at the Ventura Theater
By Bennett Cornell 12/13/2012
Lights fade and tensions rise as a flood of blue light fills the room. The kick drum pumps away, the bassline swings into the groove, and anticipation builds as the crowd chants, “Snoop Doggy Dogg!” But this is not the timeless hip-hop classic “Who Am I (What’s My Name)” that paved the way for Snoop’s career. This is George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog,” and it marks the beginning of a 45-minute wait for the Dogg himself to appear on stage.
Snoop Dogg, who has sold more than 30 million albums since his first appearance on the theme song from the 1992 film Deep Cover alongside Dr. Dre, has released three albums in the last five years, with a fourth one on the way, and has recently been reborn through the Rastafarian faith as Snoop Lion. From the enormous red-, green- and yellow-hued backdrop emblazoned with the smiling face of an apparently “medicated” Snoop to the hemp beanie keeping his dreadlocks at bay, this transformation was quite evident throughout his performance at the Ventura Theater on Sunday.
Despite this relatively fresh aspect of Snoop’s image, his performance is still everything you would expect a Snoop Dogg show to be: joints being passed around on stage (and in the audience), disparaging remarks about law enforcement, white teenagers and a barrage of G-funk pumping up the crowd. Snoop did, however, play a few of his more recent hits, including “California Girls” by Katy Perry. Fallen hip-hop heroes Nate Dogg and 2Pac were honored through their respective duets “Ain’t No Fun” and “Nuthin but a Gangsta Party,” the audience screaming the lyrics all the way through.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper hip-hop show without strippers, and there were strippers aplenty, keeping the show freaky and Snoop happy. After a pounding delivery of “Who Am I,” Snoop asked the crowd to participate in a 15-minute version of his more recent song with Wiz Khalifa, “Young, Wild and Free.” Accompanied by a c-walking dog mascot with an enormous fake joint, Snoop repeated the chorus about 40 times, keeping the volume low in compliance with a request from police officers, before yelling, “If you don’t give a fuck about the police, sing this shit!” and breaking into the actual song, at easily twice the volume of the rest of his set.
All in all, it was a great show — entertaining all the way through — with a tight performance by everyone. Though I would never pay the outrageous sum of $350 for a meet and greet with Snoop and a place to stand in front, I would attend again. Snoop’s still got it goin’ on and he kept it goin’ on and on till the break of dawn . . . well, almost.