Let's recall, though, that reggae and hip-hop are close cousins. It was a Jamaican immigrant — DJ Kool Herc — who brought the sound system party format to New York and turned it into hip-hop. Go back and listen to early '90s rap records, including Dr. Dre's debut The Chronic, on which Snoop is basically a co-star, and you'll hear plenty of Jamaican patois.

Snoop is 41, and far removed from the hood life. So singing about love and peace comes much more naturally than gangsta rap.
Snoop is 41, and far removed from the hood life. So singing about love and peace comes much more naturally than gangsta rap.

Which is, again, why it's not all that surprising that an aging, successful rapper like Snoop would look to the ancestral, easygoing genre of reggae for inspiration. The likeable elements of Snoop's goofy persona unfortunately don't shine through all the serious Rastafari testifying or the wannabe-Marley retreads, though. And no matter how deeply Broadus tries to insert himself into his new character, he'll never quite get away from Snoop Dogg. The text on the poster for his 4/20 Fillmore concert this week is unmistakable: "Snoop performing his classic smash hits." He may not be a gangsta anymore, or even the lovable pimp — but those old rhymes die hard.

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