Snoop Dogg switches gears for gentler "Seduction"
By Gail Mitchell
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - When Snoop Dogg hit CNN's "Larry King Live" February 1, the segment may have brought into focus everything that's working for the rapper-turned-singer these days.
For starters, his electro-funk, '80s-influenced new hit, "Sensual Seduction," played in the background as Snoop took the talk show host to the Los Angeles hangout Roscoe's Chicken & Waffles.
The track is shaping into one of the fastest-climbing crossover hits of his career. After just 14 weeks on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, "Seduction" resides at No. 8, and claims the No. 7 rung on the Hot 100. The song's clever, retro-themed video is reaping its share of attention on the usual video channels and, perhaps more important, is a massive viral hit on YouTube. The heat the single has generated pushed the release date for Snoop's new Doggy Style/Geffen/Interscope album, "Ego Trippin'," up from May to March 11.
'I DON'T CATEGORIZE'
Also present on that King segment was Snoop's charisma and charm. When King ordered an "Arnold Palmer" -- a mix of lemonade and iced tea named for the golfer who drank it -- Snoop immediately coined "The Tiger Woods" (lemonade and water). And when King was shuffled off by his handlers, Snoop eyed the talk show host's substantial leftovers and asked for -- what else? -- a doggy bag.
"Larry is live, down to earth," Snoop says. "A lot of people were like, 'This is going to be awkward: an old white guy and this young black man.' But it felt natural, like we've known each other 40 to 50 years. I get with people, do s--t with people. I don't categorize anyone, so everyone feels comfortable with me."
Snoop Dogg (born Calvin Broadus) has been full of surprises during his 15-year transition from gangsta rapper to lovable mainstream artist. That he's been able to tweak and have fun with rap's tough-guy image without losing street or mainstream credibility -- despite well-publicized run-ins with the law over weapons and drugs -- is a singular accomplishment.
Snoop attributes his career evolution to simply being a smart "PIMP": Player Into Making Progress. Continued...