Rap Interview

EXCLUSIVE: Rap Icon Snoop Dogg Talks ‘Bible of Love’ Album, Gospel Music, Church Upbringing, Naysayers, More

Some may call him Snoop Doggy Dogg, Snoop Lion, Uncle Snoop, Coach Snoop, but the world views him as a hip-hop legend. Almost three decades ago, the Long Beach native introduced himself to the world and evolved under the guidance of hip-hop producer, Dr. Dre. Snoop Dogg has come a long way since the early 1990’s. Along with rapping, he added record producer, television personality, actor, football coach, spokesperson for gin drink, Tanqueray, and more to his lengthy resume.

Now, Snoop is taking his music career into new realms by producing a gospel album, entitled Bible of Love, with producer Lonny Bereal. The project is also the first release on Snoop’s independent label, All The Time Entertainment.

‘Bible of Love’ is a 32-track double album, featuring several heavy hitters including, Kim Burrell, The Clark Sisters, Patti Labelle, Faith Evans, K-Ci Hailey, Mali Music, Tye Tribbett, Charlie Wilson, just to name a few. It was released on Friday, March 16th and already received positive reviews from critics. The album exemplifies Snoop’s diversity in music and willingness to step out of his comfort zone. While recording the LP, it hit home for Snoop in a spiritual sense. It’s a project that Snoop is proud of, which is why it’s close to his heart.

Back in Long Beach, California, Snoop was first introduced to gospel music by his beloved grandmother, Dorothy Tate. Hence, it influenced him to record a gospel album during these trying social times. Snoop said, “As the country is in one of its heaviest times and is so divided, I wanted to make an album that spreads love and unity around the world.”

Rappersroom.com conversed with the Doggfather of Rap about the new album, tapping into gospel, the next phases of his career, and more. Check it out!

Granny’s Favorite Track off The Album: She would probably like the Patti Labelle record, “When It’s All Over.” She sang that song, and she didn’t like the playback at first. She wanted to do her parts over, and I’m like, “Sorry Patti, we like them just the way they are.” You are special. Patti was like, ‘I’m down with what you’re doing with this project.’ She could’ve been mean about it, but she was sweet as ever.

Granny’s Influence: I think she saw my ability to be an MC. Back in the days in church, we had to give speeches and plays. We would also have to be George Washington Carver or Benjamin Banneker in church. Black churches put you through the ringer [laughs]. Black churches are crazy. But, real talk, it got me ready. I have to give a shout out to all of the Deacons and Ministers that handled me because they seen something in me. They would ask me to lead songs in the choir, and I didn’t have a strong singing voice. Ricky Harris (RIP), him and I went to church together, and we would have to act together. Ricky Harris was on my first album, Doggystyle, doing the skits. When we did that, everybody in the church was happy. It shows you how God works. The church didn’t care about the secular music; they were just happy that we made it in the game. Know the person inside before you start throwing rocks at them. You only know my music but you don’t know me, do you?

Biblical Verse that Snoops Stands By: It was the one that said, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, Jesus Christ ….” It was John 3:16. That stuck with me because there were always decisions that needed to be made at any given time. When I started hanging with the gang bangers, hanging with the drug dealers, got my first gun, there were decisions that needed to be made in the streets. Now, I wasn’t that type of dude that would do it three or four times. After the first and second time, I got that part because I heard that voice. As I grew up, I look back on a lot my homeboys that are dead or locked up. They didn’t have that scripture or voice, and they kept making that wrong decision over and over again. That voice made me realize that you can make another decision and be fine with your decision.

Thoughts on Gospel Music, The Genre: I think Gospel music is the best genre in the world. Hands down, from the artists and musicians. You never see a gospel artist lip-sync, miss a beat, or off-key. They are the most inherited singers in the world. One thing about Gospel music is that they can sing it from the church to the streets to the car or wherever they’re at singing. But, they’re singing about God, and they’re singing to the Lord. So, why wouldn’t you put a spotlight on that? But, they rather spotlight someone on drugs, killings, shootings, just negativity. But, I said let me see if I can work this Snoop Dogg light by reaching out to some of the most extraordinary singers you’ve ever heard in your life. We’re bringing this to a city near you! It wasn’t just a record; it was a movement. I’m excited about my projects, but this one right here I get to do what I really love and learn more about me.

Snoop’s Mother’s Reaction While Recording the Album: It’s funny. I played the record for my Mama, and she was like “I’m not impressed.” She was like, ‘I told you were going to do this years ago.’ So, she was waiting for me to record this album. In a cool way, she was happy. But, I understood what she said. My mother said for years; you were doing your thang, now you’re doing His thang, so I knew it was going to happen. It has to be on His time and not on your time.

