If there’s one rapper who’s going to give a candid, brutally honest opinion, no matter the resulting controversy — actually, especially if there’s some controversy involved — it’s 50 Cent. So naturally he seems like the ideal person to ask about Snoop Dogg’s bizarre transformation into Snoop Lion, a reggae singer with a Jafakin’ accent and Rastafarian leanings. But, in a recent interview with The Hollwood Reporter, 50 didn’t take the bait. Well, maybe a little.
"It’s interesting," 50 said. "Of course, there will be some people who connect to it and there will be some people that run from it — I don’t know how his little league team’s parents will feel about his new persona. But again, it’s a persona — these are the choices he’s created for himself creatively. And, you know, I think it will work."
50 added that he thought that Snoop’s metamorphosis could be relatively seamless because of hip hop’s — and Snoop’s — long tradition of celebrating the high life. "Snoop’s always been that," he says. "In the very beginning, that was his consistent theme — he had the weed, and everything else was there. [But] for hip hop culture, it will work, because there’s enough of that going on. Wiz Khalifa, his entire theme is that. I've consistently seen artists sell 500,000 copies with that as a theme: Redman, Method Man, Styles P."
50 even shouted out Afroman and his 2001 hit single "Because I Got High." "I saw someone sell a million records when Afroman spoke to the younger college demographic — 'I was going to do my homework, but then I got high,'" he says. "It just changed it up — it just felt like there was a humor to the way he chose to write it and it had a stronger impression and effect, because the kids liked to laugh at it."
And Fif knows all about taking creative risks. In 2010, he announced he was releasing an album entitled Black Magic that was inspired by the “Eurodance” sound popularized stateside by artists like Usher and Rihanna. In the end, however, he veered away from the experimental direction and went back to the grittier sound that he broke through with, which is what listeners can expect on his upcoming album, Street King Immortal.
"It doesn’t make sense — and that’s why you’re never going to hear that album," he says of the shelved Black Magic. "I have things that I really appreciate that belong in my iPod — my iPod only — and leave it there."
The jury is still out on whether Snoop Lion should do the same.
To check the rest of 50’s interview with THR, in which 50 also discusses Get Rich or Die Tryin’ and actor Johnny Depp, click here.
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(Photos from left: Daniel Deme / WENN.com, Craig Barritt/Getty Images)