Seeing this concert was like watching the Golden State Warriors play this season after they acquired Kevin Durant. The show probably would have been just as big with Snoop Dogg alone. Then, they went ahead and let Cypress Hill open for him. Add Method Man and Redman into the mix? Jesus. This tour was an event. Let’s talk about this line-up.
Meth & Red are a force to be reckoned with. They are the archetypal superduo. Classic records left and right (Tical, Whut? Thee Album, Muddy Waters, countless others), and a staying power that only a Shaolin griot and Jersey’s funk doctor could muster. I could write ten more paragraphs just about Method Man, but sadly due to legal issues, he could not get across the border.
That left Redman to open the show up alone – and I’ll admit it, I was a little shocked at the energy he brought. The guy’s been rocking parties since 1990 when he was a hype man for EPMD. He’s Eminem’s favourite rapper, too – not exactly a fresh face. But when the beat for ‘Time 4 Sum Aksion’ dropped, you’d swear it was October 6th, 1992.
Probably to compensate for Meth’s absence, Reggie was going insane. The lights were glaring blue and green. He brought a posse onstage with him, blasting ‘I’ll Bee Dat!’ and getting a call-and-response of the chorus going with the audience. He let things simmer down for a second with ‘Tonight’s da Night’ before pausing to tell a story about a friend mentioning that they’d need weed for this leg of the tour. “What do we need weed for,” he replied, “we’re going to Vancouver!” The crowd went nuts.
Cypress Hill brought the heat as well. The group is renowned for being the first Latino hip-hop group to go platinum, but younger fans might recognise them as a massive influence on modern artists Danny Brown, Eminem and Rage Against the Machine. They’ve still got it.
The first song was ‘I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That,’ followed by ‘I Want To Get High.’ Unsurprisingly, when House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ (prod. Cypress Hill) popped off, the crowd completely lost it. I thought the place was at peak energy, but somehow at the end, their DJ stole the show by cutting and scratching like his life depended on it.
Snoop Dogg, who shouldn’t even need an introduction, is one of the founding fathers of the gangster rap genre. His flow is arguably the greatest ever. ‘Tha Shiznit’ was Biggie Smalls’ favourite song – how many rappers have an accomplishment like that that under their belt? He’s currently coasting on the controversy from his music video for ‘Lavender,’ a collaboration with Canada’s own BADBADNOTGOOD and KAYTRANADA, which was blasting as I waited in line for my ticket.
With a catalogue as big as Snoop’s, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would he play his most radio friendly songs? Would we get some rarer tracks from his newer projects?
Snoop walked out in a Canuck’s jersey, gave Vancouver a shout out, and dove right into his set. Almost right off the bat, he performed what I wanted to hear live more than anything else: ‘Still D.R.E.’ In my humble opinion, ‘Still D.R.E.’ is a top five rap song. It’s the mission statement for west coast hip-hop. Easily Dr. Dre’s finest production, bolstered by an unforgettable Snoop hook that showcases the most iconic one-two combo in hip-hop history.
Then, mid-song, Snoop shifted gears into another Dre-produced hip-hop classic, ‘The Next Episode.’ The intro sample alone had the crowd moving, followed by a killer verse from Snoop.
As a purple and green vapour cloud flowed from the stage, Snoop Doggy Dogg jumped into 2007’s ‘Sensual Seduction,’ which then led into his hit Katy Perry collaboration ‘California Girls.’
A few crowd pleasers later, his cousin the great late Nate Dogg’s face was blown up on the backdrop eliciting massive cheers from the audience. Nate Dogg, an incredibly talented hook man (‘Shake That,’ ‘Bitch Please II’), came alive again when Snoop performed ‘Ain’t No Fun,’ another personal favourite from his debut album Doggystyle.
Two surprise shout-outs to Biggie Smalls and Tupac had Snoop covering some of their biggest hits. Visuals were great too, 3D dancing girls, a souped-up Impala, Snoop’s logo. Following an interlude of one of his Snoop Lion songs, ‘Here Comes The King,’ he played a slew of tracks from Doggystyle. ‘Gin and Juice,’ ‘What’s My Name?,’ ‘Pump Pump,’ everyone in the stands was dancing – and I’m positive I will never see that many joints being lit at once again.
Once again, everyone was dancing when the earth-shattering ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ came on. To close out the concert, Snoop performed ‘Young, Wild & Free,’ a collaboration with Bruno Mars and Wiz Khalifa that has become one of his most enduring singles. One of those songs where every single person in the audience can sing the hook.
Like I said earlier, this tour was an event. The thought of someone not moving to this music is simply ridiculous. If you love this kind of music, seeing even one of these living legends live is something you’ll be able to brag about for years. This was history, centre stage.