Snoop Dogg has graced the world with more of his artistic talent, though this time he isn’t dropping a new album or impersonating a white man — this time he’s collaborating with Happy Socks.
“For many years, I’ve always wanted to paint, and I’ve been exploring the craft behind the scenes. I find that painting allows me to explore certain emotions I’ve never been able to express through my music or acting,” said Snoop Dogg. “The collaboration with Happy Socks is so natural, because they saw what I was doing and provided me with another platform to further display my artistic abilities.”
The collection of three socks features prints in dark paisley — a print he calls ‘Gin and Juice’ –, painting supplies, and of course, marijuana plants. While some may wonder how these motifs come together, I can’t think of a more cohesive way to encapsulate all that is Snoop Dog’s creative vision.
Common — I Want You (Kaytranada Edition) Kaytranada takes on Common’s “I Want You,” a track from his 2009 album Finding Forever. The Canadian producer ads electronic beats and various dance elements for this quality remix.
Snoop Dogg — Drop It Like It’s Hot (Kartell Remix) Who could forget this one? Snoop’s voice flows smoothly over fat synths and house beats for this updated version of the classic.
Odesza — Sun Models (Feat. Madelyn Grant) Perfect for the weekend and a reminder that the summer is just a hop, skip and jump away. Check out emerging Seattle Producer ODESZA, as well as another remix here.
Vindata — All I Really Need (Regulators Remix) Apparently, all I need is to listen to this song on repeat.
Proof that the felines-in-art trend has more than nine lives: “The Cat Art Show,” coming to Los Angeles in late January, which showcases the work of dozens of artists, from Shepard Fairey to Tracey Emin and Liz Markus. (Some of the profit from the selling exhibition will benefit the city’s Stray Cat Alliance.)
It’s already been a busy year for cat-fancying curators. This summer, New York space White Columns hosted “The Cat Show,” which featured an artist-designed environment in which adoptable kitties frolicked for the public. (The previous year, alternative art institution Tomato House hosted a similarly themed exhibition out in Brooklyn.) In August, the Walker Art Center held its second Internet Cat Video Festival —they’ll be providing film programming for “The Cat Art Show” in L.A.
One of my favorite inclusions in the L.A. exhibition is Marc Dennis’s A Great Big Giant World, 2013, which depicts Snoop Lion-as-museum-guard standing in front of an ornately framed image of an impossibly cute kitten. “I actually don’t like cats in real life, but I love to paint them,” Dennis admitted. “As an artist I create staged and voyeuristic scenarios of contemporary American culture. My painting is a riff on the incredible, sometimes overbearing Internet love for cats and the passionate respect and love for hip hop. I look at cats as divas, much like hip-hop culture in a sense has become, but with a bigness, an air, a kind of gangster stately disposition. I chose to paint Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg) not just because I enjoy his music but because he is an iconic figure, and in my painting he serves as a sentry, a guard of sorts, watching over ‘Biggie Kitty.’ And the Victorian nouveau style blue and white bandana pattern background is a tongue in cheek reference to the Crips.”
“The Cat Art Show” curated by journalist Susan Michals also features work by Ramsey Dau, Buff Monster, Ray Caesar, Tim Biskup, Brandon Boyd, FAILE, Justin Bower, and many other artists. Below, a few highlights of to expect when the show opens in January. Visit the official website for additional information.
With major events starting this weekend, the million-pound question is this: how will the Olympics affect clubland?
The time difference between London and New York has events slated between 4am and 6pm. The ability and the where-with-all to record shows for later viewing has increased sharply over the years. Will this Olympics be the TIVO Olympics, or will the public miss most of it or take sick days to see relevant events? In hospitality, sports bars will open early to accommodate viewers, and their bottom line will get a boost. Sports bars thrive during the NFL and College Football seasons, but baseball and its boys of summer rarely attract big crowds. The added revenue stream is a blessing.
Will clubbers be too tired to party hardy at night? Will they leave joints early because they plan on staying awake or getting up early to catch Michael Phelps live or a USA basketball team game? Will mid-day or afternoon beers slow sales at night? My bet is that the only effect these Olympics will have on clubland is they’ll probably upgrade the small talk and pick-up lines.
Belated is right: Nicki was born on July 1st. I bet he’s telling folks he’s 29. I worked with Nicki when he ran those Sunday Rock and Roll Church nights at Limelight and kept in touch when he plied his trade at Don Hill’s. Tonight there will be performances by the New York All-Stars (Shannon Conley, Nicki Camp, Jimi K. Bones, Dave Purcell, Adam James, Al Mars), with special guests Michael T & The Vanities.
