Rap Icon Snoop Dogg, recently released his highly anticipated gospel album, the “Bible of Love.” This is Snoop’s 16th album and marks the first release from his new imprint, All The Time Entertainment (RCA Inspiration).
A 32-track double album, “Bible of Love,” features performances by Snoop and an all-star lineup of artists handpicked by him and its co-executive producer, Lonny Bereal, who also performs on the record.
In addition to “Bible of Love,” Snoop will be releasing more music through All The Time Entertainment, which he established to provide greater opportunities for gospel artists. He is also planning a “Bible of Love” stage production.
The Los Angeles Sentinel caught up with Snoop for a one-on-one interview at his office/studio compound in Inglewood, California. Snoop talked about his new album, marijuana legalization, the Snoop Youth Football League and gang culture.
LA Sentinel (LAS): Your album released this week, “Bible of Love,” tell us how Snoop Dogg fell into a gospel album and how this came about?
Snoop Dogg (SD): Well if you know anything about Snoop Dogg, his music is spiritual in many ways and he has always dibbled and dabbled in the gospel world as far as having a message with the music that I make. But for me to take my time and say I want to make a whole project dedicated to Gospel music and grab some of the greats in gospel music and put them together with a team of writers and producers and a bunch of artists who may have been overshadowed or thrown out or looked at crazy. But giving them all a second opportunity to come back and to speak volumes for the music and the spirit of the music and the direction that we took was love. The whole project is about love that’s why I chose to call it, “Bible of Love,” because we preaching from different bible. We not preaching from the Bible of hate and love we preaching from the Bible of straight love.
LAS: Would you consider this a one-off because you did the Reggae album… will there be more of Gospel (music) from Snoop in the future?
SD: I think so, I play it by ear, I am an audible kind of quarterback. I can call a play but I could get to the line of scrimmage and could change it up. This felt right. I was in the middle of a gangsta’ a** record when I decided to do this, deep, heavy into it too, gangbang music.
LAS: Do you think that was part of it, like an experience or calling? Was it God, was it a moment?
SD: I think it had always been in my heart but I had always put it in the back of my mind. So now I had put it in front of my mind and that made me hurry up that gangsta’ project…but when I got to this, I felt a breath of fresh air like it was no stress or no pressure. I didn’t have nothing to be expected, nobody is expecting me to do anything in the Gospel world. But when I put a rap record out, if it don’t go platinum or do this or do that, than it’s not up to expectations. This was like, I am not going to be judged off the sales of this, it’s the feeling I am trying to give you. And if it feels good to you than it must be good for you.
LAS: Collaborations, producers, who can we expect or who all should people look out for on this album?
SD: Oh wow…Faith Evans, Kim Burrell, Patti LaBelle, Rance Allen, The Clark Sisters, Marvin Sapp, Mary Mary.
LAS: Music today in general, what is your feeling of that? You are Uncle Snoop, off-line (before interview) you were face-timing Chris Brown, so obviously people look up to you but what do you think of music today, a lot of people calling it mumble rap and times are changing but Snoop is probably the best one to give us his opinion?
SD: My opinion is music has always been the young generation’s game, they hold it, it’s theirs, they control it. I remember when I was young, they did not like my rap. They bashed me, they ran over my CD’s, they villainized me because of the music I made, they didn’t understand it. But my generation understood it. The people that grew up with it understood it, it was for them, it wasn’t for you older people, it wasn’t for you people over here. So, I revert back to that and say well their music is for their generation. They are speaking volumes to the people that are loving it and buying it. That’s their language. If you do not speak their language the best thing you can do is get a translator or get out the way and let them do what they do.
LAS: Do you think the young Snoop when they were stomping on those albums would kick it with this Snoop now who is doing the gospel album? Would young Snoop have listened to you?
SD: It’s the same person. It’s still me, didn’t nothing change. It’s the same exact make-up of that person then and that person now because he’s a genuine individual who loves to love. He would have said that back then but he didn’t have the platform to say it. His platform was Death Row Records, gansta’ rap, fresh-out-of-jail, ex-drug dealer, let me tell this story because this is the story right next to me. The gospel story is a testimonial story, I had to be tested in order to give you a testimonial. I hadn’t been tested yet. Now I have been tested.
LAS: What is your favorite gospel album or artist?
SD: Probably one of The Clark Sisters albums. They cold, I can’t believe I know them.
LAS: Being in the studio with Snoop, we know how you vibe out and everything, did they (artists) come into your element? Did you meet them half way? How was the vibe with a lot of different artists?
SD: Every artist is different so no two artists are the same. Tye Tribbett wanted to do his thing this way, Fred Hammond wanted to do his thing this way, John P. Kee wanted to do his thing this way. Charlie Wilson wanted to come in here and we had to run it down to him and explain it to him and make him understand it and do the thing for him and then when he finally killed it, it’s like, ‘Charlie, you killed it!’… ‘you did that!’… I work with Charlie, so me and him have that relationship where I can go hard on him because he go hard on me. But some of the artists I had to get out of the way and let the gospel producers and all of them work with them and then I would come in there (studio) afterwards and listen … because some things was meant for me to get out the way.
