Eric Spitznagel: You’re starring in a new reality show for E! about your life as a family man and father. Are you going to be the next Bill Cosby?
Snoop Dogg: Nope.
How about Dr. Huxtable?
Nope. Not even close.
Do you consider yourself a good role model?
When I need to be, sure. But who wants to be a role model? Who asks for that position? And once you get there, you gotta do what you gotta do to hold on to it. I think I do a good job of it. A lot of times I’m misrepresented. But for the most part, kids and the people who look to me are influenced by me and inspired by me in positive ways.
Who were your role models as a kid?
Magic Johnson, Richard Pryor, Rudy Ray Moore. I was drawn to the black guys that were stars and were either doing it good at sports or doing it big in the movie world.
Anybody inspire you in your personal life?
Not really, no. It was all on the outside, you know what I mean? Seeing these big stars on TV was inspiring to me. But as far as the people in the community or neighborhood, that really didn’t move me too much because it was regular. Even if they were doing good, it was just seeing regular people doing the same old regular things.
You’re the founder and coach of the Snoop Youth Football League. When you call a play, do you use a lot of “izzles” and “izzos”?
Naaaw. It’s all football terminology. I try to get these kids ready for the next level. After little league football there’s high school football and college football and after that maybe the NFL. So I try to give them a step up by introducing them to real NFL terminology at an early age. That way, when they get to that next level, they’re ready. They know what they’re saying.
How did you learn about football?
I was surrounded by the game as a kid, and I got a lot of homies that are in the NFL right now. I played with them as kids, and sometimes played against them. So football is in my blood.
Do you foresee a future in which all hip-hop feuds are settled with a friendly game of touch football?
Probably not. That’s just wishful thinking.
As a dog lover and patriarch of the Dogg Pound, what do you think about Michael Vick?
What they did to Vick pissed me off. I have pit bulls and they’re great dogs, but to see Vick become the face of dog fighting and animal cruelty is just stupid and hypocritical. If you’re hunting, if you’re shooting deers, cutting up cows and cutting chickens and raising pigs and cutting ‘em up and killing ‘em, that’s the same shit to me as dog fighting. You understand what I’m saying? In certain parts of the world, dog fighting is permissible and even cherished. The way they treated him, you would think Michael Vick created dog fighting.
What about criticism that black people supported Vick only because he’s black?
Well, that’s just black people. We always got to support our people when we fall. It gets so crazy that sometimes it seems like they build us up to fall. It’s just sad because there’s so much shit going on with the war over in Iraq. We losing humans every fucking day. And to me, dog-fighting is more of a distraction from stopping that war.
Speaking of dogs, your mother gave you the nickname Snoop because you reminded her of the “Peanuts” comic-strip dog Snoopy. What personality traits do you and the original Snoop have in common?
We so cool. You know what I mean? Snoop was the coolest dog. He may’ve hung out with Charlie Brown and the Peanuts, but he was the coolest. The coolest dog you ever wanna meet. He knows what’s up. I’ve always been like him, sitting on the roof with my little yellow Woodstock.
And Snoopy, not unlike you, also enjoys his bone.
That’s right. Give a dog a bone.
Before you became a hip hop superstar, you worked as a bag boy at a grocery store in Long Beach. What was your bagging technique?
Put the shit in the bag.
So you weren’t one of those baggers who prided himself in being super fast or strategic in his grocery placement?
Naaaw, I wasn’t trying to make a profession of that shit. It wasn’t my dream to be the baddest bag boy in the world. It was a cool way to get a check and I was trying to do the right thing, trying to stay away from selling drugs. It worked for a minute and then the other side pulled in.
Can rapping be taught or do you need to be born with the skill?
It can be taught, but it depends on how much of a student you are. If you study hard, you can become anything you wanna be. But it’s better if it’s born in you so it’s a natural ability.
Did you have to practice your rapping as a kid or did it come naturally to you?
I had to work on it in the beginning, but it was still easy. It was never like homework or lifting weights or something like that. It was always something that was in my reach that I knew I could do if I just put my mind to it.