The soiree will be hosted by Lourdes Castellon and Ahmed Adil, and DJ Victor Auton will spin rock, metal, glam, and alternative throughout the night. I always liked Nicki and I wish him a belated 29th birthday.
Speaking of rockers, my favorite craggly-faced old bastard Mick Jagger celebrates his 69th birthday today. That makes me feel old, yet on some level, a bit young. I’ll have my editor link you back to last year’s article, which sums up my feelings toward Mick. The bottom line is that my set tonight will be top heavy with Rolling Stones tracks, and I’ll toast to Mick as I look forward to the 50th Anniversary Tour, which I hear will be pushed back to 2013. Somehow, a 51st Anniversary Tour sounds dodgy.
German producer/DJ Boys Noize, aka Alex Ridha, predates the ongoing EDMsplosion. He’s been a staple of the dance music scene for years, remixing everyone from N*E*R*D to Cut Copy. He’s also a tastemaker with his own label, Boysnoize Records, which just released Le1f and Boody’s Liquid EP. Last month, Ridha released his third album as Boys Noize, Out Of The Black, a collection of pulsing, simmering tracks to keep the dancefloor fresh. Snoop Dogg’s even along for the party, throwing a couple verses over the woozy bass of “Got It.”
I called Ridha at his home in Berlin to talk about his city, his album, and his North American tour that’s kicking off now.
What’s a normal day in Berlin like for you? Normally, when I get up, I have to go out with the dog first, because she needs to go out. She has the most priority in the mornings. When I go back, I do a lot of my label stuff, working out the music we’re releasing and talking to all the artists on my label, figuring all of that out. Basically, I’m doing the whole creative side of Boysnoize Records. That’s a lot of fun for me. Then when the sun goes down, then I go to the studio, which is also at home. Then it depends. I’m not a guy who can go in the studio from 9 to 5, that’s why I have it at home so I can go in a moment, because you can’t really force creativity, not in my sense.
If you were meeting someone who had never been to Berlin before, what would you tell them is the first thing they should do or see? Probably go to Kreuzberg and go through the streets and get a Turkish kebab, which is almost like the German traditional meal. It’s getting there. At night time, a lot of people come to Berlin to party, and I think you can do that really well because there’s a lot of illegal parties, there’s a lot of parties that start on Saturday and end up on Tuesday morning, so you have a lot of places like that, like the Berghain. Actually, you have to see the Berghain if you’re coming to Berlin for the first time, it’s probably one of the most amazing clubs in Berlin, it’s super techno and very dark. There’s no cameras allowed, you won’t get in if you have a camera on you. If you take a picture, you get thrown out as well. And then after that, you can eat a currywurst, that’s a traditional sausage, you know. And then there’s a lot of flea markets on Sunday. You should visit the wall as well, there’s still part of it in Berlin.
How is the way this record came together different from your previous albums? The first two albums I pretty much produced while touring, during my DJ gigs. Most of the time, I’m away on the weekends, and during the week I’m back in my studio. On this record, it was different, because after the second record I did, I wanted to try out new things and work with other people, that’s why I got into productions for other people like Santigold and Spank Rock. I did a full album with Chilly Gonzales, who’s a piano player, and we did this really fun electronic piano [project]. After that time working with other people, I felt the urge of making my own music again. So basically for this album, I took some time off to be in the studio only, I didn’t do any festivals or club shows this year and just enjoyed being at my home and in my studio all the time to make this album.
Is there a particular track that you’re the most proud of? It changes all the time. Right now, I’m pretty happy with the track I did with Snoop Dogg, it’s a pretty big honor for me to have him on my album. For me, it was kind of a statement to only have him on my album as a feature. For me, the most important thing was to make something fucking cool with him.
How did that collaboration come about? I did an official remix for him in 2009, I think it was, for his track "Sensual Seduction." You know how it is, the big record label asked me to do the remix, so I didn’t know if he knew it, and when I discovered Twitter, I wrote him directly asking him if he knew the remix, and he replied right away, saying he loved it and I should send more beats. Ever since, we’ve kept in contact. I met last year in LA for the first time, and this year I met him again and he invited me to his place and we recorded two songs together. It was really, really cool to meet him, he’s such a nice dude.
