The Dogg Lights Up The Dot
Grand prize winners of our 24-Hour Strain Name Game had the chance to meet Snoop Dogg before his concert on Friday. Six other lucky winners took in the High Road Tour in Toronto before attending Snoop’s Tweed-sponsored after-party.
Celebrity is a dangerous game. Few who walk bedazzled through its wide gates wind up resembling anything like the person they once were when the ride finally comes to an abrupt end. Many don’t make it. Most stumble back out of Alice’s Wonderland bent and out of shape, sad caricatures of their former selves. Then some – very few – run away with the circus. And never look back.
Of our time, Snoop Dogg is one of the most improbable celebrity success stories. The product of a broken home set in the concrete streets of Long Beach, California, Cordozar “Calvin” Broadus Jr. has, over his nearly 25-year career, morphed from respected gangster rapper to revered international icon. In some sense, he’s become the spokesperson for the first class of rappers accepted into the mainstream – a position the passionate football fan and coach plays like an all-pro linebacker.
That’s why, on this scorching hot Toronto Friday, a meet-and-greet with the 44-year-old rapper/entertainer/business mogul doesn’t seem processed or put on. It’s genuine. A man of the people, Snoop has a youthful energy and bounces around backstage of the Molson Amphitheatre before his High Road Tour with Wiz Khalifa, taking photos, Snapchatting the procession and cracking jokes with a crowd of excited fans.
The group can rightly be considered Snoop’s peeps. Some are teens. A young suburban thug in a Snoop Dogg Scarface T-shirt develops a noticeable new swagger in his step, looking 10 percent more gangster after a handshake, and hug, from his hero. Others are seniors. One lady pushing a walker prompts raucous cheers from the crowd after catching a kiss on the lips from the Dogg.
His appeal, which spans gender, age, class, and every other sociological metric, is on full display this day. In the words of an old jazz man, he’s a soulful brother; his charm impossible to resist. Most, like our contest winners Nicole and William, can’t stop smiling after only a couple seconds with Snoop. In the moment, his longevity in the many-an-industry he inhabits is explained as much by his staying power, as it is by his unquestionable love for humanity.
For any criticism that’s ever been levelled at Snoop there are a thousand compliments, all of which find resonance in the smiles flooding out of the backstage area of the Amphitheatre.
Here’s a man who has earned every stitch of admiration he now holds. Who has learned to turn a dime to a dollar on charisma and raw talent. And who still finds time to give back to the loyal community of fans that made him famous.
Continuing to cement and build his legacy this summer with the release of his 14th studio album, COOLAID, Snoop’s career has been characterized as much by good music and good humour as great business. More than anything, Snoop Dogg is these days a robust brand that spans cultures – from hip-hop to cannabis and movies to philanthropy. He’s a boss (more accurately, the Big Boss Dogg) for many reasons. Music being but one of them.
A less age-diverse but equally amped crowd assembles later in the night for the Tweed-sponsored High Road Tour after-party. When DJ Snoopadelic shows up around 1:00 a.m., the dance floor in the packed house lights up. True to form, so does Snoop.
For the next two hours, the Doggfather blows smoke and spins mostly classic records for another appreciative audience – club goers, Tweed contest winners, and members of our marketing team. His energy doesn’t seem to waver as the clock threatens 3:00 a.m. and one can only wonder, where does he get the energy? Does greatness sleep? Likely not.
We’d only traced Snoop’s path for half a long day and he looks, as the club finally clears out, ready to put on another show. If need be. His smile never fades. His focus remains a constant. His professionalism and class rule over otherwise insignificant moments. With a smile, handshake or hug.
As head of an exclusive first class of rappers to enterprise their crafts in the early 90s and remain relevant into the new millennium, Snoop’s rise from Long Beach gangster rapper to global cultural icon has been impressive. His ability to keep his head out of the clouds (in at least one sense!) has been admirable. Which may help to explain why he’s become one of the most beloved figures of this generation. No question. But also a shining example of what a star should look like. Day and night.
Here’s to Future Growth (Over a Tall Glass of COOLAID!)
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