Written by Diana Harris, CNN
Reality TV is saturated with “realness” of all shapes and sizes. The sports world is in the midst of a gender gap, with a surge in women playing. But you don’t find this kind of authenticity in Snoop Dogg.
The rapper is one of the most-beloved entertainers in hip-hop, with his sultry pipes and signature hairdo.
Formerly known as Christopher George Lucas, Snoop’s had a rapid ascent over two decades, both on and off stage.
From growing up in Long Beach, California, the “Gin and Juice” hitmaker now has four kids and a wedding date.
In a new interview, he discusses everything from politics, to health, and his little-known passion for airplanes.
CNN: How did you come up with the name Snoop Dogg?
Snoop Dogg: I was a kid with the “gangsta” crown on me and we went to a neighborhood barbeque and one of the girls spit the “what is he talking about” line about me.
She spit: “Man, he’s a gangsta but a fuckin’ dicksh*t at heart.”
The next day, she called up my mother and said: “Please tell him to stop using the name Snoop, it hurts his feelings.” My mother said: “I am going to give him the name.” So, my parents named me Snoop Dogg.
CNN: In the last 25 years you’ve gone from rapping about sex, drugs and violence to having a daughter. You were the first celebrity dad to use his fame for better causes.
Snoop Dogg: When I am out performing, I am trying to get my people to focus and stay positive, knowing that there is a world out there for everyone.
CNN: Are there any areas you would like to see improved in America?
Snoop Dogg: We need jobs for youth, especially those that live in the hood. You know, there is so much technology out there today that helps with communication but not enough jobs, especially for young people. You don’t get a chance to show yourself, you don’t have jobs to show yourself and look where it gets you.
CNN: Is there anything you wish people knew about you or about your work that you think isn’t always reflected in the public eye?
Snoop Dogg: I would like my legacy to show youth that you can change your life. I’m not going to do what many other rappers, say, do – try to change your lifestyle and go back to your old ‘hood. You can break out of the situation, you can evolve. You can change your situation and avoid the chaos that makes others followers.
CNN: You’ve done numerous humanitarian and non-profit work. Tell us about some of the most meaningful projects you’ve worked on over the years.
Snoop Dogg: During the recent political landscape, I decided to help animals and gave them their vote. I recruited people to help deliver, what was said to be, the first-ever marijuana delivery system by a non-profit organization. I worked with some of the best chefs in New York to teach high school students how to cook and then deliver food to homeless shelters.
CNN: And it goes without saying, who do you think is the greatest living hip-hop artist?
Snoop Dogg: Tupac Shakur. He’s the man that set the tone and has done something for the culture. On another note, The Notorious B.I.G. was a great artist and he was influential. You know, we live in a great moment right now, young artists. I am glad that kids are learning about music from them because they got so much up there to teach.