That’s ’cause the 38-year-old Inland Empire-based (Diamond Bar’s in the 909 and Snoop didn’t let us forget) multi-platinum musician, youth football league founder, record label exec and mega-personality will be sticking his rhymes alongside the punch lines of comedian Mike Epps, who’s best known for commanding laughs in HBO specials and starring in films like Next Day Air and Next Friday.
Together the duo have formed a rather unique show pairing—a comedian and rapper offering up a stage act that combines music, humor and theatrics in a 90-minute package titled “Imagine That! A Hip Hop Comedy Experience” Originally penned by Snoop and Epps, with the assistance of outside writers, the show’s premise is based around the story of a planned prison escape by a pair of nightclub performers.
“It’s a real variety show, man,” Snoop explains, during an interview with the Weekly while out on an East Coast tour last week. “If you love Snoop Dogg and Mike Epps, please be sure to be in the place to be. You don’t want to hear about it, you want to be the one to talk about it.”
So, how did this show come together in the first place?
Me and Mike Epps, we’re both big fans of each other. And we were trying to figure out a way to try to get the best of both worlds to combine, you know, me and him, to come together. We were trying to figure out how could we do something together. We were talking about doing movies, TV shows, etc. And [we] just decided that, you know what, the best thing that we could do is to combine both of our stage shows. And, you know, take some time out to put together a real show where we can show the world that me and Mike Epps is a great tandem . . . And that’s what we wanted to do, and that’s what we did. We put together this great show called “Imagine That!” where we came up with an idea, we brought it to life and we plan on coming to the IE area to bring it out to the people out there and let them know what it is.
Whose idea was it? Where did the inspiration come from?
Me being a fan of Mike Epps’ live stage performance and knowing how great I am on stage, I figured that, you know, what could I do to maximize the strength of both of us? And I said to myself, I’ve never seen a rapper and a comedian actually combine their shows and have a show together, where they take the best of both of their material and they squeeze ’em together to make one great show. So, that’s what I was thinking. I was thinking along the lines of Richard Pryor and Marvin Gaye, what if they came together and had a show together? How entertaining would that be?
Is this something that you intend to do more frequently?
I think me and Mike actually love this concept, this tandem, and I think it’s going to work and hopefully it’ll get us to Vegas. We dream of this being in Vegas at a resort, as entertainment that you can see four months out of the year, in some nice resort hotel that people are paying and spending top dollar to see one of the greatest shows ever.
Now, did you write a bunch of special material for this show, or is it just your regular music mixed with Mike’s comedy?
We catered to what’s going on right now to make it relevant, so it has a lot to do with what I’ve done as well as what I’m doing. So, it all blends in and it comes together for us—an entertaining show like you’ve never seen before.
Because this is the Inland Empire Weekly, we’re wanting to know if you’re still in the 909.
I’m always in the 909. My phone number’s 909. You know I’m with the IE. I’ve got a team, I coach the Pomona Steelers, you know what I’m saying? So I’m always going to be a part of the IE. I love y’all for what y’all done for me as far as accepting me and appreciating me and my family. So I consider myself as a homeboy.
And speaking of the team, how’s the Snoop Youth Football League doing?
Oh, we’re doing real excellent in our sixth season. We’re doing great things. Some of the kids have been in our league for over five years and some of the kids have moved on to high school and some of them are on their way to college. We’re doing a great thing in the inner city. And it’s just working out to the best of our advantage with these kids in getting them to the next level.
Now, how do you coach them? Are you there all the time? Or do you coach remotely?
It’s like, in the beginning of the season, I’m usually there for like the first two weeks of training, to pick the team and get the guys together. You know, I may miss a couple of weeks and then I’m there for like four weeks in a row to get the team rolling and get the spirit right. And then I may leave for another two or three weeks, and then when the playoffs start, I’m there for every game on down.
You recently got hooked up to do Glastonbury. Is this the first time you’re doing that festival?
Yeah, it’s my first time doing it so I’m kind of excited. Looking forward to going out there and doing a great show.
Would you ever do Coachella?
I would love to do Coachella. Hopefully next year, they’ll get me in.
Just last month you released More Malice, which is following up your Malice N Wonderland album. This release features a movie that you produced with [Snoop’s company] Snoopadelic Films. Have you ever thought about making Snoopadelic films for the big screen, as a worldwide theatrical release?
Yeah, actually my next big album release for June 2011 will have a motion picture release to it. You know, I don’t want to talk about it too much right now, but it’s going to be very, very, very, very different and dynamic and mass appealing. It’s something that people wouldn’t expect from Snoop Dogg, but they’ll want to love.
Tell me about these “USDA” Snoop Picks reissues that you’re doing with Priority. What else can we expect to see in the coming months?
Well, what I’m doing is re-releasing this great music that established Priority Records as one of the greatest record labels of the hip-hop era. And I just wanted to bring some old records back to peoples’ attention, who may have forgot or who may have never heard of these people. Some people don’t even know how great this music is. I know what it is and what it’s supposed to be, so I’m putting it out, continuously coming back to back with great music from down South and the No Limit era, from the West Coast era, from the East Coast era, just in general, great music. So I just wanted to drop those records and let people know what this label is that I’m over here representing.
Speaking of hip-hop legends, I know that Guru from Gangstarr recently passed away. Were you close to him at all?
Yeah, I had a song I did with him on one of his records called “In This Life.” I was real close to him, you know what I’m saying? He was a real personal friend of mine, a soul that’s definitely going to be missed. He made great music and he was a positive influence in hip-hop and a great man.
You’ve got so much going on, I guess my question is, what’s next for you? What should we be keeping an eye out for?
I’m trying to open up a chain of “Snoopermarkets,” you what I’m saying? You’ll have supermarkets, the grocery stores, and you know, they’ll sell everything from produce to clothes to music to appliances. I want to have one of those stores with everything under $20. I want to call them “Snoopermarkets” and put ’em around the whole world.
And where you going to start off at?
Don’t know yet. Somebody come through and help me out. Where you at?