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Journey & What’s Next: I don’t know where it’s headed. I take it day by day. I believe that the plans I’ve been making lately has allowed me to reach the end zone whether it’s community service, coaching with the kids, or correcting ex-gang members to do the right thing and change their lives around. I can help them become mentors and coaches and encourage kids to not enter gangs. We don’t put cameras around the community work that we do because we genuinely love what we do.

Bible of Love Album: A Testimony: I believe this album is like a testimony, but it’s not a complete testimony because I am always tested. This is just a testimony that you’re getting from the next portion of my career. I did this record on my own label; a label didn’t tell me to come out with an album. I didn’t want a label to tell what kind of music to record or what people should be featured on the album. This is a great project because some many people are trying to find their way back at home. And the church is supposed to be the place that is most welcoming in the world.

Definition of Love: Hmmm, my definition of love is the best religion in the world. It’s like do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But, at the same time, bring positive energy instead of negative energy. Never allowing the negative to become bigger than the positive. Always keeping peace and love at the forefront of everything. Don’t allow your attitude or ego to become your amigo. My love method is I’ll even the score but doing something positive. With love, I have to show better than I can tell you.

Receiving Criticism from the Public due to Reputation in Hip-Hop: I didn’t really care about any backlash from the public. I did it for spiritual reasons. It was not a money making project. It was a spiritual project, and my spirit was in the right place. So if I’m getting backlashes, your spirit is not right. If your spirit was right, you will welcome someone like me who came from where they came from in life. Maybe he’s reaching people that other people can’t reach. Maybe he is doing the things that God want him to do. When I think back on the bible, Jesus was in the streets, mixing it up with the “real” sinners. No one sits in the church with no flaws or imperfections. So knock it off, man! I’m prepared because I come from the hood and church. This project was ordained by my grandmother, so I have the spirit of an elder. I know how to communicate to elders in a way they would understand where I’m coming from. It’s all due respect with no disrespect.

Not Compromising Your Work as a Hip-Hop Artist: It doesn’t affect anything; I just dropped an EP, 220, money-making day, for my neighborhood. So, it don’t stop from doing what I’m doing. The person is what matters, not the creativity. My life is not based on me being a gang banger or drug dealer. My life is based on making it, giving people opportunities, giving back, finding ways to help others and being a better father, husband, and person. I’m enabling people to find themselves because I am an inspiration. I’ve been giving this gift, so this is the gift that keeps on giving. What kind of gift would I be if I was selfish? I have to put out things that make you think and look at ourselves. Why are we looking at Snoop Dogg? Are we doing the things that we’re supposed to be doing? Don’t do my job, do your job.

Having Strength to Perform during Hard Times: I cry, I’m sad, I have issues, problems; I’m human. I have problems like everyone else. But to people, Snoop Dogg is a superhero with no problems. I’m natural just like you. There are times when I’m on stage, and I get some bad news like someone died in the family or just bad news. I’m performing on stage when all I really want to do is cry. But, I stay focused. It’s like when you’re on the job, and you hear some bad news, you still have to do your job. Then, on your break, you’re crying but when you get back to work. And people ask ‘What’s wrong with you, and you’ll say nothin’ I had something in my eye.’ I want people to know I am emotional or I can shed a tear. I’m not tough all day; I like to be emotional and tap into that side.

Playing Your Role as An Artist During Trying Times in the World: Well, in the music industry, I’m Uncle Snoop. I’m everyone’s uncle because they’re expecting me to give them something positive. I looked up to my uncle as a youngsta; he was a wise man. He would give me instructions. He would say all of the right things; he will never go rob or go steal anything. He was like “boy, get back in the house, you betta not.” But, I’m not that type of uncle. I’m that type of uncle where I’m going to sit on the porch, chop it up with you. I would say what I have to say, and they would say, “Ight, unc, nice talking with you, I appreciate you for talking to me.” Then, I say, no problem, anytime, I got your back. I’ve grown into that because I understand my role. You have to understand your role and make it your own. I’m not a young MC anymore; I’m Uncle Snoop. I deliver my messages with understanding, and I try to speak their language. And if I don’t know their language, I’ll just listen.