In your autobiography, The Doggfather: The Times, Trials and Hardcore Truths of Snoop Dogg, you claimed that you grew up wanting your life “to be like one of those action movie previews we saw down at the multiplex.” If your cleaned-up life today was a movie, what would it be?
Probably The Mack.
The Mack. About that pimp Max Julien.
How is a movie about a pimp similar to your life?
He gets a second chance to do what’s right, to get out of prison and try it all over again.
And he becomes… a pimp.
Yeah, but that’s something that just fell into his lap. He didn’t go looking to do that. He did it to the best of his ability, and it ended up costing him everything. He gets another chance and he has to decide what does he do after that. And that’s where I am with my career. What do I do after this?
That’s a good question. What do you do next? You’ve been a rapper, actor, comedian, and novelist. What’s left?
Game show host.
Okay, we’ll bite. What would you call your game show?
Let’s Break a Bitch. (In a smarmy game show voice.) “Welcome everybody to Let’s Break a Bitch! I’m your host, Snoop Dogg. Our first contestant is Melanie from Seaport, California. She’s 5’10”, 175, double-D breasts, 27 inch waist, and she’s aiming to be… broke.”
So you win the game by getting broken?
Seems like you’ve given this some thought.
It’s all good. I keep a lot of ideas on the tip of my tongue.
Okay, we’re going to admit it. We have no clue what a “G” Thang is supposed to be. Please help us out here. Is it code for something, and why ain’t there nothin’ like it?
It’s a term of knowledge. It’s like a feeling. It’s not even a word. I can’t just walk down the street and point to it and say, “That’s what it is. That’s a G Thang right over there.” When you’re feeling it, you’re like, “Heeey, that’s a G. Awww shit.”
You shot a scene for the made-for-TV movie, It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas. Who’s your favorite Muppet and why?
Miss Piggy. Because I love pork. (Laughs.) She got so much flavor.
Y’know, she’d be a great contestant for Let’s Break a Bitch.
For real! She’d be running down the aisle with strings and shit connected to her.
Your scene in the Muppet Christmas movie was cut. What happened?
I guess NBC or whatever didn’t think I was the right guy. But they got the footage so it’s on them to do something with it. I got no control over that. It was real good, too. Kermit and I were chillin’, and Piggy popped up. It was some good shit.
Do you think you’ll ever work with muppets again?
Already did. They didn’t want me on the Muppets so I made my own called the Fuckets. It’s a bunch of muppet characters based on me and a few of my friends, and we’re doing spoofs and rated R shit. We’re muppets that cuss. Since they wanna label me like that anyway, I just went ahead and did the same shit they’d expect. Fuck it. It’s gonna be in my movie, “The Adventures of the Blue Carpet Treatment,” which is coming out in December.
That’s the animated version of your latest album, right? Please tell us it won’t be anything like the god-awful MC Hammer cartoon.
Oh no, this shit is Snoop Dogg. It’s all cool. Kids need to get their parents permission before viewing this. It’s what you hear me doing on records, but you’re gonna be able to see it. And it’s not clean.
When you’re doing a movie, you have a trailer on the set called the Snoop Room. What goes on in there?
Can’t say. It’s like Las Vegas. What happens in that room stays in that room. It is what it is.
As somebody who has made it abundantly clear that his mind is on his money and his money is on his mind, could you give us a few investment tips?
Don’t loan money to your family and friends when you first get it. Keep it in your pocket, or invest in things that could become a productive, lucrative move as far as doubling up. You wanna invest in something’s that gonna make as opposed to something that’s gonna lose.
If you could pick just one lyric to sum up your career, what would it be?
One lyric or one word?
(Long pause.) Snooperstition.
As in superstition?
Yeah. Except it’s Snooperstition.
Why does that word sum you up?
Because everything about being superstitious is Snoop Dogg. You know what I’m saying?
We really don’t, no.
(This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in the November 2007 issue of Maxim magazine.)