosophy and how you want to be challenged, how you want to challenge other people… I’ve never thought about this before, but the Snoop Youth Football League has been around for ten years. How important is that part of a driving philosophy of maybe why you contribute so much, whether it’s time, monetarily, your passion, to youth sports?
SNOOP: Well, the Snoop Youth Football League started 11 years ago.
TED: My bad, 11 years ago.
SNOOP: It’s all good, you one off. The purpose of starting the Snoop Youth Football League was because I wanted to see some kids from the inner city have the opportunity to play some great football, and to become something special in life one day. Now speed the clock up from the day I started it, to the day I’m sitting here. This year, we put 21 kids in Division 1. Last year we put 20, and the year before that we had 17 that went to Division 1 colleges.
SNOOP: The thrill to me is that my son is one of them. He didn’t get what you’d think he got. Snoop Dogg got money; I could’ve paid for him to go to school. He didn’t want that. He was brought up in the Snoop Youth Football League so he earned a 4 year scholarship to UCLA. He’s the first person in my family to actually go to college, so how do you think I feel and these parents feel with my football league when these kids who come from these areas where college is forbidden… you know, in the hood, college ain’t cool. It’s really not, but we made it cool. We made it cool to go to college and to learn and get you a degree, because you can’t play football unless you’re smart. Football is a smart sport. You can’t be a dummy out there. It used to be, back in the days, if you was good we’d just skip your grades. That doesn’t happen anymore. You gotta have the right requirements, the right studies and all of that. So now, it’s a smart sport. That’s why I really wanted to put my hands on that. Another thing is that making music; I was doing my best to make a star and make somebody like me and sign artists. It never happened. It’s so hard to try and make a rap star. I’ve been nominated for 17 Grammys and I’ve never won one. So I say, ok… let me look at my football league. 21+21+17… That’s better than a Grammy right there. All day, every day.
TED: By the way, speaking from a manager’s perspective, this is an incredibly real passion of Snoop’s. For me, sometimes I have to focus on the bottom line and during the football season, there are tons of opportunities that Snoop always says, “Hold on, Ted. Freeze. We’re not doing anything.” because it’s always about being around for the kids during the football season. This is a real and serious initiative of Snoop’s. Talking about sports and going into your other endeavors, obviously you’ve had an incredible career in film and TV. I know you and our Cashmere agency team has built a lot of influence and power in the social media and tech world. What are your thoughts on where social media is now, and what are some things that artists should pay attention to in the future of social media?
SNOOP: Well, I believe social media is the bridge. It bridges the gap between the people, and the people. I don’t even call them fans anymore, they’re people. They’re my peoples. It’s not a fan/artist relationship when you’re communicating and you’re loving somebody for this long. You’re reassuring me like I’m reassuring you. It’s a bridge between people now. The social media gives you a chance to engage with people who love you. You can’t touch all the people that love you. Now I’m able to get on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter and put up something funny and my peoples tell me, “We like that, Snoop. Keep doing that.” or if I do something crazy, they’re like, “Don’t do that dog, we don’t like that”. So it’s an understanding. I depend on them like they depend on me. It’s a love thing. That’s why my relationship with my peoples is not fan/artists. It’s people. When they see Snoop they know they’re about to get a picture. It’s not like, “Oh my God, there’s Snoop… I wonder if I can…” it’s like, “Dog, let me get a selfie, my daughter loves you, my grandmother loves you, my cousin loves you, my kids love you… my dog loves you”.
SNOOP: That’s what it is!
TED: Yeah, you’re really open and share a lot on social media. You totally kind of integrate it into your life and what you do. I know that there are a lot of things like when you talk about being able to connect with the people directly, and really sharing with them and having an unfiltered process, like for example… I know because we’re up all night watching this stuff but YouTube for example. What is some of the stuff you enjoy watching on YouTube? Have you found artists on YouTube?