Do you have any dream collaborations for next time around? It’s always difficult for me to have a feature on my own music, because although I’m making a lot of different kinds of music as a producer for other people, for my own music I have a very pure vision and I’m more a fan of robotic voices than real human voices. On my album, you can hear a lot of electronic voices and different kinds of robotic voices I’ve been studying. Another thing is that once I work with other people, like a singer or someone, then it turns too much to me into a song or it’s getting too poppy, then it doesn’t really reflect me as a DJ or a performer. I’m not someone who plays shitty house records with cheesy vocals on it. It’s fine for the radio, but for my own sets I like it when it’s more in your face and not too much like mainstream or commercial stuff. It also means that for my music, I can’t really do that, just because I’m not doing that for my own music. I’m open to everything as a producer for other people, but for my own music, I prefer my own robotic voices and stuff like that.
Can you talk about the album title a little bit? I kind of started with the English thing almost immediately. I really liked the twist with the blue and the black, because out of the black doesn’t really mean anything. I liked that. It also kind of reflects me being in the studio at night. When the sun goes down, I can make some noise when everyone’s sleeping. I feel most relaxed at night as well, and most creative. The image sounded cool.
With this album, you’re finally going on your first full American tour. Would you say that has to do with the US finally catching up to the world of electronic music? No, actually, I’ve been touring a lot in the US since 2006, even 2005. I’ve been playing a lot of gigs pretty much everywhere. This is the first time I’m playing live, which is a new challenge and it makes sense, now that I have three albums. So I will perform my own music only, like a punk rock kind of concert. I’m bringing a big production as well, there are going to be some crazy things going on. I have one element which is pretty big, but I can’t go into much detail about it. I’m pretty excited to do that, it’s a new way of touring as well, I’m going on a bus for six or seven weeks. It’s pretty rock ‘n’ roll, I’m looking forward to it.
What can we expect from your show? I’ll be performing my own music only. I haven’t really done that, though a lot of people were wondering [how that would work out]. As a DJ, I do a lot of things in the moment, and a lot of things are spontaneous. I’m not mixing two records only, I do a lot of live remixing and live editing in the moment. This time, it’s my own music that I will tweak and remix live and have different variations on. I have a lot of controllers and effects units and a big production around it. There’s going to be one big element onstage, which is quite crazy. You should actually check it out, if you can.
Do you have any particular favorite places to go on tour? In the US, there’s a lot of cool cities. I’m a big fan of San Francisco, of Chicago, New York, L.A. Montreal is also a great city. There’s a lot of cities this time around that I haven’t visited yet, especially in the middle of America, Texas and stuff. I haven’t hit those places, I’m curious.
Those are probably places where it has taken a little longer to build a dance music following. Yeah, I feel like I’m on a mission, to be honest. Obviously, there’s the whole EDM thing, I guess I’m a big part of that as well. I think that’s a lot of music where it’s very functional, and I get to a lot of place where I hear the same music. It feels good to really be on a mission, to show different aspects of electronic music.
After having done this for years, I’m sure you know you’ve been ahead of the curve. I wouldn’t say that to myself. (laughs) But it’s true, there’s a new generation in America that is totally into electronic music. I think it’s amazing, because it opens a lot of doors for me as well. But obviously, once something gets really big, it’s most of the time driven by the really mainstream stuff and the more popular stuff. In the end, it’s just a new way of pop music. I think a lot of people that have just discovered it that like that, they will eventually move on to what’s after David Guetta and that kind of music. Once that happens, all those people will be discovered, especially in electronic music, there’s so much. I’ve been buying records, I have 15,000 vinyl records at home, and I still discover amazing electronic music every day, I’m buying new music every day, I’m finding old tracks, I rediscover them. So me as a total nerd in that, discovering new music, imagine someone who’s just discovered electronic music. There’s just so much to look out for after the mainstream stuff.
Who are some new artists you’re currently excited about? There are a lot of new artists that I love. There’s one guy I just found for Boysnoize Records, his name is SCNTST, he just turned 18 and he’s a very talented producer. We just put out an EP from him, there’s another one coming this fall, I’m very excited about him. You know how it is when you start off something and you don’t really know what to do, there’s a lot of magic happening in this moment. He’s really good. There’s another guy called Strip Steve who’s really more into the indie disco kind of thing, which I love. I’m going on tour with Spank Rock, who’s a rapper from Baltimore signed to my label, he’s super amazing. I produced his new album, which just got out as well.
Any other up-and-coming rappers you’re excited about, too? Yeah, there’s this guy Le1f, we’re putting out an EP he did as well. He’s part of this up-and-coming gay rap scene. He’s also a producer, he makes a lot of amazing beats as well. He also produced "Nasty” on that Spank Rock album. We just signed him, going to put out his EP with his friend Boody very soon on Boysnoize Records.
