“Man let's give Houston something to smile about!”
Snoop walked across the stage, golden mike in his hand, wearing a white shirt with the words “UNITY” underneath a crip and a blood dapping each other. Flanked by dancers and Tha Dogg Pound, Snoop crip walked across the stage, stopping occasionally to take a pull of the blunt in his hand. Lil Duval's “Smile Bitch” blasted through the speakers as Snoop sang along with the audience. Pharrell's falsetto voice cut through the room and “Beautiful” got the crowd on their feet.
“Put some church on it! If it feels good to you it must be good for you!” he laughed as a dog mascot bounced around in the background.
It’s been 25 years since Calvin Broadus, Jr. released his genre defining debut Doggystyle and exposed the world to his G-Funk sound and signature laid back, lyrical flow. In that two and a half decades the rapper, better known as Snoop Dogg, has had a career trajectory that couldn’t have possibly been predicted back in 1993. Back when Bill Clinton was first elected president, Broadus was a gifted lyricist, plucked out of obscurity by a young Dr. Dre, and facing a murder charge that almost derailed his career. Times have changed as Snoop has gone from controversial rapper to multi-brand ambassador. Now the MC is an entertainment mogul who co-hosts a dinner party talk show with Martha Stewart, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, runs multiple businesses, appears in films, and still continues to create music. He’s released multiple rap albums but has also dabbled in R&B, Reggae, and most recently put out a Gospel album.
It’s the music that brought the Long Beach, California rapper to the Smart Financial Center in Sugar Land Thursday night. Snoop Dogg’s “Puff Puff Pass Tour” not only brought the West Coast MC to Fort Bend County, but also Hip-Hop staples Tha Dogg Pound and super producer Warren G. Snoop and crew are veterans and their 20 years worth of music gave them plenty to pick from when performing.
“Houston, I have a question for y'all. Which one of y'all has Snoop on their bucket list?” he asked while a string of West Coast hits played in the background.
“Do you want to hang out with me? Nah. Do you want to drink with me? Nah. Do you want to smoke with me?” Snoop paused and blew a cloud of smoke at the audience as the intro from “Gin & Juice” played to cheers.
The show is high energy, with Snoop dancing to hits alongside the audience as he took them down memory lane. Even though it was his show the openers seemed just as much a part of the action as Snoop.
Kurrupt, draped in a black leather jacket embroidered with “Doggystyle 25”, sat on the front of the stage as the beat for Xxxplosive drops making the crowd roar in anticipation for his verse.
The length and timespan of their catalogs is reflected in the audience. People of all ages threw their hands up as they tried to hide puffs of smoke in the massive theater. A guy, looking like he worked in IT in button down shirt and dress pants, lifted a tall Modelo in the air and screamed “cause I'm high!” in response to Warren G cuing up cuts from the 213 album.
The amount of hits at Snoop's disposal eventually had him standing center stage leading the auditorium in his own version of karaoke.
Preshow the DJ played top radio hits but when a West Coast classic came on the crowd sings in unison. Families sat together and rapped along with “Forgot About Dre.” The whole theater belted out “Eaaaaast Siiiiide Hoooootel” with the late Nate Dogg at the end of “Regulators.”
Snoop also paid homage to Houston with a surprise opener. The crowd was slow to warm up but then Trae tha Truth walked out on stage and his baritone voice barreled through the room.
“I just came here for my Uncle Snoop. They just called me out here to run through a few hits and welcome my unc to Houston,” yelled the ABN leader as he proceeded to run through a classic H Town playlist to the delight of the crowd.
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“I don't know what part of town you from but everyone in here representing the H. This family.”
Snoop treated the Houston crowd like family, at one point stopping his show to greet Houston DJ Mean Green.
“This is a legend and we're giving you your flowers while you're here.”
Based on last night's performance, any fan of Snoop should look forward to more Puff, Puff, Pass tour dates.