A promising rapper from an early age, he began performing in the 6th grade but was waylaid by brushes with the law in high school.
After a stints behind bars for drug possession, he took the stage name Snoop Doggy Dogg and launched his recording career with the help of hip-hop producer Dr. Dre. His 1993 debut album, Doggystyle, featuring his trademark, laidback vocal phrasings, was well-received and quickly went quadruple platinum.
Over the course of an enduring showbiz career, Snoop has released a dozen solo CDs and sold more than 30 million records. Last year, he tweaked his alias to Snoop Lion when he recorded a reggae album in Jamaica called Reincarnated.
A talented thespian, he’s also acted in a score of movies, most notably, Training Day, Baby Boy, Old School, Starsky & Hutch and, most recently, Scary Movie 5.
Here, he talks about his latest screen outing as Smooth Move in Turbo, an animated adventure about a snail who dreams of entering the Indianapolis 500.
Kam Williams: Hi Snoop, thanks for the interview.
Snoop Dogg/Lion: My pleasure, Kam.
KW: What interested you in Turbo?
SD/L: Well I’ve wanted to do a family movie for a while now. Being able to watch a movie with my family and some of the kids from my Snoop Youth Football League has always been a goal of mine, so when [director] David Soren reached out to me about Turbo I was all for it. And my character is a smooth little snail…I thought it was a cool concept.
KW: How would you describe Smoove Move?
SD/L: He’s a slick little guy. He’s calm and cool just like me.
KW: Did you base your approach to the character on anybody?
SD/L: I based him on myself because the character was written for me.
KW: How would you compare doing voice work for an animated film to appearing onscreen in a live action adventure?
SD/L: The process for doing voice work goes by much quicker as opposed to shooting a feature. You can pretty much go in and knock it out in a day or two. It feels very natural for me to express myself using only my voice, so it wasn’t too difficult.
KW: What message do you think people will take away from Turbo?
SD: I think they will be inspired and in a good mood. It’s a fun, family movie.
KW: Why did you change your name to Snoop Lion?
SD/L: My name was given to me. I didn’t just decide to change it one day. But I ran with it to reflect a more peaceful and positive attitude for my new Reincarnated project. The Snoop Dogg name is so connected to hip-hop, and I didn’t want to change that. Hip-hop raised me, and I would never turn my back on it.
KW: What inspired you to become a Rastafarian and to release that reggae album, Reincarnated?
SD/L: I’m a spiritual man and I’ve always felt connected to Rastafari. I’m not a Rastafarian but I’ve got so much respect for the lifestyle and religion, and I’m so thankful I was able to meet some of the most influential Rastafarians during my Jamaica trip. They taught me so much and really helped me evolve into who I am today.
I felt in this stage of my life it was time to make a record that reflected my lifestyle…positive, peaceful and family oriented. I’ve always had a connection to Reggae and it was the right music to fully display my new lifestyle in a way that was natural for me. JAH RASTAFARI!
KW: How did you come to collaborate with Miley Cyrus on the song Ashtrays and Heartbreaks?
SD/L: We met at the studio and she told me that she loved my work. I love what she does, too. Miley’s cool and I support her 100%.
KW: The Teri Emerson question: When was the last time you had a good laugh?
SD/L: At the Turbo screening!
KW: What is your guiltiest pleasure?
SD/L: Barbecue flavor twist Fritos. Definitely, BBQ flavor twist Fritos! [Chuckles slyly]
KW: Is there any question no one ever asks you, that you wish someone would?
SD: No I’m cool. I think they done asked ‘em all. [LOL]
KW: Thanks again for the time, Snoop, and good luck with Turbo.
SD/L: Thanks, Kam.
To see a trailer for Turbo, visit: