Snoop Dogg on the stories behind his classic hits, his final days with DMX and his new role as director at Def Jam


People know that Snoop Dogg constantly listens to oldies. You are a walking playlist.
My mom, man, she had music in her car. She had a car that played eight-track tapes and had a record player on it. They and my mom would have parties in the living room and all the kids would be in the back. I glanced over and my mom was like, “Come here, Snoopy.” And I would do the bump with one of her friends. All the other children in the back. I am in the living room with the adults. Then everyone comes home. Now my mother is in the living room with a Schlitz Malt Liquor bull, drank it and passed it to me. I drink with her. One of my mom’s favorite stories is that she says, “I drank with you for about two years. You were about three years old, three to five years old. When you were five, we were drinking one night, and I said, ‘Snoopy, how are you feeling?’ And you looked at me and you said, ‘How do you think I feel?’ My mom said, “It was the last fucking drink you had.

How do you feel now that you are about to turn 50?
In hip-hop we haven’t been taught that we can get old and be in this stuff. When we were young, 50 was old. Fifty was an old man in a wheelchair, who talked shit, ate peanuts, and tossed seashells on the porch all day. Our 50 is different. Our 50 is agile. Our spirit is there, we are sharp, we always have the will to win and we hate to lose. Even at 50.

We still have more to accomplish, don’t we?
You just have to be thankful that hip-hop was born. Because that’s what the seed was planted for, so it could grow. As I said earlier about respecting ancestors, people who started hip-hop, those who didn’t get a recording contract. That’s what this shit is about, being able to bring it to that level and let it grow and grow and grow, and come to an age where they treat us like rock and roll artists. Rock and roll has no age. No one ever says, “The Rolling Stones are 70 years old. These old assholes need to sit down somewhere. “They say,” The Rolling Stones are doing a concert in a stadium!

How do you continue to challenge yourself musically? What inspires you?
I come from battle rap. This is how Tupac and I met, at the closing party for Poetic justice in ’93 Ricky Harris, my childhood friend, rest in peace, was the MC for that evening. He knew how funny I was, but Tupac was in the movie. So we were at that closing night, John Singleton, Michael Rapaport, all kinds of muthafuckas were there. Someone started a beat. Of course, Tupac gets on first. When he was done rapping, I grabbed the mic and started rapping. When I finished he grabbed the mic and started rapping. But we didn’t know each other then. So it was a bit aggressive. Afterwards, we went out and my brother-in-law introduced us. “Snoop, this is my n-gga Pac. Pac, this is my n-gga Snoop. And this is the first time that I have smoked a blunt. That nigga opened up a Philly blunt, got the guts out, got ’em out of the Lincoln, and turned that asshole and passed it to me. And my whole chest broke because I never had a cigar, you know what I mean? We were on the joints.

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