Snoop Dogg

By now, your kids have dragged you out to see Turbo, another super cute animated film that focuses on the heart and soul of a little guy who could. And somewhere in the middle, you heard a familiar voice, scratched your head for two seconds and quickly realized that the slow-dragging voice of comic-relief character Smoove Move was, in fact, rapper Snoop Lion. (And how soon will the MC formerly known as both Snoop Doggy Dogg and Snoop Dogg simply reduce his name to plain Snoop?)

Turbo has amassed in excess of $111 million so far, and there’s more acting up Snoop’s sleeve. More music to come too. EBONY.com talks with the hip-hop legend about acting, music and ganja.

EBONY: What made you want to do Turbo?

Snoop Lion: I’ve wanted to be a part of a positive family movie for a while now, and the opportunity presented itself. Being able to watch a movie with my family and some of the kids from my Snoop Youth Football League has always been a goal of mine, and Turbo was the one movie that allowed me to do just that. Plus I liked the story. Snails get stepped on, and this is a story about a snail that stepped up to the challenge. 

EBONY: Are you a big NASCAR/race fan?

SL: I’m more of a football and basketball kind of person.

EBONY: If you were a racer, what would your race theme music be? And why?

SL: Probably something smooth… some Curtis Mayfield or something. People who are around me know that I always have smooth music like R&B and old school songs. It keeps me calm.

EBONY: Will you rap forever?

SL: I’ll rap as long as people want to hear it.

EBONY: Are you following the marijuana legalization debates? What’s your take?

SL: Legalize it! Jah Rastafari!!

EBONY: Can you see yourself doing any serious/dramatic roles? Or are you content doing voice-overs and playing the fun-loving, rapper-type?

SL: I would love to do a real serious type of role. People would want to see that, too.  I think I could play all sorts of characters.

EBONY: Who’s your acting influence? Which actor does it for you?

SL: I have a lot of influences. I’m going to say Antonio Fargas though.

EBONY: Who’s given you the best advice on navigating an acting career? What’d they say?

SL: The best advice I’ve ever got is to be yourself. Stay true to who you are and what you stand for and you’ll go far in life.

EBONY: Your career has evolved quite nicely. In the ’90s you made an instant classic beloved by fans of gangsta rap, and now you’re doing pistachio commercials, voicing cartoon characters and recording anti-gun PSAs with Drake. Talk about that evolution.

SL: Life is about growing and evolving. I feel like my life has been in stages, and the stages I went through when I was younger allowed me to grow into the man I am today.   I’m not at the same place I was at when I started making records, so why wouldn’t I make music to reflect that?

EBONY: What’s do you think your biggest achievement is, and biggest regret? 

SL: My biggest achievement is raising a healthy, happy family. As far as regrets, I don’t really have too many. Although I’ve gone through some things in my life that didn’t feel too good while they were happening, they allowed me to mature and develop into the man I am today. Those moments have taught me a lot. I wouldn’t be the same person if I hadn’t had those experiences. 

EBONY: You’re not Jamaican, yet you have an affinity and respect for the culture. What draws you to it?

SL: I’m drawn to many things about Jamaican culture. I’m a music person, so I’m drawn to the music first. Reggae is music of love. It has joy and pain, but it feels good.

EBONY: What’s next for you musically?

SL: The world will have to wait and find out.