Celebrate Snoop Dogg’s 40th Birthday With His Top 10 Videos
Before Snoop Dogg made his official record debut in November 1993, with ‘Doggystyle,’ the Long Beach rapper graced the cover of that year’s September issue of Rolling Stone, along with Dr. Dre. The cover, bearing the two hip-hop artists, was unprecedented at the time but not unwarranted, since the West Coast MC’s first LP would become one of the fastest-selling hip-hop albums in history. Since then, Snoop has continued to make hits, dropping 10 additional albums, including 2011′s ‘Doggumentary,’ while establishing himself as an icon. On Snoop’s 40th birthday (Oct. 20), The BoomBox counts down his top 10 videos, from past to present.
10. ‘Wet (‘Sweat’)’
The fact that this video is certainly NSFW work makes it even more interesting that it was intended to be a tribute to Prince William. According to Snoop, the song was penned with William’s bachelor party in mind, after the rapper was commissioned by the royal family to perform at the rite of passage. Though the lyrics don’t actually mention the prince, for the video, Snoop employs an actor who resembles Kate Middleton’s husband, and after an exhaustive night of partying, the “prince” is dragged home by guards that bear striking resemblance to those usually stationed at Buckingham Palace.
Snoop clocked in a big club hit with this catchy Neptunes beat, thanks in part to features from Justin Timberlake and Charlie Wilson, who both appear alongside him in the video. The visuals, directed by Paul Hunter, were shot along the lively Las Vegas strip and in an underground boxing ring in one of the city’s casinos. You can’t help but notice that Snoop and Timberlake have great chemistry onscreen, dancing and hamming it up for the cameras, while making it all look so damn easy.
During the first few seconds of this clip, Pharrell Williams dials up Snoop Dogg to announce that a celebration is in order, due to their recent success with the hit ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot.’ To commemorate the occasion, Skateboard P jets out to the West Coast where he is welcomed with a lavish party at Snoop’s sprawling estate. What could one expect to find at the MC’s digs? How about a retractable roof, swimming pool, basketball court and even a vending machine serving up “Snoopy Snacks?” The excess of girls is a given.
Although the 2009 video for ‘Sensual Seduction’ was a bit outlandish — even by Snoop’s standards — it’s difficult to say that no one saw this coming. By the time he released his ninth album, ‘Ego Trippin,’ the rhymer had already proven his love for flashbacks to funkier eras, and he had no intention of scaling back. For this late-’70s, early-’80s montage, Snoop created a caricature of a funky R&B singer, clad in velvet and lace, sporting a jheri curl hairstyle, playing a keytar and shamelessly singing through a Vocoder.
By the time ‘Lay Low’ rolled around in 2001, Snoop had already established his penchant for suave gangster characters from eras past, but ‘Doggy Dogg World’ was the first sampling of this passion. In these visuals from his debut album, Snoop sticks to the role of an artist, performing in front of a packed club, but he’s loudly dressed in a ornate black jacket with orange fur trim, leather gloves and some serious headwear. This was the birth of Snoop Dogg the gangster, one who can always rock a party.
For these visuals, Snoop took Nate Dogg, Butch Cassidy and Master P along on a time warp to the roaring ’20s, where each rapper gets the chance to play the role of a well-suited gangster. In the 1920s, the lyricist finds himself in a setting where it actually seems natural for him to be decked out in all-white, fur-trimmed suits with perfectly coiffed hair. All of the action here is set in a live music club, as most of Snoop’s videos involve an element of partying.
If there were a category for best “destination” hip-hop videos, 2003′s ‘Beautiful’ would place high on that list, thanks to the colorful background of Rio De Janeiro. Snoop, Pharrell and director Chris Robinson flew to Brazil, where they recruited local girls to appear in the clip, with one especially lucky gal getting serenaded by Pharrell. The scenery jumps from the beach to sweeping views of the cityscape to the closing poolside party, where a memorable dance breakdown wraps things up.
Both the song and video for 2004′s ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ were important markers of Snoop’s evolution from his debut in the ’90s G-Funk era. The song soared to No. 1 on the charts, earned him Grammy nods and the visuals were up for Video of the Year on MTV. To do justice to the song’s amazingly stripped down Neptunes beat — mostly drums and tongue clicks — director Paul Hunter shot on black-and-white film, aiming for a throwback ’60s-era Sinatra feel. Combined with Snoop and Pharrell’s pick of decadent cars and boats, it was a visual feast.
On his ’93 debut album ‘Doggystyle,’ Snoop introduced the legend that would eventually become known as ‘Tha Doggfather.’ In one of the opening scenes for his ‘Who Am I?’ video, the Long Beach rapper suddenly transforms into a dog to escape from a tight situation. The humorous storyline follows Snoop and his friends as they all shape-shift when convenient, stirring up trouble in the neighborhood and then ending a day of antics with a full-blown party.
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that Tanqueray saw a spike in sales after this video was released in 1994. Besides branding gin and juice as his drink of choice, Snoop also painted a vivid picture of the festive activities — parties, parties, parties — that usually accompanied a gin and juice kind of night. Plastic cups and a parking lot full of friends were sufficient enough for a good time, but a late night house party is always inevitable with this Cali native.