Despite the blazing 85-degree heat on California’s Catalina Island, Snoop Dogg is singing a Christmas song. Surrounded by his eight-person entourage in a smoky, weed-stenched room, the veteran rapper, clad in a fitted maroon sweat suit with a fuzzy green tree (maybe a reference to his latest LP Bush), just wrapped his set at Bud Light’s Whatever, USA and is puff-puff-passing to cool down.
Snoop is telling his crew about a girl who sang “Here Comes Santa Claus” to him as a reference to his Pitch Perfect 2 cameo, where the Long Beach rep records a Christmas album in the studio Beca (played by Anna Kendrick) is interning for.
“A little girl came up to me singing what I sung in Pitch Perfect 2. (Sings) Here comes Santa Claus, some Christmas bullsh-t. La la la la la,” he jokes before seeking approval from his crew. “I did have my sh-t together though. Wasn’t I singing all the right notes and the right tones? No auto-tune. No T-Pain (Laughs).”
After taking a hit from a blunt, the Doggfather then rambles on about a $50,000 offer he received from “the homie” to dash in “The Running of the Bulls” ceremony in Spain, with a GoPro strapped to his body. “I’m like, ‘N—a, you out your motherf–kin’ mind? Talkin’ bout people would love to see this kind of sh-t.”
Truth is, people just love seeing Snoop. Before taking the stage at Whatever, USA (Bud Light’s annual party town takeover), he gleefully rode a bike, giving out hot dogs (more appropriately called Snoop Dogs) and causing a frenzy on the island.
VIBE: In the spirit of being #UpForWhatever, what was the last thing you did on a whim?
Snoop Dogg: Damn, my whole life is spontaneous. It ain’t much I don’t do on the spur of the moment. I did a dab for the first time [Ed. Note: A dab is a concentrated form of marijuana, a.k.a. hash oil, that is said to be potent after smoking “a little dab” of it]. Motherf–kers probably think I do that, but I don’t. But I did that dab and that motherf–ker is still in my chest right now. About two months ago, [Tha Eastsidaz rapper] Goldie Loc and four Mexicans came to my room and they cornered me and made me take it. Hey snoop, just hit it, homes. It’s a dab, ey.
Would you ever do it again?
Never. F–k that sh-t. I like weed.
Let’s talk about your album, Bush. You let Pharrell take the wheel this go-round but what came first: the decision to have this overall funky R&B sound or choosing Pharrell to produce it?
It was a culmination of both. We had kept seeing each other, floating around, having success outside of working with each other and we just kept saying that we had a lot of unfinished business. We wanted to do something that was more about us doing it on our own. Not that nobody has ever told us to work together but we wanted to really go in and make a whole album that we could say, ‘Look, I wanna get with you. You wanna get with me. What you think I should be doing? What sound do you think we should be on?’ And we just agreed to disagree to do it like that. [I] let him take the driver’s wheel because he’s a producer. I didn’t want to be the rapper and the co-producer. I wanted to be the rapper and be produced.
Or the singer, in this case. What made you say, ‘I’m gonna sing my heart out’ this album?
[Pharrell] directed me in that angle. He was like, ‘You know what, on this album, we should do this,’ because in the beginning, I was like, ‘I know you’re gonna give me hard-ass rap songs’ and he was like, ‘Okay, give me another day.’ Another day never came so it was like, ‘Alright, f–k it. This is what he want me on.’ I stopped asking and I just fell into what he was giving me. I just started picking and choosing songs that was more challenging for me as as a vocalist as opposed to easy for me as a rapper.
In hindsight, was there a track that didn’t make the final cut that you wish you could’ve added?
It was one song that didn’t make it but [Pharrell] didn’t produce it so not that that was the reason it didn’t make it. It was just one song that we thought was good enough to make the record, but it didn’t.
Who produced the song?
What was the vibe on that?
It was called “Wintertime in June.” It was a song with Nate Dogg on the hook and the bridge. I could never write to it. I had it for about a year before I tried to do something to it because every time I would try to write, I would get emotional and cry, and couldn’t finish it ‘cause the way he was singing on it, the sh-t he was saying. So I ended up giving it to a writer to write it for me and he wrote the sh-t out of it and he sounded good. It felt good and Pharrell loved it. It’s just the producer didn’t like the way the mix sounded because when I had did it, I did it on a two-track and then he ended up separating it. And when he separated it, it didn’t feel like it felt on the two-track.
Do you think we’re ever gonna hear that record?
I hope we do. That sh-t is deep. It’s dope.
It sounds like a good one. The features seemed tailor-made for the album, as well. You got Tip on there, Gwen Stefani, Stevie Wonder, among others. Was that a result of both you and Pharrell brainstorming?
It’s about who sounds best on this record to complement it and we never go in thinking that I’ma leave a verse off [a song] so I could have somebody on it. We usually do the song and once the song is done, then we say ‘Damn, it would sure sound good if we could get [so and so]. I got his number or either [Pharrell] got his number or he’ll say, ‘You know what? I’ma see what it sounds like. I’ma shoot the track to Ross,’ and I’ll say, ‘Okay, I’ll shoot it to Kendrick [Lamar]’ and then they’re both on the record … It was about what felt right and everybody that’s on the record, it’s either fun, they’re family or they feelin’ good.
Are there any young-uns besides Kendrick that you’re really feelin’ right now?
Sh-t, I like all that new sh-t. I like the Migos, Drake, Future, the “Flicka Da Wrist” [Chedda Da Connect], Fetty Wap, the “I ain’t got no type” boys [Rae Sremmurd]. I like all that hot sh-t, that bounce. I f–k with all that sh-t. I lightweight DJ so I get a chance to see how the music really affects people and I love the vibe. It’s a young man’s game so it’s definitely their music and their style, and as an old rapper, I could definitely appreciate that they doing they sh-t and it feel good.
Aside from music, is there any chance we could see you coaching football at a higher level beyond the Snoop Youth Foundation League?
I don’t know. I was up with my team today. This is the third batch of kids that I coached that will be making their way to high school so sometimes I feel like I don’t want to coach in my league no more. I’d rather go to a high school and be a coach for when they get out of my league. Then I be feeling like I want to be part of a college staff ‘cause I think that I know enough but then at the same time, it’s like ‘Do I have the time to do that and really dedicate myself to that?’ As much as I love [coaching], I would really have to dedicate my all to it. When I do the football with my league and my kids, I give my all into it. Even if I don’t coach with my all, I give my all in making sure that the whole league is successful.
You’re the coach, but what do the kids teach you?
The kids teach me how to be young, how to be fun, how to be fly. I look at them for how to be ‘cause young is always cool and young is the future. You could learn a lot from the youth if you just pay attention and I’m always paying attention.
Watch Snoop Dogg’s full set at Whatever, USA in Catalina Island below.