At last weekend’s 2019 KROQ Weenie Roast at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, Calif., Snoop Dogg shared the bill with The Lumineers, Limp Bizkit, 311, Silversun Pickups and more to play a DJ set as DJ Snoopadelic. It’s not the typical place you might expect to see Snoop, who has a new album due July 12, which he excitedly told Billboard about when we spoke backstage. But playing to new audiences — especially young ones — is a big part of the fun for Snoop these days.
We spoke with Snoop about how playing to families here reminds him of his own childhood, the song from the new album he is most excited to play live, and his predictions for NBA free agency and his beloved Lakers (this interview was done before the Anthony Davis trade to Los Angeles).
Though you have had so many accolades and experiences, it still has to be fun for you to be here and have another first time.
I like the energy that I get from the kids, believe it or not. There was a lot of kids that was here today. I seen like some 4-year-olds, 10-year-olds, 14-year-olds, and when they look at me, that’s what I’m looking for — the energy I get from them. Are they in amazement? Are they in tune? Are they energetic? Or are they just watching? The ones I seen today were into it. It’s like their parents was teaching them about good music and not having no boundaries and just playing good shit for kids, like my parents did for me. That’s why I’m so universally accepted when it comes to music, ’cause I listened to everybody’s music as a kid. I grew up with rock music, rap music, reggae music and whatever sound was in my neighborhood. If it was some Latinos that lived right here, we heard some Latino music. If it was some rockers I went to school with, we heard some rock music. And it was like all of that collectiveness. And then coming to an event like today and seeing parents with their kids and seeing kids get a dose of it, it’s only gonna breed the kid that understands music is the universal language of all people. And there are no boundaries on music.
That diversity has come back with festivals. So how does it inspire you musically to do these festival gigs where you might play with Gorillaz, Kacey Musgraves, Foo Fighters and Odesza all on one bill?
A hip-hop crowd is different than this crowd. The energy level is different. So if you know anything about good music, sometimes you want to make music to fit every crowd. So when I leave events like this, I think about “How can I make a song that can affect this crowd but still be me?” How do I do that? And by me being able to DJ and come here and mix and match and hear what the crowd reacts to and is feeding off of, it gives me a better perspective on what I need to be making and how I need to be aiming for a certain sound if I’m looking for this crowd.
When you think back to being a kid and that artist that for you fit all styles and everyone loved, who comes to mind?
Probably Al Green, “Let’s Stay Together.” That record right there, ’cause everybody has a relationship or everybody break up and it’s hard to stay together, and it’s like that record as a kid, whenever it would come on, everybody would react to it, no matter what color they was, where they was from, and even to this day, still, when that record comes on… [Starts singing “Let’s Stay Together”] That’s cold right there. “I’m so in love with you,” that’s cold right there, man. That line is cold. Al Green, man.
How crazy is it for you to have created songs that have that same effect on people that “Let’s Stay Together” had on you?
I don’t ever even think about it like that. That’s crazy that you put it in that equation. I don’t never compare myself to the greats.
But certainly you know you have those songs like “Gin and Juice” that have crossed over?
You know what, it’s kind of like an out-of-body experience. You see it better than I do. I walk around with it, so it’s hard for me to look at it. Like I was telling one of my homies; he’s like, “Man, Snoop, you this, you that.” I’m like, “I can’t watch my highlights when I got a game to play tomorrow.” So I can’t really bask in none of that shit when I’m so steadily trying to make some shit. I got an album coming out July 12. I’m back on it like I want it. It’s the shit I do.
Does not thinking about it allow you to stay humble?
Most people make hit records when they’re not successful. So when you become successful, it becomes, “Do you keep the same formula, or do you make adjustments and do you enhance?” But as long as I’ve been doing this shit, it’s like there’s a method to your madness. Certain producers I work with, I get different shit out of and then certain energies that I project when I’m looking for certain projects, but at the same time, if it’s good music, everybody gonna understand it and they gonna get it. And if your voice is on right, you’re saying the right thing, you got the right people that’s listening, the ears are gonna be open for whatever you deliver.
What song from the new record are you most excited to play live?
It’s a song I got called “Let Bygones Be Bygones.” That’s a real musical song, very musical, where I’ll probably have a proper band up there playing the musical pieces and give it an array of sound that normally you don’t see in a hip-hop show.
Who is going where in NBA free agency?
I think we’re [the Lakers] gonna get a couple of good guys. I don’t know what LeBron [James] is cooking, but I know he’s a got a lot of relationships, so hopefully LeBron will be able to pull something out of his hat and get some deals done based off of people wanting to play with him and wanting to try and win a championship with him. In my ideal mind, I would love to see a Kawhi Leonard or an Anthony Davis, somebody like that join LeBron and make it easy on us.