It surely couldn’t have been a cheap hire but if Doritos wanted a performer who embodies the sentiment behind the company’s bold and bigger new style of “Jacked” chips, they might not have been able to make a better choice than Snoop Dogg. Along with a stage setup of live drums, bass, two synthesizer keyboards, one DJ, three hype men and sometimes rappers, three backup dancers, a costumed man with a big dog mascot-style mask on his head and a diamond-encrusted microphone, Snoop Dogg brought a lot of flavor to Thursday night’s Doritos and Maxim Magazine-sponsored South by Southwest event, running through hits with style and ease.
He opened with “I Wanna Rock,” 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.” and “Smoke Weed Every Day,” moving in and out of classic and contemporary hits of his own and ones on which he’s been a featured artist. At times he got a bit cheesy, too, slowing things down to woo the ladies of the audience as he did with Akon‘s “I Wanna F–k You” and the classic “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None).” Or, like when he gave Doritos an onstage shout out, saying, “Big ups to Doritos! I’ve been eating Doritos since 1970-something.” But throughout it all, the Doggfather stayed charming and exciting as the audience ate up every word he spoke. For Snoop Dogg, surely, the munchies couldn’t have been far behind, as he and his crew smoked several large blunts onstage throughout the set.
The event itself was a bit bizarre and surreal. A four-story vending machine holding oversized prop chip bags was setup in downtown Austin with the stage inside of it, taking up about half the space. There was a red-carpet entrance where muscled men in sleeveless T-shirts and women in platform shoes and beehive wigs stood around for hours, modeling with an oversized boom box and bag of chips. Free mixed drinks were served in big gulp-style cups until they ran out. Comedically oversized sunglasses were being given away free, and people were wearing them. Rapper Mystikal opened for Snoop Dogg, closing his set with the 2000 hit “Shake it Fast.”
Perhaps the night’s most sincere moment was also its broadest, when Snoop Dogg started into Wiz Khalifa‘s “Young, Wild & Free,” saying he’d written those words for people like those in the audience who often don’t “have a chance to be heard” or “express themselves.” And in that moment, everyone was together, hands in the air, singing along, just like the Doggfather said he’d wanted.