West Coast Hip Hop Royalty In The House, It’s The One And Only D O Double G
Words and Photos John Hayhurst
It has taken a while but we eventually have Snoop Dogg in our sights on this Monday night in Leeds, a serious problem with the ticketmaster printed tickets and newer arena barcode scanners mean that the queue around the block for several hundred punters is not going to put them in the expected laid back mood.
They all need new tickets printing at the box office before they can enter the hallowed space and enjoy the West Coast Hip Hop Master at work. They have probably all missed the Irish rappers Versatile who brought a slightly angry edge to the proceedings, constantly prowling up and down the stage to get reactions from the audience and a far too early call and response which fell on largely deaf ears.
Now we are knee deep into D12 celebrating Swifty McVay’s birthday. The remaining 2 members Swifty and Kuniva do their level best to replicate the six part rap collective works. They do this with plenty of humour and at one point have a race between 2 sides of the arena using 2 huge balls (pun intended) and DJ Invisible on the decks could be clearly seen wearing a Leeds United shirt.
Whether it was ‘Purple Pills’ or ‘My Band’ there was clearly a missing person tonight in the shape of Eminem, of course he would not be here, that would be ridiculous, but it was more D2 than twelve tonight because of that absence.
It is 9:30pm we are already half an hour late, maybe because of the ticket scanning issue, or possibly down to Snoop’s usual lethargic stance on when he is ready to take to the stage. Even the jokey video at the start he questions “Is it time yet?” and then he can’t decide whether to wear the Blue or Black bandana printed boiler suit. He emerges from the right hand side of the stage wearing the Blue and smoking a nice fat joint which he gleefully puffs on throughout, taunting the security as if to say “Smoking ban What Smoking ban?”.
At the same time we have 4 exotic dancing girls on poles gyrating and contorting their bodies along to Dr Dre’s ‘The Next Episode’. Snoop has a gold microphone in the other hand and with his dreadlocks swaying he becomes the one and only D O Double G. At 51 though he isn’t angrily pointing and racing around (did he ever really?), instead he drifts from one side of the stage to the other, grasping for a smoke every couple of minutes.
What we have tonight is a complete look at his extensive back catalogue ‘Gin and Juice’ is delivered early in the set along with ‘Nuthin’ But a G Thang’ and there is also time to take the occasional smoke break at the back of the DJ set up while we have a few video interruptions.
He is no stranger to a cover or two but the mid section tonight got a little lost as we get Notorious BIG and 2Pac, ‘Hypnotize’ and ‘California Love’ trotted out, but the weirdest one being House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ which didn’t quite fit the mould. And when you consider that followed a showing of the Just Eat video, it had you thinking that maybe the comedy element here has been overdone just a little. He recovers though with a blissful ‘Drop It Like Its Hot’ which is probably the highlight of a scintillating night with Snoop.
“Shout out to all the real mutha fuckin’ fans who’ve been down for Snoop Dogg since 1992,” he drawls as ‘What’s My Name’ pumps out of the speakers. The instantly recognisable singalong sadly signals that we are at the end of our time here. He closes up with a gentle rendition of ‘Young, Wild & Free’ and then we are away.
It has taken nearly 3 years to rearrange this due to Covid, but worth the wait to see Hip Hop Royalty in Yorkshire again.