Snoop Lion at Ultra Music Festival 2013
Over the summer, Snoop Dogg (born Calvin Broadus) announced he was tired of rap. Even more bizarre, the superstar — best known for hits such as "Drop It Like It's Hot" and "Gin & Juice" — revealed he'd change his name and go in a new artistic direction: reggae. Turns out he had experienced a spiritual awakening on a recent trip to Jamaica, which led the artist to describe himself as "Bob Marley reincarnated," discover his "third eye," and become a Rastafarian who'd henceforth be known as Snoop Lion.
The rap legend has always been enterprising, from his product endorsements to his cameos. And while some of his career choices have seemed slightly ridiculous, they've at least sort of jibed with Snoop's moniker and image. Is he really leaving behind his chilled-out thug-and-pimp life for that of a Rasta?
The forthcoming reggae album Reincarnated proves this ain't no joke. It really seems Snoop is as serious about Jah as the porn movie he made 12 years ago.
Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle. Drawing on the inevitable comparisons between his name and everyone's favorite sexual position, Snoop made a XXX flick in 2001 titled Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle. The video was distributed by Hustler, won the 2002 Adult Video News Awards for Best Music and Top Selling Tape of 2001, and began a whole trend of rappers making porn videos. See (or maybe don't see): G-Unit's Groupie Love, Mystikal's Liquid City, and Treach's Sex and the Studio.
Doggy Fizzle Televizzle. In the early part of the 21st Century, Snoop had everyone speaking his language. Adding -izzle to the end of every other word made you cool, and no one was quicker to jump on the trend than MTV. So in 2002, the Dogg secured his own show, Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, in which he performed comedy sketches and shot the shit with special guests. The first and only season ran eight episodes; the second season was purportedly canceled because Snoop wanted a hefty $1 million from the network to star in it. Fun fact: Some of the sketches were actually funny.
The Doggfather of Pot. When Snoop announced he was giving up marijuana in 2002, hardly anyone held their breath. Pot had been a major part of Snoop's image, and the star was an outspoken supporter of legalization. So when Snoop was found, joint in hand, like a minute later, no one was particularly surprised.
Chronic Candy. Remember in 2004 when Snoop became the pitchman for Chronic Candy, a sugary marijuana-themed treat marketed with the tag line "Every lick is like taking a hit"? (Sadly, these sweets don't contain any THC.) This candy that tastes like pot is banned in Switzerland and some U.S. cities. Nevertheless, in light of Snoop's vocal support of marijuana, the endorsement makes total sense. Unlike that time when Lil Wayne was all about Strapped Condoms. Or say, Jay-Z's recent love affair with Duracell Powermat.
Snoop Doggs. It was only a matter of time before Snoop decided to get into the footlong hot-dog biz. Manufactured in Massachusetts, these wieners were set to hit grocery stores in the fall of 2005. But, uh, does anyone actually remember grabbing a pack of Snoop Doggs at Winn-Dixie? Oh well, it's pretty hard to find footlong hot-dog buns at the grocery store anyway. Just saying.
AOL Pitchman. You're forgiven if you've forgotten Snoop Dogg's legendary teamup with the guy who played George Costanza's dad, Jerry Stiller. No, not in a film, but in an ad for AOL 9.0. Wait just one minizzle!
Big Pimpin'. In a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone, Snoop claimed he was a real professional pimp in 2003 and 2004. He didn't just rap about it. "That shit was my natural calling," the rapper insisted, "and once I got involved with it, it became fun." Eventually, though, Snoop quit pimping to focus more on family and music because, shockingly, the successful pimping business was destroying his marriage.
A Smokable Songbook. Last year, Snoop became an author. Kind of. OK, not really. Rolling Words: A Smokable Songbook was his foray into the written word. Each booklet contained 32 of Snoop's Kingsize Slim rolling papers inscribed with the lyrics to some of his classic songs. Adweek even called the design "innovative."
So yeah, from porn to footlong hot dogs and real-life pimping, a long look back at the most bizarre highlights of Snoop's career makes the whole Rasta name-change thing look sort of tame, huh? In fact, Snoop Lion is kind of cute. And it's certainly better than changing your name to an unpronounceable sign or something.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.