Rap icon Snoop Dogg’s gregarious personality has made him one of the more beloved characters in pop culture for three decades and counting. Beyond wowing listeners with his lyrical prowess and dominating the charts with a succession of timeless hits, Tha Doggfather has tapped into various industries, as his iron-clad brand has been sought after for partnerships with a number of corporations and companies throughout his career. Among his latest endeavors is his recent acquisition of Death Row Records, the label he helped bring to prominence while minting himself as one of the biggest breakout stars in rap history. Having previously signed on to be an Executive Creative and Strategic Consultant for the storied Def Jam Records, it’s clear that Snoop has evolved from a mere pitchman into a bonafide boss and has taken his game from the booth to the boardroom.
Yet, while he’s been focusing more on the business aspect of things as of late, being as calm, cool, and collected as he is, Snoop continues to attach himself to projects that coincide with his personal past-times, one being his love for video games. The multi-hyphenate recently struck a partnership with gaming company Activision to give fans the option to play as Snoop in Call of Duty Mobile, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Call of Duty: Vanguard. In April, the franchise unveiled the Snoop Dogg Operator Bundle, which includes ten items – three of which are exclusive to Call of Duty: Vanguard – and a full Operator progression track.
Snoop, who was previously included as an optional announcer in Call of Duty: Ghosts DLC, has also made waves with his plunge into the cryptocurrency world, partnering with Sandbox to build his own virtual world, and even filming the music video for his latest single, “House I Built,” in the metaverse. His involvement with so many moving parts continues to keep the 50-year-old on his toes, as he shows no desires of resting on his laurels anytime soon.
Snoop spoke with VIBE about his relationship and history with the Call of Duty franchise, blazing a trail for Hip-Hop within the metaverse, and his mission to rebuild Death Row Records from the ground up.
You recently partnered with Activision to launch the Tracer Pack: Snoop Dogg Operator Bundle, which will allow gamers to play as Snoop Dogg in Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Warzone. How did the opportunity to work with Activision come about?
My family and friends all play Call of Duty, so I always stay up to date with what the game is doing and how they doing. When the opportunity came across my table, it was an easy call. I wanted all my people to see me in the game they play and love everyday.
Previously, you helped develop a voice pack for Call of Duty: Ghosts a few years back, which means you’re already familiar with the COD franchise. When did you first discover Call of Duty and how did your love for the series develop?
I’ve been a gamer my entire life, so I’m always familiar with what is happening in this world. Walk around my compound and you just might see a tv on somewhere with someone playing COD. On console or phone. Everybody messes with it. You get an appreciation for something when the people closest to you love something, so you start to play it a lot yourself.
The Snoop Dogg Operator Bundle comes equipped with your own signature voice lines, as well as a progression path. How involved were you in the actual design and components of the bundle?
I was involved with it all. My team showed me the creative from day 1 and we all saw it through until launch. I have a say it in everything I do. The best part was doing the motion capture session, so I really got to understand what they’re trying to accomplish.
Appearing in countless video games over the years, in various aspects, would you consider yourself a gamer? And if so, what would you say is on your Mt. Rushmore, as far as games you’ve played throughout your life?
I’m a gamer. That’s why they put me in them. Authenticity, ya digg. I take everything with me on the road, so I can play in hotels too. My top 2 off top.. Call of Duty and Madden. Gaming wouldn’t be where it’s at without these two. Easy. Then GTA and FIFA.
Hip-Hop’s relationship with the gaming world dates back decades and has only grown over the years. How would you describe the love affair between Hip-Hop and the gaming industry and how it feels to see that connection continue with partnerships like the one between you and Activision?
Hip-hop used to be on top of the world in gaming with the old Def Jam [fighting themed] game. We slowed down for a bit, but our people are back on the rise again. These young artists grew up on games and the internet, so it’s in their blood.
Can we expect any more appearances from Snoop Dogg in the Call of Duty franchise moving forward?
You got to wait and see. Everyone loves surprises.
You’ve also made a big splash in the metaverse after entering that arena. What drew you to that world and made you want to get involved?
I’m always trying to innovate. When you keep your mind open to new ideas every year, this is when good opportunities come. I didn’t understand it at first, but once you get it, there’s no turning back.
How would you describe the metaverse and how it works to someone who’s unfamiliar?
The word metaverse is just a fancy word for virtual world. But it’s built on the blockchain. You can be a part of whatever community you want in this space.
You recently released the music video for your song “House I Built,” which was filmed in the metaverse. As one of the first rap artists to merge those two worlds, what was that moment like and how would you describe the actual experience of making the video?
That was dope. Like I said, I’m always a part of the creative process in whatever I do, so seeing things be built from the idea to execution is what I love to see. I put trust in my team to do a lot of the ground work, so big ups to them for what they did on that video too.
What plans do you have to further infiltrate the metaverse moving forward?
I can’t spoil any surprises. But we want to flip the entire industry on its head and make major noise.
On the musical front, you recently acquired Death Row Records, your first home as an artist. What are some of the moves you’ve made since taking ownership of the label and what can we expect from the brand moving forward?
For the first time ever in my career, I’ve now allowed my fans to monetize off my work instead of me always just taking from them. We work with all kinds of artists from all over the world. From underground, to massive projects with the biggest names coming this year. We want to create a blueprint for things that have never been done before.
What’s next for Snoop Dogg, as far as entertainment, business, or otherwise?
I want to pave the way not only for my children and grandchildren, but for all the other kids out there who want to chase their dreams. Chase happiness above all else.