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Snoop Hits The UK
Brad Sanders , May 18th, 2011 06:30

Talks Willy Nelson: "We both like to do the herbal essence"... and is that a dig at Tyler The Creator?

Once banned from entering the UK – a fact that his handlers made abundantly clear was off limits for questioning – rapper Snoop Dogg has made his triumphant return to London as a part of a series of British tour dates supporting his latest studio effort, Doggumentary.

The hip hop icon was warm and inviting in a Tuesday press conference held at Platinum Lace Gentleman’s Club near Piccadilly Circus, even if the circumstances of the event itself were somewhat at odds with the gangster persona he perpetuated for so many years.

In typical Snoop fashion, the promised 3:30 p.m. start time was roundly ignored as the singer sat in a lounge adjacent to the room where the conference was to take place, with countless drinks and scantily clad ladies disappearing into the room while the press waited for his appearance.

Once he finally emerged, though, Snoop was clever and engaging through nearly an hour of restricted interrogation from about 30 London media outlets. He sat on a giant white throne and talked about the UK’s embrace of hip hop when it was still maligned stateside, making music with the aid of marijuana and making babies without it, and friendship with Charlie Sheen (he popped round for a chat when the barmy star was in full "tiger blood" mode), plus his reaction to Odd Future's accusations that older rappers have lost the plot.

The Quietus asked Snoop, who was a singer before he was ever a rapper, how his recent collaborations with country legend Willie Nelson came about and what inspirations he took for his unusual vocal approach to those tracks. His answer was unsurprisingly articulate and deferential:

"Willie Nelson is an original. One of the greatest musicians ever to do music. I fell in love with his music as a kid, you know, hearing it for the first time, and once I was able to make records, I found that we like the same things. We were in the same circles. Willie got long hair with braids. We both like to do the herbal essence. Willie likes making music that feels good to people, so we represent the same kind of things. So it was a natural cultivation for me and him to come together and make some music. I wanted to work with him. He was willing to work with me. We created a song that was in his vein. I didn’t want to make a hip hop song and put him on it. I wanted to do a song from his world, and have me come to his world because I respect his music and respect what he’s doing. Just to show the versatility of who I am as an artist, I wanted to reach and do something that was different than rap. That’s why I did it."

Lest such reverence make people think Snoop has lost his edge, he ended the press conference by responding to an accusation by Tyler the Creator (as channeled by a London journalist) that older rappers have lost touch with the kids by perhaps appropriating some of the lyrics from 'Sandwitches' and, er, evading the question: "Hip hop is in a great place, and if you disagree, suck a fat baby's dick."