For all the incidents which made him notorious before his rap career took off, Snoop Lion seems like he’s pretty good with kids. His short-lived up-close-with-the-family show Father Hood showed him as your typical goofy reality TV dad, and he sponsors a youth football league for inner-city youth. So it was only a matter of time before he made a Halloween music video with a bunch of kids running around in animal costumes, and have Eli Roth (fresh off the Goretorium!) direct it.
Before the music begins in the clip for the Major Lazer-produced reggae jam "La La La," Snoop Lion is chatting with some of his kid collaborators, dressed as birds and bugs and lions and tigers. They ask him all kinds of questions, including why he changed his name and if he knows Jennifer Lopez. The video mostly consists of Snoop—at first donning his tricolor beanie before going into a coffin and emerging with a cane and a giant lion spirit hood—singing about very traditional reggae themes while the kids dance around, cute cartoon turtles stumble by and occasionally the animations get a little NSFW.If Sesame Street featured short-shorts-wearing backup dancers, not-so-subtle references of death and claymation anthropomorphic fruits smoking weed, then it would look something like this. Watch.
It’s easy to imagine the scenario that led to this new advertisement featuring Snoop Dogg/Lion hawking Hot Pockets. It probably happened in a big, fancy conference room in a top ad agency, with lots of poring over notes and PowerPoints and Klout scores and drinking lots of coffee, possibly with whiskey in it (because all of your understanding of how ad agencies work comes from Mad Men). How to make Hot Pockets seem hip and sexy for the younger demographic? The hapless just-moved-to the-big-city Intern is not paying attention, instead mindlessly scribbling “Pocket Like It’s Hot, Pocket Like It’s Hot” on her notepad. The Account Executive sitting next to her snaps up the idea like it’s the last bacon-wrapped shrimp at a casino buffet, and an ad campaign is born. No one seems to notice that this is a song from 2004.
This may not be exactly how it happened, but nevertheless, somehow it never crossed the mind of anyone in advertising to use Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot” in a Hot Pockets commercial before. So here were are, complete with a music video with guest appearances from Andy Milonakis and DeStorm, as well as a blinged-out incarnation of mascot Herbie Hot Pocket. As Snoop watches the microwave while rapping about what to do when “your munchies get a attitude,” Herbie chills in the hot tub and at one point, DeStorm makes it rain with pepperoni slices. This is the stuff of which Clio awards are made.
In a stunning blow to Mitt Romney who may or may not have seriously received an endorsement from Nicki Minaj this week, President Obama has clinched Snoop Dogg’s endorsement in the 2012 election.
Speaking at the Toronto International Film Festival last night to promote the documentary in which he stars, Reincarnated, Snoop Dogg (who now goes by Snoop Lion) told the audience:
They need to give Obama four more years, man. Bush fucked up for eight years. So you got to give him another four. It’s not like they (Republicans) gave him a clean house. They gave him a house where the TV didn’t work, the toilet was stuffed up. Everything was wrong with the house. Anyways, he knocked down our most hated and most wanted, the one who had our terror (alert) on orange and red or whatever color it was on. He went and found him, the one that Bush couldn’t seem to find, the one who seemed to fly away on the day of 9/11 and all that. … And anyone who can go in peace now and walk around, he made that happen. So please don’t forget that. So give him four years to get his thing together.
And there you have it: Snoop Dogg is the voice of reason on American politics.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.
● Rumor has it that Lorne Michaels (perhaps not in the best of faith) has offered Mitt Romney a guest spot on Saturday Night Live, and the Times‘ Maureen Dowd reports that he is actually considering it. As the show’s Jim Downey suggests, he was funny that one time, "on Letterman, giving the Top Ten list." [NYT]
● Paul McCartney enrolled an unlikely duo, Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp, for his "My Valentine" video. [PopCultureBrain]
● Appeasing the powers that be, Kanye West has changed the name of "Theraflu" to "Way To Cold." [RS]
● Teller of Penn & Teller fame is suing a Dutch performer for performing his copyrighted magic tricks on YouTube. The case could be landmark for magicians, according to Hollywood Reporter, as it would "help determine the level of protection that magicians have over their magic tricks." [THR]
● Thanks to YouTube, you can watch all of Coachella’s weekend one from the comfort of your own home. Well, almost all of it. [Stereogum/Stereogum/Rap-Up]
● All is not well with the still family-run Archie Comics empire. [NYT]