Snoop Dogg had a busy Saturday at the first-ever BET Experience, a weekend-long event at Downtown Los Angeles’ L.A. Live. During the day, the rapper took part in a panel entitled No Guns Allowed, and at night he headlined the Staples Center, topping a strong bill that also included Kendrick Lamar, Miguel, Schoolboy Q and a standout set from J. Cole.
For Snoop, playing a huge part in the event was only fitting in his home town. "I just love having fun and BET doing the experience out here, the whole two or three days – they always say I’m the king of the west coast, what other way to prove it?” he asked Rolling Stone after the panel. "Lay out the carpet and drop the roses as I step."
The panel that started Snoop's day was an important one for the rapper. "No Guns Allowed is an initiative I started myself. I got with the league of young voters and we came together with BET. It means a lot we can actually stand up and say something that matters," he said. "So much gun violence and negativity and issues with guns, for us to stand tall and really mean it feels good. It shows you that hip hop has really grown and is growing in different reaches and places that it never thought it could.
"Once I realized how much power we had, it’s only right to start using my power to say things that are positive and matter in the right way."
Having transitioned from rap superstar to one of mainstream pop culture’s most recognizable figures, Snoop saw the effect he was having on people. "I think seeing all these gang bangers follow me in the wrong way, seeing them think it’s cool to do the gang banging and see them taking my music and my expression the wrong way . . . when I saw the power I had, as far as leading people in the wrong direction, I wanted to take that power in the right direction," he said.
Onstage at the Staples Center later in the night, Snoop reminded everybody of how he became a star in the first place, delivering an hour-long greatest hits set that saw a cavalcade of guests onstage with him, none bigger than longtime producer and cohort Dr. Dre, who joined Snoop for "The Next Episode" and "Nuthin’ But A G Thang." "Make some mother fucking noise for Dr. Dre in the house," Snoop called from the stage. As the crowd obeyed with a frenzy, Dre walked off, first saying, "I appreciate the love."
There were plenty of other guests on hand, from Future and Trinidad James to Wiz Khalifa. Snoop noted earlier in the day that he was going to be having some fun. "Tonight I get to perform at Staples Center, the Lakers’ home stadium. It’s my first time actually tearing the roof off the mother fucker," he said. "But I’m gonna do what I does because I feel like it’s only right."
He intends to follow up the night with a different kind of good time. "Tomorrow at the BET Awards, I get a chance to bring in Charlie Wilson," he said. "He’s getting a lifetime achievement award; I get to perform with him as well. So it’s gonna be a beautiful situation."