SNOOP: Well, I love YouTube because it’s a way to actually see what’s out there. I’ve seen some great artists, great movie directors, actors, just talented people. You know, to showcase their ability and be seen around the globe like never before. I’ve seen an artist get a million views and his town only has 40,000 people living there. So it’s a way of getting all the way across the globe in a matter of seconds, especially if you’re putting together something quality. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be quality, it’s just gotta be heartfelt. That’s what people gotta understand, it’s not about the money that you put into what you’re trying to visually show, it’s about the heart that you put into it. I’ve shot movies for $100 mil, and those movies didn’t feel good to me like the movies I’m shooting right now for like, $10k. It’s a heart, and a love thing. It’s gotta be a passion of yours to know where, and what you want to see on screen. Do you want to see money, or do you want to see a feeling and emotion on screen? I want to see emotion.
TED: Speaking of that, you know, you are shooting these movies. $10k independent films and that’s always been a long time passion and you’ve always studied acting and film directing. For those of you that don’t know, Snoop is a huge film connoisseur of all genres. Now that we’re making all of these really independent films, one of the focuses we’ve been talking about is your TrapFlix initiative. Can you explain a little bit about that and why “TrapFlix”?
SNOOP: TrapFlix is an urban streaming network to all the filmmakers who can’t get their movies out in Hollywood… who can’t get their movies distributed, can’t get their movies picked up. They have great movies that really mean something to them in their communities. It may be a great movie in general that just can’t get picked up and what we like to do is provide a service to independent filmmakers whether you’re an urban filmmaker, documentary, TV series, this is an opportunity for you to stream your visual piece on our network which is TrapFlix.com. It’s something that’s very creative because it’s something that’s going to really give people the chance to be seen, heard, and talked about as directors. Spike Lee is a director, that, to me, is somebody that would have really enjoyed this years ago, or somebody of his magnitude that makes movies that are cutting edge like him where you don’t have to go to Hollywood to get an approval or get a budget or this or that. You’re making movies that fit you and the people that you’re making them for. For example, I don’t remember when it was, I was shooting a movie called “The Watch”, and one of my homegirls brought a VCR tape in the trailer, and she put the VCR tape on and it was some church stuff. It was like a church play…
TED: I remember this.
SNOOP: It was a church play, and it was funny. It was real funny. She brought us another copy back and two years later, that became Tyler Perry. Tyler Perry was the man we were watching on the VCR tape doing church plays that a room full of people were seeing and it was only on VCR tape. I watched that man point and direct at his audience, and just service his audience. Then his audience just grew into everybody. That’s what this TrapFlix thing is about. We’re aiming at one particular audience: independent filmmakers who can’t get distribution. Then on another note, to make this streaming big because we know this company’s going to get gigantic, we hooked up with the holy grail of streaming technology which is a company called NiFTyTV.com. They will definitely show you the way to make it more profitable and get you more bandwidth space. I’m gonna leave it at that and let Ted ask me some more questions, but I know there’s a lot of tech people in here that really would want to get with what I’m talking about and a lot of independent filmmakers that’s in here… reach out to us at TrapFlix.com so we can get your movies up.
TED: Awesome. So we’ve covered music, we’ve covered film. Another thing that you started without any of us initiating, and then it started to become public and the Stampede Management team and Cashmere Management team started figuring out how to promote it and bring it to your fans is the fact that you started painting. I don’t know if everyone knows this, but Snoop does paint quite often in your private time. Can you explain how this came about? What inspired you to start painting?
SNOOP: The people. They was like, “Man you should paint!”
SNOOP: I was like, “For real?” and they said “Yeah your music is so visual. What do you be going through when you make your music? What do you be thinking?” I could never express that like I can through a painting. When I’m painting I’m in a whole other galaxy. I’m smiling, I’m laughing, I’m crying… I’m emotional. I’m everywhere. That’s what the art looks like when you watch it, it’s an emotional rollercoaster when you’re watching my paintings. Then when I’m done with the painting, this is the crazy part right… When I’m done with it I’ll sit back and look at it and be like, “Yeah, that’s an angel”. Then somebody will come in and be like, “Man, that’s a tight bird right there”.
SNOOP: I’ll be like, “Yeah, that is a bird”. So my art is never what it is. It’s never just like, “That’s a clock”. It’s like, “Nah, that’s a hand. Ok I get it”. So it gives you… what do you call that kind of art?
SNOOP: Yeah I’m an abstract artist.
TED: What was your first painting?
SNOOP: My first painting was in the Versace Hotel in Australia and I painted… I was just in that room and I put a bunch of colors together and then when I finished, I was smoking of course. I dumped some ashes on the picture and then I grabbed my stuff and crumpled it up in my hands and just threw it up in the air and it landed on the picture and I was like, “Ok. It’s done.”
