Written by Delaney Rea | Photo by Lindsey Smith
They say you should never meet your heroes. Luckily, that’s not really what happened here.
On a sunny Saturday in April, Snoop Dogg brought his Mount Kushmore Wellness Retreat Tour to Eugene. In an inspired piece of cross-promotion with Snoop’s concert, local weed dispensary Jamaica Joel’s hosted a meet and greet with the rapper. He was joined by fellow hip-hop artist B-Real of the 90s rap super-group Cypress Hill. Both rappers would perform together that evening at the Cuthbert Amphitheater, in what was sure to be a must-attend event for any hip-hop fan from the 90s.
In Eugene, there seemed to be no shortage of 90s hip-hop fans – a line of people, who’d paid a premium for the privilege, were eager to meet the artists behind classic hits like “Gin and Juice” and “Insane in the Brain.” The line of fans extended all the way down the block that day, much to the chagrin of the vendors next door. A particularly enthusiastic Dogg disciple loudly explained to me just how pissed off his wife was that she was missing the event.
Most patrons waiting for the signing sported a similar style: shirts and hats featuring both B Real and Snoop Dogg memorabilia, as well as winningly eager attitudes towards the chance to meet their heroes. And then there was yours truly, a somewhat out-of-his-element writer from the Emerald Media Group in a light blue oxford button-down, as if the tiny notepad I clung to didn’t scream “young journalist” loudly enough already.
My main purpose for attending the event wasn’t due to any Snoop fandom. Still, the rapper’s legacy was enough to inspire some butterflies. And though the lyrics of Snoop’s recent politically-charged single, “Lavender,” showed off his knack for timeliness, his punctuality to the event did not. His appearance was scheduled for 3:30, but in what was either divine coincidence or a masterclass in self-awareness, Snoop showed up right at 4:20.
Before long, the line began to dwindle. Each fan got their long-awaited chance to snag a photo with Snoop. My plan of attack was simple enough: ambush Mr. Dogg with a voice recorder and a couple of snappy questions about that night’s concert. After executing a similar strategy with B-Real earlier, the plan seemed foolproof. I cannot adequately describe just how foolish of a prediction this was for how the experience would go down.
As I slowly approached the back room of Jamaica Joel’s where the artist formerly known as Snoop Lion resided, the protocol for the event was shouted out by a large bouncer named Tiny: “No signatures – he’s only doing pictures. Have your phones ready! He’s only doing pictures!” The prospect of a potential interview was looking pretty slim at this point. The photo prints of Snoop performing in a Mariota jersey I’d been asked to get autographed for the Emerald’s office had to be discarded – if I hoped to ask my questions, it could be my only priority.
Upon entering the room, the Sister Nancy reggae track “Bam Bam” (also known as the driving sample featured in Kanye’s infamous “Famous”) boomed so loudly, it threatened to break the subwoofers. An obligatory haze of smoke clouded over the room, adding a distinct aura that I would describe as “weed-mystique.” Behind the counter danced Snoop Dogg. I handed my camera-ready phone over to the designated photographer/bouncer, and approached Snoop with an outstretched hand. “Nice to meet you, Snoop,” I said in what was likely the dorkiest tone possible. Without a word, he firmly shook my gently trembling hand and struck an incredibly smooth pose. Naturally, I responded with an incredibly non-smooth pose of my own. Three dimly-lit photos were snapped, in which I appeared to be on the verge of nervousness-induced vomiting. I was then pushed out of the room with great enthusiasm and handed a “Mount Kushmore” t-shirt.
Soon after, Snoop made his escape, and my chance to get even the briefest interview was lost — most likely forever. It may have been due to my own nerves, the bouncers at the tail-end of a long day, or simply a too-high-to-talk Snoop Dogg, but the interview did not exactly go as hoped. But I’m not bitter – the entire experience would have been half as memorable if it were a run-of-the-mill Q&A.
In the immortal lyrics from the track “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” by Snoop Dogg himself, “We gotta give ‘em what they want. We gotta break ’em off something – and it’s gotta be bumpin.’”
It was bumpin’, Snoop. It was bumpin’ indeed.