For a dude this chill, Snoop Dogg doesn't get tired. Twenty years in the game and he's still one of the most unpredictable characters out, constantly reinventing himself and shifting his sounds, with a light spirit and open mind that's exemplary even outside the booth. Between hosting his GGN web show, plotting business moves with Reddit, and working on an all new album, Bush, executive produced by Pharrell, Uncle Snoop took some time to drop some game on The FADER. While we were hanging out in New York, Tim McGraw called.
It's been ten years since you and the Neptunes made Rhythm & Gangsta: The Masterpiece. What was the first session like when you and P got back together to work on Bush? We had been running across each other after we had worked together, kept seeing each other, kept being successful and having hits. Just watching each other blossom on our own, saying to ourselves, "Man, I can't wait to get back in with you." Whenever we see each other it would be like, "Man, I want to do this with you when I get in with you next time. I want you to do this. Man, I got this beat I want you to hear." It was more or less like, you know what, let's make some time. We made some time, we flew to Miami, said let's do three days and see what these three days feel like. The first three days we came up with something powerful. The Masterpiece, that record right there just let us know that we was off and running. It sounded like Prince and Knee Deep, Bootsy [Collins], it just sounded like everything that was funk-based and fun in the '80s and '70s that shit was dripping with it.
That whole lineage of crazy black funk music, you guys kept that relevant. What keeps drawing you back to that sound? It's the music I grew up to as a kid. In the '70s, the music represented fun. We was like hippy babies. All the music was fun, dancing, groove-oriented, heavy bass lines, catchy hooks, fly outfits, groups, solo singing artists, characters. The artists was characters. The music had a look to it as well. I remember when I had Sir Nose. I had a poster, and Sir Nose was standing in the water and he had the long nose with the brim on, with the pimp suit on. Parliament-Funkadelic. I am Sir Nose, I never learned to swim. You know what I'm saying?
You had iLoveMakonnen on GGN recently. When we first heard his records, we got that same vibe, a classic character. I felt especially, "Sexual Eruption" was a direct precursor to his style. What'd you hear in Makonnen that you liked? I felt like he was one of our soul brothers. I feel like you got Sly Stone, Bootsie Collins, Roger Troutman, George Clinton, James Brow. All these guys are funk brothers, and I believe they was all soul brothers just like we are. You find those artists who got that certain funk and soul, we just naturally connected. When me and him met, it was just like natural, like "Man, your shit is banging, come on the show and let me talk about it, I love what you doing." It was mutual. Something about that music, that feel-good, it attracts, opposites attract, we're the same people, we're attracted by the same kind of music.
"Before, they were afraid. Oh, well he smokes weed and he does this, he's a ex drug dealer, he's a gang member. But once they let me in, once I'm in the room, I take over."
You're an investor in Reddit. How did you get involved together, and why? It was something that needed to be done, just showing that we can venture off and do things other than rap that can create finances and create a business intellect point of view other than we're just niggas that rap, buy gold chains and houses and go bankrupt or go to jail or end up something negative. We can do something that has a family long line of success connected to it. My kids' kids' kids can continue to get it, and say that their father's family line is going to be like Kraft line, like Hiltons, the Marmadukes, like anybody with the big names connected to 'em.
What did Reddit propose to you? I started off early, directly connecting with the fans [via Reddit], putting up the signs, just communicating. I was like, "I like that." This is a chance for us to become partners. Let's venture off and see what it do. One thing about a great business, it needs marketing in motion. And that's what we the kings of. We mastered that. We get to people that you would never be able to get to, and we turn they vision onto something that they never were even looking at. Now they're starting to get it. Before, they were afraid. "Oh, well he smokes weed and he does this, he's a ex drug dealer, he's a gang member." Then there was a motherfucker named Lee Iacocca that got it up with me on T Mobile, did a commercial with me, riding around a golf cart. Once we did that—Iacocca was like a boss in that world. And once they seen he officially stamped Snoop, he made me cool, but at the same time, I made him cool. You gotta give and take. But once they let me in, once I'm in the room, I take over. Ain't another nigga been in a room like me. I came in with style, the glam, the finesse, the people's champ. Hold on, let me see if this is my wife calling me.
