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Who Says You Can't Teach an Old Dogg New Tricks?

By Josh Freedom du Lac

CDNOW: With the Peanuts comic strip retired, you gonna miss Snoopy?

Snoop Dogg: Aw shit, I didn't know they was retiring. Damn.

He was a good man, Charlie Brown. Anyway, how'd the Eastsidaz project come together? Why a trio?

Snoop Dogg: I just felt like it was the thing to do. We all was seasoned, and they needed to be in the game. Being up under Master P as long as I've been -- he's the best businessman, and he taught me how to do business -- I felt this was the proper time.

Were there any challenges in recording a trio record that you don't get doing a solo album?

Snoop Dogg: There's going to always be challenges. Every time we come out, we want it to be the best record we've made in four years, you know what I'm sayin'? But it was easy, because everybody can carry they own weight.

Tray Deee: We know what Snoop expects from us, and we didn't feel like we needed to compete with him; he let us shine equally. We didn't feel like we needed to change anything, either -- just keep bringing forth what we're known for, which is spitting hard gangsta lyrics. And it fell into place; it was a natural progression for us to be a group, because when we rap together, we rap like we're one. The main challenge was tocome out with something to introduce Snoop's new label to the world. He put a nice weight on our shoulders that we don't mind carrying.

What's your favorite trio of all-time?

Snoop Dogg: Damn -- probably UTFO.

Goldie Loc: I liked the Westside Connection; they was banging. Also, the Fat Boys [laughs]. They used to kill me, man.

Tray Deee: A Tribe Called Quest. It seemed like Tribe always had fun with what they was doing and vibed off each other. Q-Tip didn't try to be Phife; Phife didn't try to be Q-Tip; and Ali Shaheed kept the beats on point. They had a nice career.

What, no Crosby, Stills, and Nash?

Tray Deee: [Laughs, and laughs, and laughs.] How about the Allman Brothers?! Wait, there was more than three of them.

You should give props to Crosby, Stills, and Nash in your next interview.

Tray Deee: Yeah, then they'll be like: 'OK, what was your favorite song of theirs?' 'Uh, 'Still of the Night'?'''

Seriously, how about the Beastie Boys?

Tray Deee: Oh, man, I love the fucking Beastie Boys -- all the way from "Paul Revere" to that damn digital shit, "Intergalactic." That was the shit; they had heat like a motherfucker. I liked that they never tried to be black or nothing like that; they were just a white rap group, and they were successful at it.

Tray, is the plan to have both you and Goldie Loc come out solo after this?

Tray Deee: Yeah, my solo album will be entitled 21st Century: The Ice Age. Look for that in maybe August or September; a little bit after, you can expect Goldie to drop Second-Hand Smoke Kills.

Will there be another Eastsidaz album after that?

Goldie Loc: We might give y'all another Eastsidaz album every year or every eight or nine months. Or, we might concentrate on my solo and Tray Deee's solo, and help Snoop bringout his album after this. There's a lot of things we can do.

Tray Deee: Really, we just laid the groundwork for the label. We wanted to try oursuccess together as a group and see what the public wanted from the Eastsidaz after that. It's up to the public to decide if they'd like the Eastsidaz to do another album.

Snoop Dogg: Just trying to put DoggHouse Records in motion.

What else will the public see from the label?

Snoop Dogg: I've got a female West Coast group called Doggie's Angels coming out in summertime 2000.

Tray Deee: There are also plans to bring out RBX and CTO, Soopafly, Nate Dogg -- a whole roster of talent. We want to make DoggHouse the largest label of the millennium.

Snoop, what's going on with N.W.A? Is there still going to be a reunion album with you replacing Eazy-E?

Snoop Dogg: Yeah, we're still kind of just talking right now, but I believe that's going to get worked out. It would be like a dream come true more or less. But, you know, I'm just going to try to do my best and make sure I handle my business musically like I'm supposed to. An album with Dre might happen before the N.W.A project, though. I'm just stayin' busy.

You've sold more than 10 million albums in your career. In rap, that's a monumental number; but for a pop star like Mariah Carey, it's all in a year's work, give or take a couple million. Do you ever envision the day when rap is so dominant that the top MCs will regularly post sales figures that rival those of a Mariah Carey?

Snoop Dogg: I think it is the dominant thing now. That's why people like Mariah Carey have to incorporate it into her music, because it's the biggest thing moving.

Do you pay attention to numbers? With DoggyStyle, you set a record for one-week sales, but you've since seen it surpassed by a few other artists, including Garth Brooks and the Backstreet Boys. Do you want that record back?

Snoop Dogg: Nuh-uh. I didn't even trip when I got it; I'm just trying to make good music, so I don't even focus on that aspect of it. Making the good music is all we really into it for.

Well, what gives you gratification if it's not seeing your sales figures? Is it just making a good record? Winning awards? Hearing a car next to you bumping your stuff?

Snoop Dogg: Yeah, yeah -- that's better than the Grammys and all that shit.

It seems like that might even be better than having fans dap you up, since they could be frontin' when they talk to you. When they're banging your records, they're doing it just to do it.

Snoop Dogg: Yeah, like you ain't really faking the funk -- you really just enjoying it. I like that.

It must trip you out when you roll up next to somebody and hear your music, then look over and see a mom in a minivan or some shit.

Snoop Dogg: Uh-huh -- exactly, exactly [laughs].

Can a project like the Eastsidaz have widespread mainstream appeal? Or is it more for the underground?

Tray Deee: We're actually receiving a good response from a mainstream audience, as well as the underground. I think rap fans know this is something that was well put-together; it's not something where somebody said, "Let's throw this together and make us some money." We put our heart and soul into creating it. And people are able to hear it through the music, and one man's word is going to spread to the next man to the next woman to the next child. There's songs on there for everybody. I think it'll do well as the word spreads.

Well, it should be a smash because, as your song says, "Pussy Sells."

Tray Deee: Oh, you know pussy sells.

What's up with that skit where Snoop says, "I don't play basketball -- I play bitches"?

Tray Deee: That's big. People always mention that. It's something he needed to do. He's a fool. But we had fun working with him. It's a blessing for us, being able to get together and collaborate and talk about where we really came from without feeling like we might be censored, or worrying about if it's OK to say this. Of course it's OK. Our CEO is a gangsta. You can't go wrong if you're a gangsta, and your CEO is a gangsta, too.

Snoop, do you remember about the first few years after you first came out on Deep Cover? There was so much hype, so much success -- and so much drama, too -- that it might have been a blur.

Snoop Dogg: I really don't remember those times too much. I'm having so much fun now doing what I want to do and being able to work with who I want to work with. It's freedom. I have a whole lot of room to breathe. That makes me a better artist, creatively.

How would you say the game has changed in the eight years since you came out?

Snoop Dogg: It's a lot more money involved now. It's just rappers able to make money; you have more opportunities now, like being able to do movies. When I first came out, we were doing songs for soundtracks. Now we're not just the soundtrack; we're also the movie. We have a 90-minute Eastsidaz home-video movie we're putting out in April. All three of us are in it. It's about betrayal, deceit, honesty, and trust. I really can't explain it; you have to see it. It's a good little 90-minute movie.

What about big-screen stuff?

Snoop Dogg: That's what I'm getting ready to do right now. I've got a trip to Canada on March 1 to start shooting Bones, a big movie with New Line Cinema. I'll be over there for two months. It's a horror movie, and I'm the star.

If you're the star, I guess that means you won't get killed in the first two minutes, then.

Snoop Dogg: [Laughs] Ah, you never know. Might be five minutes