Gig Review and Pictures: Snoop Dogg performing Doggystyle at Lovebox, London – 16/07/2011

Saturday night, in East London, Snopp D-O Double-G came to town and sent an ode to hip-hop in all its x-rated, visceral glory.  This was gangster rap, the b*tches, the violence, and the bravado all rolled together in to a set that entertained and excited.

As the sun began to set over Victoria Park, with De La Soul finishing up, the atmosphere started bubbling up.  Lovebox festival, this year was even more of a cultural melting pot than usual; and all were trying to get in to the first two rows at Snoop.  From the Ninja specialist fly-kicker in the orange jacket, to the metro-sexual white t-shirt tighter than latex guy with glitter round this face, and many a lovely hip-hop fan everyone wanted a glimpse of the main man.

Around 9:25, the video screens went on.  Snoop surrounded by girls… we were moments away… 9:31 more video, Snoop chillin’ with some chicks in a hottub… 9:36 screens still rolling, Snoop in a limo with some Union Jacks on the front… I wondered if this was going to be a “live via satellite concert”.  Then finally some, some movement “I rock rough and stuff with my Afro Puffs!”  Lady of Rage hit the stage and an instant reminder of why this gig was going to be special.  Snoop Dogg playing Doggystyle, and he remembered to bring his friends!

Yes the supporting cast was there, however from the moment he wondered on stage, in a yellow over-sized tee and trademark pig-tails there was only one star.  Snoop, supported by a who’s who of West Coast rap, shuffled through the hits from Doggystyle with class and bravado.  Snoops ultra laidback demeanour is a direct juxtaposition to the atmosphere he creates.  Gin and Juice, and What’s My Name were full of passion.  His band adding an edge to the flavour out by the DJ (no appearance from Dr. Dre though).

There was a lot of video support, some of which was very graphic, especially the intro for Murder Was The Case, which featured Snoop shooting his girlfriend through the head at point-blank range. But this was a celebration of West Coast rap before the record label execs monetised it, and Snoop did not shy away from its controversial nature.  Anyone expecting the lollipop Snoop of Beautiful was in the wrong place.

One notable omission from the line-up was Nate Dogg, who sadly passed away in March this year.  The tribute was short and fitting; a moment of silence as they played Nobody Does It Better.  Immediately followed by his trademark, “when I met you last night baby…” and the 20,000 strong crowd erupted by singing (OK, by shouting) along.  When Kurupt sneaked on stage to play his part, you could feel Nate smiling down in adulation and appreciation.

Warren G on stage performing Regulate, classic after classic being pounded out this was hip-hop at its best.  Doggystyle is 18 years old and Snoop has released many a tune between then.  These were not entirely forgotten. His choice to perform one of the weaker songs, I Wanna F**K You, was quickly forgiven as three incredibly hot, voluptuous girls in bodysuits and thigh high boots came on stage, moving hips and wiggling in all the right places.  Snoop clearly looking please with himself.  P.I.M.P  near the start built things up nicely too.  There was a nice balance between the old and new.

Despite the overblown and self-indulgent videos stealing a lot of pace from the show, this was a great ode to hip-hop from an age gone by.  Songs like those on Doggystyle will never be made again, they were created before rap became the formulaic money making monster it is today.  Thankfully, some of the pioneers are still around to remind us how Hip-Hop/Rap used to be.  More shows like this and the scene will be better for it.

Rob

Ps. Pics to follow… hopefully, camera malfunction so hoping

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