[Snoop takes a call from a blocked number] Guess who that was?
That wasn't wifey? Wasn't P? I'm out of guesses. Tim McGraw, country music megastar. He just put me up on some business with this application called Sqor that him and Brett Favre are doing. A real conglomerate move you'll be hearing about soon. You was able to hear that behind the scenes. From boss to boss. Country music megastar, hip-hop megastar.
That's what you were just talking about. Being able to move in those spaces. To where I'm cool now, it's acceptable, it's okay. "Hey baby, who got Snoop Dogg number? Goddamn it, give it here." We on and poppin' with no middle man. No "hold on, talk to my manager." Fuck all that, direct man to man. It's a relationship that ties down the line fifty years from now for my grandkids and his grandkids. When we was poor, we was poor together and when we rich we gotta stay rich together.
"Grammys are just like the Oscars, those awards weren't made for blacks."
It's crazy hearing you talk about this push for recognition on a corporate level, coming off the Grammys. You've spoken on the Grammys plenty of times. This year, do you feel like its moving in the right direction? I say fuck the Grammys every year. 17 nominations, no wins. How the fuck? I put up something on Instagram where I said, "Macklemore has more Grammys than Tupac, Notorious B.I.G, DMX, Busta Rhymes, KRS One, Rick Ross, Snoop Dogg, Mos Def, Run DMC, Public Enemy, Big Pun, Young Jeezy, Ja Rule, and Kendrick Lamar combined." And that aint' no disrespect to his music, but how the fuck he got more Grammys than all these niggas combined? You could take me out of it, but you still say, Tupac, Biggie, DMX, Mos Def, like more than all these niggas together? Somebody wrote, "Ya'll act surprised, Grammys are just like the Oscars, those awards weren't made for blacks."
As a fan, you look every year and you're like, "This isn't accurate." It's what the people sayin'. It's the truth. Let me tell you why I'm so fucked up about it. The one year that made me pissed the fuck off, I had my motherfuckin' perm done. It was in New York too, my shit's laid. I had a fly-ass suit on, I had a ring that was like a snake but it was an S. I was fly as a motherfucker. Smelling good, looking good, I'm sitting in my chair, right? The show done been on for a whole hour and a half. I was like, "Damn, when are they gonna get to the shit that I'm nominated for?" They go to commercial break. They like, during the commercial, "The winner for best rap: Queen Latifah, 'U.N.I.T.Y.'" I'm like, ain't this a bitch? This motherfucker. The award that I got nominated for ain't even on TV, and I lost? I was hot. First I was cold as a motherfucker, freezing out here. Nigga had a little ass suit, trying to be a fashion statement, nigga lost. I was hurt. That shit broke my heart. Because the niggas that was winning was bullshit awards. I had Source awards, Billlboard, I was cleaning up, I was snatching up shit. Going to award shows dressed in regular shit, khakis, hair not done, leave it natural, going just gangster'd out. But this is the night I went on some classy shit and a nigga lost. I lost all respect for that shit. That's what a nigga get for trying to be what the fuck you ain't. That's what that taught me that night. Nigga stop tryna be what you ain't. Then through my football league, that to me is my Grammy. I know I keep going on Instagram, but I gotta show you this shit, this is the best thing in the world. This shit right here, this is my Grammy right here. You see what that say? "Snoop football league, 20 kids commit to D1 colleges." And 14 of these kids was on my team that I coached personally.
That's 20 lives. They wouldn't have even dreamed of going to college.
This is my last question, purely fan shit. You and Pharrell, "That Girl", Aint' that Kadija, I heard she was a skeeza. Who's Kadija? She a hoodrat from back in the day that used to live in the hood. I know y'all thought I was talking about homegirl from Living Single. Somebody said that to me before, "What you talking about, Kadija from Living Single?" She ain't the only motherfucker with that name. There's a bitch in the hood named Lasagna.
Lead Photo: Christopher Polk / Getty Images