LAS: It was a collaboration but you had final say.
SD: I had final say but I am not the type of boss that’s like, overwhelming. I didn’t want to hear my voice on every song. I didn’t have-to-have input on every song. If the song was a hit, the producers will tell you … If it’s not broke don’t fix it. I hate overproducing, I hate overdoing stuff and a lot of times that is what happens when you got a producer, he will produce a track and you say you like the track and all of a sudden, (the producer says) ‘well, let me mix it.’ (I say) Where did all of these bells and all of this other stuff come from? (Producer says) ‘I had to mix it.’ (I say) ‘No you didn’t, it wasn’t nothing wrong with it, leave the song alone.’ I go with feeling. I come from the school of Dr. Dre and when we worked with cuz, he went on feeling. If he felt it, that’s that. We ain’t going back to it, that’s it. You got to feel it because if you feel it, then you (Snoop points to other people in room) gone feel it.
LAS: Marijuana is legal now, what are Snoop Dogg’s thoughts on that? We know it didn’t really change nothing for you but what are your thoughts about that now, living in a time where it was crazy to see somebody doing that and now it’s the norm?
SD: It’s a business, it’s definitely a business. But what I would like to see happen is everyone that is incarcerated from marijuana in states where its legal should be released, and that (marijuana charges) should be taken off their record. Because if people are prospering off the money that are making off of it and creating a business, why is this businessman being locked up for the same business that you are doing that he created before you got into this game? This is what I’ve come to find out, there are more fortune 500 business men, CEO’s in jail, than there are on the streets because most drug dealers had that mentality, trust me.
LAS: We have been speaking with local councilmen and that is a big discussion because a lot of the shops unfortunately are not being owned and operated by us (Black people) or people that look like us and as you said, most of us are locked up for it, we are the master chef’s.
SD: How many of us own alcohol companies? How many of us are at the front of the liquor stores? Remember Eddie’s Liquor stores that use to be in every hood, none of us had ownership in that, none of us have ownership in the alcohol per say, so just flip that market with this market. This (marijuana) will be the new alcohol. Some of us need to have our hand on the product and the store and the location and the real estate and everything.
LAS: Do you want to see more rap artists do Gospel music?
SD: I just want to see rappers do what they are great at. You may not be great at what I am great at. That’s the difference between me and you. Do you, don’t do me. I think Chance the Rapper did a great job with what he is doing with gospel and rap because he can, he comes from that, he understands that world. It shouldn’t be, ‘Well Snoop did it, I got to do it.’ Nah, this ain’t that. A lot of things I do, you should do, but this is one it shouldn’t be like that, it should be in your heart to do it.
LAS: Netflix is doing a documentary series with you, tell us about the Snoop Youth Football League and your focus with the youth?
SD: Snoop Youth Football League, we started in 2005 in the inner cities. Since then we’ve put over 1,800 kids in college. We have three that played in Super Bowls, actually won Super Bowls. Eleven in the NFL right now as we speak. One Rhodes Scholar on his way to London right now, graduated from TCU. We have a host of lawyers, firemen, police officers, doctors, they came up out of my league that are productive citizens in their community. So we’ve done a lot of great work and a lot of times we didn’t spotlight it because when you are doing community work and non-profit work, you don’t do it for cameras so a lot of times people would be like, ‘why you never’? ‘Because that ain’t why I did it.’ So now that we are actually able to shoot a season of me coaching football and people seeing I am actually a real coach, I am hands-on, I go to practice, I call the plays, I deal with these kids. Now they see the work that Snoop Dogg does so now it’s like you cannot classify it as now he, no, look at what he’s been doing. Now he is finally making a record to support what he’s been doing in real-life.
LAS: So you have always been spiritual, your relationship with God is good?
SD: Put it to you like this, if my life was a record, my life would be more in gospel world than the gangster world. If you just say ‘spin the record, spin Snoop Dogg’s record of life right now,’ all the great works and the things he does and that he’s done, being a peacemaker, do you know how many wars I stopped in rap? …I am in the forefront of all that confusion.
LAS: You’ve assisted former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck in bringing peace and truce between gangs in L.A. What do you feel about gang culture today, we know it (gang-banging) was part of your thing but the youth today, Uncle Snoop, Big Snoop could reach out to them, what do you say to these kid’s gang-banging?
SD: First of all, we didn’t get no rules or regulations, we just had bylaws and laws. Some people broke them, some people bent them. There’s really no structure. NBA has structure, NFL has structure. Gang-banging and hip-hop have no structure. You can be your own boss, be your own leader, call your own shots. Go to the NFL and NBA, it’s an owner, it’s a commissioner, it’s a coach, n**** it’s a pecking order. And I don’t mean to be in a slave mentality but we just need protocol. We don’t answer to nobody and that’s our problem. It’s because we need protocol, we need structure, like we need a commissioner of hip-hop.