Snoop Dogg on the Stories Behind His Classic Hits, His Last Days With DMX, and His New Exec Role at Def Jam

People know Snoop Dogg is constantly listening to oldies. You’re a walking playlist.
My mama, man, she had music in her car. She had a car that played eight-track cassettes and had a record player on it. My mom and them would have parties in the living room, and all the kids would be in the back. I’d peek out and my mom would be like, “Come out here, Snoopy.” And I’d be doing the bump with one of her friends. All the other kids in the back. I’m in the living room with the grown-ups. Then everybody goes home. Now my mama is in the living room with a Schlitz Malt Liquor bull, drank it, and passed it to me. I’m drinking with her. One of my mama’s favorite stories is her saying, “I was drinking with you for about two years. You were like three years old, three to five. When you got five, we were drinking one night, and I said, ‘Snoopy, how you feel?’ And you looked at me and said, ‘How the hell you think I feel?’” My mama said, “That was the last muthafuckin’ drink you had.”

How the hell do you feel, now that you’re about to be 50?
In hip-hop, we weren’t taught we could grow old and be in this thing. When we was young, 50 was old. Fifty was an old man in a wheelchair, talking shit, eating peanuts, and throwing shells on the porch all day. Our 50 is different. Our 50 is agile. Our mind is there, we sharp, we still got the will to win, and we hate to fucking lose. Even at 50.

We still have more to accomplish too, right?
You just got to be thankful that hip-hop was born. Because this is what the seed was planted for, so it can grow. Like I was saying earlier about giving respect to the forefathers, to the people who started hip-hop, the ones who didn’t get record deals. This is what this shit is about, to be able to take it to this level and let it keep growing and growing and growing, and get to an age where they treat us like rock-and-roll artists. Rock and roll don’t have no age on it. Don’t nobody ever say, “The Rolling Stones is 70 years old. Them old mutherfuckas need to sit down somewhere.” They say, “The Rolling Stones is doing a stadium concert!”

How do you keep challenging yourself, musically? What inspires you?
I come from battle rap. That’s how me and Tupac met, at the wrap party for Poetic Justice in ‘93. Ricky Harris, my childhood friend, rest in peace, was the MC of that night. He knew how dope I was, but Tupac was in the movie. So we were at this wrap party, John Singleton, Michael Rapaport, all kinds of muthafuckas were there. Someone threw a beat on. Naturally, Tupac gets on first. When he finished rapping, I grabbed the mic and I started rapping. When I finished, he grabbed the mic and he started rapping. But we didn’t know each other then. So it was kind of aggressive. Afterward, we went outside and my brother-in-law introduced us. “Snoop, this is my n-gga Pac. Pac, this is my n-gga Snoop.” And that’s the first time I smoked a blunt. That n-gga opened up a Philly blunt, took the guts out, rolled them off of the Lincoln, and lit that muthafucker up and passed it to me. And my whole chest got knocked out because I’d never had a cigar, you know what I’m saying? We was on joints.


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