After soaking in Snoop Dogg's February 22 performance at The Vogue Theatre in Indianapolis, I felt called to write an open letter to the multi-platinum hip hop icon, addressing his recent identity crisis, along with a slew of other pressing questions I found myself asking.
Walking into Indy's The Vogue Theatre Saturday night, I was truly intrigued as to what incarnation you would be performing as. A long time fan, I have always known you as Snoop Dogg, the Compton emcee famously discovered by the infamous Dr. Dre. However, in recent years, you have altered this moniker, most notably to Snoop Lion after a Jamaican High Priest spoke to you, saying, "You are the light; you are the lion," further emphasizing your belief that you are Bob Marley reincarnated.
More recently, some may also remember your plans to transform yet again into the funk-influenced Snoopzilla. Despite all of these incarnations, the promotional poster for your performance at The Vogue still read, "SNOOP DOGG A.K.A. Snoop Lion. " Much to the approval of the sold out crowd that night, you seemed to stick to this canine incarnation, performing a majority of classics from your multi-platinum hip hop career. Nevertheless, I believe it would be in your best interest to stop with the shapeshifting. Are you a canine? A feline? An oversized dinosaur? Please don't tell me you're a Transformer... I believe I speak for a majority of long-time fans when I ask you to please make up your mind.
Secondly, I was particularly perturbed by some of your song selections. You have an extensive catalogue of classics - no one is arguing that. This being said, it was bothersome that you chose to perform a few selections that you were not involved with in the slightest. While I realize the audience gets pumped hearing your karaoke-esque rendition of Notorious B.IG.'s posthumous "Hypnotize" chart-topper, the fact that you were not involved with that track at all made your antics a little out-of-place. I applaud your efforts to pay homage to hip-hop greats, but it would seem that you could simply stick to your own rhymes and still accomplish this. Oh, and don't even get me started on your version of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock N Roll" (if you don't believe me, see it for yourself in this video from last year's SXSW.)
Finally, I am not sure if you were aware of this, but Indianapolis is on Eastern Standard Time. I know you're used to Pacific Time, and that is well and good, but starting a show as late as you did Saturday night can lend itself to widespread restlessness. Several in attendance were actually booing DJ Steady B quite loudly while he hyped up the crowd prior your set, and the assumed reason for this can be tied to your late start. The situation made me flashback to another time I saw you at Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2009, and festival coordinators had to come out on the stage and apologize for you being late. Chillin' is your thing - I won't deny that. However, having a DJ booed prior to your performance would not seem to be in your best interest.
Through and through, I just hope that you can come to terms with your identity as a 42-year-old emcee living in 2014. Perhaps look back into your multi-platinum catalogue for some clarity, in songs like "Who Am I (What's My Name)?" or "The Shiznit" - maybe even console with your bud Willie Nelson on how he's retained his identity over the years. No matter what though, just know we all want the best for you, Dogg.
The great thing about Birdy’s Battle Royale is the platform it provides for brand new bands to perform in front of an audience, in a venue built to showcase professionals. Of course that also creates a real wild-card situation when one of those new bands brings tons of fans, on a night when every band put on A-level performances.