Who Snoop Reaches Out to for Advice: Glad, you asked. There are a couple of people. One, Minister Louis Farrakhan. He doesn’t preach religions; he preaches love and life. He never tries to make you a Muslim or do anything. He accepts you for who you are, and he loves you. He’s my big brother; he never judge or criticize me or get me do anything that I didn’t want to do at all. The only thing he did is gave me constructive criticism. Another person is Charlie Wilson. He is very influential in my life. Let me tell you how God works. When God put Charlie in my life, he was smoking crack in a rehabilitation home. And the lady that worked with him brought him into the studio with me. We were smoking weed, and she would say, “Could you please not smoke in front of Charlie?” We were like man, we’re not listening to you, so we’re smoking in front of him, being disrespectful. A year went by, and Charlie married this lady, and she became his wife. Not only was she his counselor, she was his wife. And I watched her change my uncle to a whole new person. He was strong, his vocals got strong again, his hair started growing, face cleared up, and drug-free. Everything started happening for him, and we started respecting his lady. We seen the work that God was doing for him through her and now they’ve been married longer than me and my wife. My wife and I were having tough times, and this is why I love him so much. He knew we were having tough times and he was like “Here’s what you do, renew your vows.” I was like we got married already, why renew them again? Charlie was like, ‘listen to me, we’re coming out of your house, we’re going to do X, Y, and Z, have Teddy and Guy because she loves them, walk on stage, cut the music off, and you’ll say, Shante, I want you to marry me again.’ Man, it was so beautiful. I was so hard-headed and egotistical, but he put me in place. It’s hard trying to do everything by yourself. It looks easy but it ain’t easy. You need a lot of help. But, you have to be willing to receive and get checked. When people get to a certain point in their life, they feel like they can’t get checked.

Snoop and Charlie’s Chemistry in the Studio: Our chemistry is crazy because we love to check each other. If my rap wasn’t hard enough or dope enough, he would tell me. He’ll say, “Nah, nephew, I think you can do better than that.” And I’m like what you talkin’ about, I’m Snoop Dogg. But, I will listen to him. I criticize him the same way; you have to have someone who’s tough on you and really loves you in the industry. They know when you’re at your best and worst. Sometimes, people let you get away with anything because they’re not concerned with you. When someone really cares about you, they will never let you go under the bar. Charlie Wilson is the only person other than Dr. Dre that I hate working with in the studio. I can never get it right with them because you can do better. But, I can’t do better, this is all I have. And they’re like no, you can do better.

Family’s Reaction After Hearing the Album: My family be trippin’ when it comes to my music. They’re behind me, but at the same time, they don’t understand me. They’re like you did a gangsta record, and now you did a gospel record. It’s hard for them to understand. They just ride with the flow, and whatever I do, they’ll support the music. I needed support more than anything; I don’t need extracurricular. As a creative artist, it’s hard to create a good album when your wife is upset, or there is a bad vibe in the house. When your spirit is not right, your music is not right. It’s a spiritual record, so I had to make sure my spirit was right. My family gets out the way when I make music so there won’t be any spiritual conflicts.

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Weathering Storms with Shante (Snoop’s Wife): She is a strong black woman. First and foremost, to deal with Snoop Dogg, you have to be strong. She is my backbone, and she understands what’s real. She’s a Boss Lady that sits back and collect the revenue.

Meaning Behind the 32 -Track Album: It wasn’t intentional. We didn’t know how many songs were going to be on the album. We’re just writing songs. I’m like a rapper, and it’s great when you have the kings and queens of gospel music featured on your record. They want to roll with me. I’m just trying to make a positive record. When I made gangsta music, the church doesn’t say anything. But, when I make a gospel record, the church has something to say.

Supernatural Moments While Recording the Album: Man, Kim Burrell. When she hit a note, oh my God! I ain’t never heard a note like that ever. When she hit that note, we all just looked at her, just amazed. Kim Burrell is fantastic. I can’t believe she was in my studio.

The Track That Touched Snoop: There is a song called “Sunrise,” and I cry every time I hear that song. There are just certain parts: “Blessed and Highly Favored,” or “Second Chances Come with Every Sunrise.” The song is so heavy, and it just touches my spirit. That’s the record that touches the most. There are some great songs but “Sunrise,” talks to me the most.

Selection of Artists: Well, I can’t take credit for everything! Lonny Bereal is the Batman to my Robin. A lot of suggestions and creativity came from him because he knows this gospel world better than me. I trusted him because he comes from that world. He made sure that we had all of the right people for this project. With me being who I am, Lonny’s direction, and the spirit of God, it was hard to say no to this project.

Snoop Not Featured on Every Record: I didn’t want to be on every record. I wanted this project to be about the great musicians and artists that were on the album. I feel like I am an orchestrator and this project will show how I brought all of these beautiful people together. The key to this thang is bringing people together. Now, we have a conversation as opposed to you have money, and I have money or everybody mad at each other. We’re all people; let’s sit down and get some understanding.

More Inspirational Works: God is good all the time, that’s why I called it All the Time Entertainment. We have a lot of projects coming up. We are creating projects for gospel artists who didn’t get a chance to be apart of this project. I wanted to have a label that creates gospel music. We have Lonny’s project, and then I’m working with The Williams Brothers. I’m just trying to reach out and do different things in the gospel world. I want to do what feels good to me. It has to be a project that I can stand on and say I did it for this reason and I love it.

Stream and Purchase ‘Bible of Love’ below:

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