Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Words by Tony Grands
Snoop Doggy Dogg a/k/a Big Snoop a/k/a The Doggfather a/k/a Big Bow Wow has – once again – decided to change his nom de plume. This time, though, it’s not because of some back street legality, changing-of-crews, or record label shift.
The man formally known to really resemble that Doberman Pinscher from the “What’s My Name?” video is now to be called Snoop Lion. & while it’s not a legal name change (he’s still Calvin Broadus Jr. to cops & relatives), it’s getting “media” coverage like it is.
Let’s take a moment to browse over Calvin Broadus’ career as a Hip Hop entertainer: platinum-selling rapper, talk show host, pot advocate/advertiser, movie star, record label ceo, team player, clothing entrepreneur, football coach, movie star, innocent man, pimp, &
weed carrier sidekick to Dr. Dre.
For what it’s worth, I understand why Snoop decided on this life change. It’s sort of like when a championship title holding fighter stops fighting – while holding the belt – to do some fight-related shit. He goes out on top. Lion says it was for spiritual reasons, but only the shrewdest of businessmen stays afloat in the rap game for as long as Snoop has. & this shit was definitely a power move.
This year, The Doggfather will he be turning 40 years old, & there’s a pretty good chance that this sudden name switch may be his swan song (or shark jumping, depending on where you’re standing). Rap music is full of young boys hopped-up on drugs & video game-tinted perceptions of real life, so it would come as no shock should he throw the mic down & stop rapping. (Especially since he has adult children who can take over from this point. You know, like a family business.)
For all the jokes & riddles aimed at him via the Internets, at the end of the day, he’s still Snoop Doggy Dogg, a permanent fixture in rap culture. This is a respect-worthy, graceful bow out, if you ask me. Most cats claim they are retiring, only to still rap, as if the heralded announcement they made was forgotten. Blatant publicity stunt(s). Aside from that, it’s 2012, & nobody is clamoring for a Snoop album. That’s just a sign of Hip Hop’s perpetual motion. Non-stop advancement, like it or not, like life itself.
See, most of Snoop’s contemporaries didn’t make it this far. Plenty dudes tapped out long ago, but since about 1993, Snoop has continually given pop[ular] culture a reason to talk about him, good or bad. Now, he’s even said he’s Bob Marley reborn, after rapping about slapping bitches, shooting niggas, & gangbanging for the last 20 years. That’s heavy, no? A man of that gravity deserves a pass to leave & pursue other things. Personally, the Snoop Lion launch is much better than continually chasing the shadow of “Drop It Like It’s Hot” or “Sexual Seduction.” There aren’t many things worse than an old rapper in denial, in public, blind to his self-etherization.
So with this, we bid Snoop Dogg a found farewell, & let us pray that he doesn’t tarnish his reputation by fooling himself into believing he’s really Jamaican. The last images of our beloved Long Beach’r shouldn’t be of him speaking with a fake accent & only wearing red, green, & yellow all the time. That’s why Madonna talks like Simon Cowell.
Words by Tony Grands