He's taking on the position of an educator.
Arguably, Snoop Dogg's recent release I Wanna Thank Me is one of his best records of the last decade. The rapper dropped his 17th studio album early Friday morning and almost immediately, the rave reviews began to pour in. The Long Beach, California native made sure to stay true to his West Coast sound that has served him well throughout his career, but he managed to create something new that all generations of his fans could enjoy.
The veteran rapper also made sure that woven into the boastful lyrics of I Wanna Thank Me was a message of unity in street culture. This was prompted by the untimely and tragic death of Crenshaw rapper Nipsey Hussle who was gunned down in front of his Marathon Clothing store in March. "It's like I'm always filling a void," Snoop shared with Billboard about his latest effort. With nearly three decades under his belt in the industry, Snoop said he needed to assess his next moves carefully.
"I was thinking to myself, 'Where do I fit in the rap game?'" he stated. "I ain't that young, fly rapper no more. I'm like a great uncle to a lot of these rappers now. They’re sending me songs and trying to be a part of this too, so I’ve got to welcome that because they’re the future. They’re the ones who control the game right now. And for them to want to do records with me keeps me relevant, keeps me still in the realm when young kids hear my voice instead of 'Who is that old-ass man rapping?! He needs to sit down somewhere with a cane, rest in peace.' Hell no to the no no no!"
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It's difficult to believe that anyone would dismiss Snoop's talents just because of his age, but the rapper takes it in stride and recognizes he has a new mission. "I also have to educate, elevate and innovate all at the same time," he said. "Before rap, 50 was young as a musician. But once rap came in there was a cap on the age, like you can only be 30 and then you're considered old and washed up. Nah … LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Will Smith, there's a lot of brothers who penetrated that world and diversified their portfolio by doing things other than rap. But rap is their foundation. And I wear it well. I got my OGs like Ice-T and Dr. Dre who look good at 50. They let me know that I can roll with it and do what I’ve got to do."