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Snoop Dogg live at the RDS
Despite great anticipation in light of his denied entry into the UK, Snoop Dogg's anti-climactic performance heavily based on his older album failed to reach out to his newer fans.
Kilian Murphy, 22 Oct 2008
Snoop Dogg has developed something of an affinity with Ireland, it being one of a decreasing number of countries that will permit him entry in spite of his criminal convictions. The MC’s anti-authoritarian streak also plays a part in his popularity round these parts, as rebelliousness has always tended to go down well with the locals.
Snoop’s career has taken an unusual trajectory since his classic 1993 debut LP Doggystyle; his iconic status seeming more secure with each year despite a consistently ho-hum output. Shows such as tonight’s should get the best out of Snoop; allowing him to focus on the finer moments of his back catalogue, while reaping the benefits of his charisma and celebrity status. However, there’s evidence that Snoop’s sustained creative laziness is starting to weigh heavily on the other elements of his show.
For one thing, tonight’s performance is disappointingly short. Brevity is not always a bad thing in the live setting, certainly, but the scale of Snoop’s fame and the fervour with which his arrival in town is anticipated calls for something more than a briefer-than-average set.
Snoop seems aware that Doggystyle still represents his creative peak, and his debut LP is well-represented on the setlist. He opens with a booming take on classic single ‘Murder Was Tha Case’, the deployment of a live band giving the song a wonderfully deep, cavernous feel. The Dogg is also a notably excellent live MC, and his rhymes on tracks like ‘Tha Shiznit’ and ‘Lodi Dodi’ retain a piercing clarity in concert that often eludes similarly hot studio rappers.
But Snoop’s problem is that he’s over-reliant on a record made some 15 years ago to beef up his setlist. Many of the younger elements in the rapper’s fanbase seem unfamiliar with material made in the distant past and as a result – save for a seismic ‘Who Am I (What’s My Name)?’ – much of the older material lacks the bite it may once sported.
Similarly, it’s hard for longer-term fans to take recent fillers like ‘Sexual Eruption’ seriously – though the weird, geometric beauty of ‘Drop it Like it’s Hot’ remains a unifying crowd-pleaser. The force of Snoop’s personality carries him through, but perhaps this old Dogg is now paying for an inability to deliver new studio tricks in recent times.