Snoop Dogg Is the Jackson Pollock Of Our Time

text by Alex Scordelis / photography by Dan Monick
When the history books are written, centuries from now, they will undoubtedly say that the greatest Renaissance man of our era was Snoop Dogg. He's been a titan of the rap game since he rose from the LBC in the early '90s; he's appeared in silver-screen classics from Training Day to Soul Plane; he's launched an online marketplace for artists (; and now he's picked up, of all things, a paintbrush. Happy Socks, a Swedish brand, noticed Snoop's newfound love of painting and colorful socks on his social media accounts. (He has about 4 million Instagram followers and almost 12 million on Twitter.) The Swedes asked the Doggfather if he'd be interested in a collaboration, and being a man of many talents, Snoop soon added "sock baron" to his résumé. We entered Snoop's doggy dogg world to discuss his burgeoning career as an artist. For the record, he lit up a joint as soon as he sat down and smoked three over the course of this interview.

Snoop, I noticed you left half a blunt burning in an ashtray in another room, and now you're smoking a new one. Is that something you do -- leave blazing blunts in your trail?

Yeah, 'cause I knew someone else would hit it.

You're like the Johnny Appleseed of weed.

That joint's like the motherfucking torch at the Olympics. I know somebody's gonna fuckin' grab that motherfucker and run with it.

So the designs on this new Happy Socks line are inspired by your paintings. What motivated you to start painting?

Just being bored, man. I wanted to come up with some other kind of expression, other than my music. I think that music doesn't always take you in depth to let you know what's truly on my mind or what was in my heart. But a picture sometimes takes you more in depth on what a person is emotionally going through. I wanted to have a different lane that would not conflict with the music or conflict with the tv and the acting, but that could stand on its own.

I read that you were in Australia when you took up painting.

Yeah, in Australia, at the Versace seven-star hotel, $15,000 a night.

I didn't know a hotel could get seven stars.

That's 'cause you're not a player. Check your game. Elevate yourself from Motel 6, Best Western.

So you started painting in Australia at the Versace hotel. Give me a typical day in the life of Snoop the painter.

I'm usually on the road, traveling, and I may have six or seven hours of downtime before the show. Or I'll paint on an off day. Or if I'm in another country, if there's something about the country's different view, like if I'm in Berlin or Lebanon, if I'm in Greece or Spain, if there's something about that particular place that inspires me to want to paint, I'll send my guy out to get canvases, paint and some brushes and I go to work. Or a lot of the time, I'll be in a hotel room and I'll see a painting on the wall. And I'll say to myself, "Damn, that shit is dope." And it'll inspire me to go. But when I go, I don't do just one; I do like... [turns to his manager, Kevin] What's the minimum I do, Kev?

Kevin: Four to five, every time.

I just be on a straight binge every time, like, boom, boom, boom. All the way. Then when I finish, if I'm smoking -- which, I'm usually smoking -- my finishing touch is ashes or me just blowing smoke on the picture. Just give it that ambience. Then I just stand back and look at the shit. And I say, "Some motherfucker is gonna buy this piece of shit."

You're like Jackson Pollock. He used to drop his cigarette butts on his paintings.

He did?

He would paint with the canvas on the ground, and let the butts drop onto the painting.

Now that's my kinda nigga right there. That's amazing. What's his name?

Jackson Pollock.

Get some footage on him, Kevin. I'm gonna be the new him. I like that shit. Bunch of roaches on the motherfuckin' painting. Cockroaches and weed roaches. That's gonna be my next painting. The Life of a Roach.

So you get your inspiration from traveling around the world. And I imagine if you're in seven-star hotels, the artwork in the rooms must be high-end.

Yeah, then a lot of times when you go to these different countries, when you're driving to the hotel room, the scenery is like, wow. We just went to Croatia a week and a half ago, where they actually shoot Game of Thrones, in some big-ass castle. Just being there made me want to create some art. When I go back to painting again, I'm gonna paint a castle. And I'm gonna do a sword. And I'm gonna do a crown, for a king. Being on that journey gave me those ideas.

Your cousin, Joe Cool, he did the iconic artwork on your Doggystyle LP cover. I read a story that, back then, he had a drug problem, and you told him, "If you clean up, you can do the artwork on the album." Does art have a redemptive quality for you?

It can, because he's been off drugs for about ten years now, maybe more. Art is a healing mechanism. Through art, I can laugh, I can cry, I can celebrate, I can be down, up... There's no limits to my emotions when I'm doing art.

My last question: how do the greens enhance your ability to paint?

It gives me more vision, more thought process. They say you get paranoid when you smoke, so it's like, you really wanna make sure you're putting out some great work. I'm intense and I'm focused on what I'm doing, whether it's the color scheme or adding some sprinkles or even just a pattern. One thing about art, with paint, is that you could just throw some shit on the wall and make something out of it. So if you put your time and effort and focus into it, you can make something really creative. And I feel like when I'm on this [takes a long drag off a joint], it helps me stay where I need to be at. Ya dig?

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