SNOOP: So, if you guys ever go to the Versace Hotel in Australia, it’s hanging up… my artwork.
TED: We have a weekly news show, GGN, right? On your YouTube Channel, so I’m going to take a cue from that show. What’s the first thing you think about when you wake up?
TED: Ok, next question! What has been the happiest day of your life, or one of the happiest days?
SNOOP: One of the happiest days in my life is seeing my son pick a school and know that he’s going to college.
TED: Ok, what has been one of the most challenging days of your life?
SNOOP: One of the most challenging days of my life… was losing my homeboy Nate Dogg. That was challenging. That was deep. That was a real close friend of mine, a real family member. That really hurt because that was the first real member of the original 213 Crew to leave here. That’s still challenging to this day.
TED: Rest in peace, Nate Dogg.
TED: That is covered a little bit when we went down to Jamaica. That was around the same time that we did “Reincarnated” and it impacted what you were doing creatively at that time, but to bring things back on a lighter note… You put Shante, your wife, and Cori B on No Guns Allowed on your album. What was the reason for bringing them into that and how was that process?
SNOOP: Well, it just felt like they should be on my song. My wife is singing other people’s songs all the time, and then my daughter, she really wants to be a singer and it was just the perfect opportunity. The song was so right, “No Guns Allowed”, it was so positive, it was so right. I needed to have some female vocals on there and I didn’t want to go ask a superstar or this person or that person. I was like, “You know what, I’m going to get my daughter and my wife to do it and show some family love and let this be a family movement”, as opposed to calling an artist who’s not going to show up when it’s time to do the show because they’ve got their own show. I’d rather do it with some people who are just as dedicated as I am and I know my wife and my daughter definitely got my back.
TED: So for the future of Snoop, I mean obviously there are things that we talk about in interviews and stuff. Whether it’s doing venture capital investments into tech, business strategy in cannabis coming soon, and the way you’ve been able to integrate yourself across the board in media, did you ever think that you’d be in this place? That your career would evolve to here? What do you think your next step is?
SNOOP: Hell no. Remember when it was like, some of y’all may not remember but America really had a hard on for me. They went to Congress. Dionne Warwick and a bunch of people put my record on display talkin’ about, “He’s the worst thing in the world” and they were really out to get me. I had preachers running over my CD’s. Everybody was on Snoop Dogg like he was the worst black man ever created. You know, I had to get past that. You gotta understand, a lot of these people I looked up to as a kid and they was hatin’ on me, and they didn’t know me. So it rubbed me the wrong way and I was young and I was ambitious and I was gangsta, so I took that shit on. You know what I’m sayin’, I didn’t shy away from it, I took it on. But as a man now, I don’t do that. I look at what they did, how they rubbed me the wrong way, and I try not to rub my young homies the wrong way. I try to be for them, be about them and understand them and talk to them and communicate with them. Because I didn’t like the way they treated me when I first came out. It could have deterred me, but it made me stronger. I want to try and make sure that the next Snoop Dogg, or the next person that’s going to be in this position that I am, that I’m in right now, handles it the right way. The same way I did.
TED: So on that note, and I think our time is wrapping up here, but if you could go back and see that 18 year old Snoop, 21 year old Snoop, is there any advice in particular that you would give him?
SNOOP: Not really, because I have no regrets. I love everything I did and the way I did it. It was meant to be. It was written. It’s the plan, it happened before I even got here. I’m just bringing it all to life, right before your eyes, and I’m giving you a chance to be right there with me to enjoy it. So I would never go back, rewrite it and erase it. It was fun. I enjoyed every moment of it… the good, the bad, and the ugly.
TED: Alright, well I think we’ll wrap it up right there. Thank you so much ladies and gentlemen. Snoop Dogg.
The only thing that could have made this keynote conversation any better would have been Snoop surprising us with a performance of a track off of his new album. I might have been slightly disappointed that we didn’t get a brief show, but that’s only the fan in me wanting to have something other than a 45 minute look inside the mind of a rap superstar to brag about.
It was a great and extremely informative time. Thanks to SXSW for making it happen, and inviting us along for the ride.
Until next year!