Snoop Dogg Enlists Stevie Wonder, Pharrell for 'California Roll' Video - Rolling Stone
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Snoop Dogg Enlists Stevie Wonder, Pharrell for ‘California Roll’ Video

Time-travel clip pays tribute to rapper’s home state

The video for Snoop Dogg’s Stevie Wonder-featuring “California Roll” has finally arrived, packaging the rapper’s latest tribute to his home state in an elaborate time-travel vignette. The track, which also includes vocals from Pharrell, serves as the opener to Snoop’s 13th album, Bush.

The video opens with moviegoers filing into a Los Angeles movie theater in 1946, with an art deco-styled poster advertising the track’s title. As the audience takes its seats, a robot appears from behind the curtains and introduces himself as the pilot, taking them on a journey to the future.

The passengers (including Nia Long) buckle in for the adventure’s rocky start, before things get real smooth. As the theater scene shifts to a black background, Pharrell, dressed in an elegant long robe, and Wonder appear on a gleaming pyramid to croon about the opportunities available in the Golden State.

Snoop himself then joins in, driving a flying yellow convertible above the pyramid-studded Hollywood Hills, with Wonder riding shotgun. The easy-going track flows along with the mind-bending visuals, punctuated by Wonder’s distinctive harmonica lines. 

In an interview with Noisey, the video’s director Warren Fu explained the concept behind the clip. “Because it was three superstars I was aiming for ‘event video’ vibes,” he said. The kind of pop culture thing like when [Michael Jackson] would shut down prime time for his premieres. My initial concept was a spin on Star Tours. It was Pharrell’s idea to make the LA futuristic-Egyptian hybrid, and Snoop’s idea to make the actual ride take place in the Forties — which then takes them on a journey into the future.”

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