Mon, Feb 21, 2005 - Page 16 News List

Snoop is still the man

With eight albums in the can, movie roles and a custom barbecue grill in the works, Snoop Dogg is one busy hip-hop mogul

THE GUARDIAN , Los Angeles

At 10,000m, tucked away in the back of a private Gulfstream jet, on his way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to shoot a Cribs segment for MTV, with Little Johnny Taylor singing about "trouble ahead" on the CD player, Snoop Dogg and a couple of his pals are nearly lost to sight in all the pot smoke.

There's nothing too unusual about this, Snoop Dogg being a well known and highly dedicated pot smoker. And yet, not all that long ago he'd said he was giving up the stuff. He'd said, "I get high on life now." But he really does love his pot, need his pot, crave his pot, and his pot-free existence lasted for all of about four months.

"I felt beautiful, but at times my mind just needs to tone it down a little," he says now, a little sheepishly. "Anyway, before, I used to smoke maybe a quarter-pound a day. Now it's more or less like two ounces a day. It's drastically dropped off. It's more controlled. It's more, you know, casual."

It is true that he probably does need some way to tone his mind down, because he is one hyper-energetic hip-hop entrepreneur.

Multi-tasker Snoop

He's got a new album, R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece, and its first single, Drop It Like It's Hot, a collaboration with Pharrell Williams, hit the top position on the US pop charts. He's got deals in the works or completed with shoe companies, cell-phone companies, barbecue-grill companies, clothing companies, satellite-radio companies, action-figure toy companies and movie studios, and has hired the Firm, a Los Angeles powerhouse career-management company, to help him sort it all out.

Plus, he's got his wife, Shante, on his mind. Last May, citing irreconcilable differences, he filed for divorce. Now he's not so sure he did the right thing. In fact, he's pretty sure he messed up big time and is taking steps to correct the situation.

Plus, for the past year, he's been coaching a local Pop Warner football team -- the Rowland Heights Raiders, with his 10-year-old son Corde playing quarterback -- and they're in the regional play-offs and on their way to a Super Bowl victory. He's totally into it.

"For Snoop, this is hut-hut-hike season," says his friend and cohort, Bigg Slice, 32, who spends much of his time customizing cars for Snoop and is responsible for his tricked-out version of the Cadillac DeVille, the Snoop DeVille. "If it's not hut-hut-hike, forget about it," Bigg Slice says.

All that being the case, after he does his Cribs thing in Vegas and re-boards the Gulfstream for the ride home, it's little wonder that the first thing he does is lay himself down. He curls his legs up, shuts his eyes and is soon fast asleep, hands folded in the prayer position under his cheek, looking very much like a tuckered-out hip-hop angel.

At the age of 33, after more than 10 years at the top of the rap-pack heap, what the former Calvin Broadus seems to want more than anything is to make it in the movies, to become "the black Tom Cruise," as he likes to put it.

So far, he's been in about 15 flicks, most recently Starsky and Hutch and Soul Plane, and has just finished shooting an indie called The Tenants, co-starring Dylan McDermott, in which Snoop plays a militant black writer. It's a dramatic role and, for the first time since his small but effective part as a wheelchair-bound crack dealer in Training Day, calls for him to be someone other than himself -- slitty-eyed, laid-back and honey-voiced -- or some variation of himself.

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