Snoop Dogg is one of a handful of artists who have carte blanche when it comes to drug use, if you still wanna call the green business "drugs" in the sense that heroin or crack cocaine are drugs. Keith Richards can still rep coke when he wants to, but that's now just like hearing your grandpa talk about how great Red Man chewing tobacco still tastes. At this point all Snoop needs is his massive catalog of hits from 1992 on to command sold-out concert stands and packed rooms, like the one at the House Of Blues on Friday night. Hell, he can even wait almost two hours after his opening act to take the stage. How anyone in the crowd was remotely surprised by that is astonishing. You would think stoned people wouldn't have a concept of time, let alone have it in their marshmallow-like mental state to turn a word in anger at the man. Aftermath didn't purposefully get stoned at the Snoop Dogg show. He promises he didn't puff on a pipe, suck on a joint, eat a brownie or make out with a bong. All he really he had to do to get his medicinal fix was stand at the front of house near the photo pit and take big panic breaths. A few minutes after that, he could be heard lamenting how far away Frank's Pizza was and how soft his beard can be when it wants to be.
Any anger that the crowd had built up during Snoop's hour-long delay died when the opening hums and strings of "Tha Next Episode" began. For the next hour and a half, Snoop took us through his history, zigzagging between his first album Doggystyle, latter-day collaborations and everything in between, with time in between for the requisite Tupac tribute including "Hail Mary," with the house lights turned red for effect. The scene turned orgasmic as the bass got deeper for "Gin & Juice," making even the nerdiest-looking white folk in the crowd throw up imaginary gang signs left and right with the missus on their hip. A group of aged businessmen and women straight outta the Foundation Room were traversing the crowd during "Gin" and we swore we saw at least two of their anuses unclench for the "rolling down the street smoking indo" refrain. Dudes were getting their Eddie Bauer swag on. If one were to walk straight through the crowd on the HOB's floor, you would in essence be inhaling a sort of Golden Corral of pot. Good stuff, bad stuff, strange stuff, stuff that smelled like someone had been ripped off, all wafted through the hall. Walking around during Snoop's set was like wading in a washing machine made of leather, hair product and flailing arms on the "agitate" cycle. The only real refuge was along the walls in the back of the house near the elevator, but even there the random couple would steal off to grind in front of you like a traveling mariachi band at a Mexican restaurant. Snoop's influence now goes across all party lines. To some he's still a '90s rap icon, for others he's the best friend marijuana has, and still to a very large group at the HOB Friday he made his mark on them through television and movies. Hip-hop kids may be sick of the novelty, and we can definitely understand that position, but remember he made hip-hop fun again as gangsta rap amped and gunned up in the '90s. He helped make the genre palatable for kids in the suburbs, appealing to their party senses with a universal sense of humor. He brought the culture to them in a form that they could understand, paving the way for the hard stuff. Each new generation will get the Snoop Dogg that they deserve, even if this current one may only see him as the delightful Willy Wonka of Marijuana. He will still be around for the next group who is ready to see him through the haze for the Death Row pioneer he really is. He will still be standing when his work in Soul Plane is recognized for its true genius and he will be the beloved old man in Jell-O commercials selling your children "jellizzle" because it "jigizzles."
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