Women in Music 2016

Sam Hunt Surprises Stagecoach With Snoop Dogg, G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch
Sam Hunt, Bebe Rexha and Snoop Dogg bring a Bud Light Music Stage Moment to Stagecoach 2016 at The Empire Polo Club on April 29, 2016 in Indio, Calif.

Sam Hunt flexed his genre-blurring muscles at Stagecoach in Indio, Calif., Friday night (April 29) by inviting Snoop Dogg, G-Eazy and Bebe Rexha on stage to inject the country music festival with surprise doses of rap and pop.

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Hunt stepped aside to let G-Eazy and Bebe Rexha tackle “Me, Myself & I,” their catchy Billboard Hot 100 hit, and Snoop Dogg followed up with “The Next Episode,” his classic that he performed during Ice Cube’s set Coachella earlier this month. Snoop finished with “Drop It Likes It’s Hot.”

All three artists jammed together on Hunt’s “House Party” before taking a group selfie with tens of thousands of Stagecoach fans in the background.

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“We didn’t rehearse anything, the charm came from us not having rehearsed it,” Hunt said outside his trailer after the 50-minute set. The surprise was concocted by Hunt and Bud Light Music as part of the brand’s Stage Moments series, which will continue at other music festivals throughout 2016. “This is another baby step toward breaking down stereotypes that prevent people from enjoying music in different genres.”

Snoop Dogg wasn’t sure how the crowd would react to him, but his presence provided the set’s rowdiest reception amid the sea of cowboy hats. “I saw a lot of daisy dukes and high boots,” he said. “I didn’t know they would know my music.”

While the four artists hung out backstage after the set, one attendee gave them a group name -- The Highlanders -- to which Snoop quipped, “Because we’re very high and we land in places and have a great time.”

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Hunt, whose debut album, Montevallo, ranked No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums for 2015 on the strength of three No. 1 singles, met Snoop for the first time Friday, just hours before they shared the stage together. This may not be the last time they collaborate, either.

“We just presented Sam Hunt with four songs that my artists [on Cadillac Music] wrote for him that will hopefully make Sam’s record,” Snoop told Billboard. “One of them is ‘So Proud to Be an American,’ it’s like an anthem and it makes you feel good to be who you are.”

Snoop sang some of the lyrics, which were about drinking, watching football and Nascar. Hunt, meanwhile, teased what to expect from his sophomore studio album.

“I’d like for this record to be really diverse in terms of styles of songs on the record. As a whole, I don’t have plans to go one specific direction,” the artist said.

Lyrically, he plans to sing about his ongoing touring life on the road as well as nostalgic moments that happened well before his debut album earned him Grammy nominations for best new artist and best country album.

“I’m hoping in the next six months, before I dig in and really write the record, I’ll be able to live a little more of a normal life than I did last year, and that usually inspires creativity and creates more experiences that are more relatable than just jumping on and off a bus and on and off a stage for 12 months,” Hunt added.

Hunt’s set also included his three country platinum-selling chart-toppers -- “Leave the Night On,” “Take Your Time” and “House Party” -- as well as the platinum-selling “Break Up in a Small Town.” He also blended his song “Single For the Summer” with Drake’s “Marvin’s Room.”

His crossover appeal is what attracted Bud Light to partner with him at Stagecoach, Justin Lehmann, the brand's manager of experiential marketing for music, told Billboard.

“The way we used to work was to have onsite activations, and to me there was an issue there, because when I go to a music festival, I go to see what’s happening onstage. The allure of the brand activations was never there, so why try to direct eyeballs and move bodies away from where they already are? Let’s just be where they’re at. Let’s not try to stick out like a sore thumb.”

The only branding on stage Friday was the beer bottles Hunt, Snoop and G-Eazy held during the surprise performances. While these type of guest performers essentially are the norm now at Coachella, they are far and few between at Stagecoach, which made the appearances feel like actual surprises.

Before Friday, Hunt had previously only met G-Eazy, who he briefly ran into backstage last year during South by Southwest after they performed at Fader Fort.

“It was just a mutual respect -- music is universal regardless of genre, culture, time period, era or whatever,” said G-Eazy, who just last week during his Coachella set brought out rapper Lil Wayne. “That’s a moment I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. To stand on the same stage as Snoop is like standing on the same stage as Wayne. They’re both legends.”