[ Written by Andy Blackman Hurwitz ]
[ Photography by Jen Strogatz ]
Snoop Dogg’s I Wanna Thank Me Tour
The first really cold night of another globally warmed winter cast a spell upon this writer and his photographer as we huddled in line at the Fillmore. Once through the doors however, we were immediately warmed by the vibe and energy inside: “Damn. Everyone’s so… happy!” remarked my partner in journalistic crime.
And by the time we checked our coats and made our way to the bar DJ Green Lantern let us know why: “We just come here to have a good mother fucking time y’all” and it was unmistakeable that everyone was following his cue.
The air was thick with the dank smells of really good weed – no kids stuff, boutique Philly “Beyond/Hello” medicinal shit – as the thirty-something crowd threw their hands in the mother-fucking air to welcome seminal west coast rapper Warren G to the stage.
Looking mature and stately, Mister G (aka Warren Griffin III), together with Nate Dogg and Snoop, was part of the seminal trio 213 which eventually crumbled when Snoop went solo. Backed by Green Lantern himself, one of the greatest DJs in the history of the game, G tore through a 30-minute set that displayed his (still) incredible voice, delivery and ability to celebrate the magic of Mary J. “R U High Yet?” he asked before sharing a spliff with a lucky lady in the front row who was “kind” enough to offer up her lighter.
Way before Snoop became the poster child for Weed, Warren G set the bar high with his epic “Indo-Smoke,” a stoner anthem that went on to sell over 3-Million copies back in the day. When G left the stage, Green Lantern kept the party going strong ripping through West Coast classics until suddenly… the music stopped and the room went dark.
A massive screen behind the stage flickered on to project a montage of Snoop’s greatest moments from a young thug to a modern day superstar. Then magically it seemed that the man of the hour jumped right out of the video and onto stage wasting no time with salutations, launching into Next Episode to the crowds delight.
Wearing pressed kaki pants, white Converse low-tops, a Joseph and a technicolor Death Row leather jacket Snoop looked like a million bucks. With his trademark shades, braids to his waist and a huge Blunt in hand he proceeded to peel off hit after hit, letting the crowd know that before he was a bona fide global celebrity, he was one of the baddest ass rappers in the land. Like a proven veteran he just threw the fuck down. No banter, no bullshit. Strictly business.
“Bitch Please”, “Countdown”, “Snoop’s Upside Ya Head” and the 50 Cent Cover “Pimp” were all delivered with astounding freshness. When Snoop brought Warren G on to preform the 213 hit “So Fly” (with major nods to Nate Dog) it felt like we were all back in late 1990s.
The showman that he is, Snoop kept things visually interesting with a constant parade of back up singers, mascots (the giant Nasty Dogg), strippers (on massive stripper poles on either side of the stage) and the widely entertaining video playing in the background showing a mix of home movies, football clips, gangster films and stoney treats.
One unexpected surprise was the introduction of Philly’s own legendary gangsta raper Freeway who took the energy up 3 notches with his intense performance that left Snoop sitting on one of the stage’s two picnic benches, smoking a flat blunt and nodding with approval. Following Freeway, Green Lantern kept the Philly vibe alive by dropping a dope Grover Washington Jr “Mister Magic” remix for Snoop who added Slick Ricks’ “Children’s Story” on top.
After a quick “smoke break” that left Lantern in control of the dance floor, Snoop returned sans jacket to reveal a Unity T-shirt and began a “tribute” segment that began with a poignant and sincere paying of respect to the late great (and former Compton mate) Nipsy Hustle covering his song Question #1 (which Snoop himself guested on). The tributes kept flowing as Snoop covered some of his dead homies paying respect (and brining their images to life through the screen) Easy E (“Real MotherFuckin Gs”), Biggie (“Hypmotize”) and Pac (2 of “Amerikaz most wanted”).
Snoop brought it all back to the star of the show — himself — by asking the crowd “What’s my Mother Fucking Name?” before launching into “Big Mouth”, “Gin & Juice” and then stopping the music completely to take off his glasses, look the whole crowd in the eyes and sincerely thanking everyone before sliding nto the set’s last tune — the Wiz Kalifa Collab “Young Wild and Free”.
Lantern kept playing exit music as the lights went on revealing a crowd that was mixed in every way, reflecting the global attraction of Mr. Doggy Dog. As we slowly moved out of the venue there was a common feeling of true joy amongst all. Sure, everyone was high as fuck, but Snoop also brings a necessary vibe of peace and love. IT was refreshing. Happy people celebrating life. He’s Snoop Dogg after all – everyone’s favorite Uncle.