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U Should Know Better: Snoop Dogg's most unexpected collaborations

You don’t rack up 1,471 recorded appearances by being particularly judicious.

Whether as Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion, DJ Snoopadelic or Snoopzilla, Calvin Broadus, Jr. has assembled quite the catalog over his career. Seemingly always down to offer a verse, Snoop has worked with nearly everyone that has passed through the world of hip-hop and R&B over the past three decades.

But as we all know, it hasn’t been all ‘Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang’ and ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ when Snoop teams up with studio collaborators; he’s had more than his fair share of lukewarm Hot Pockets. Apparently, AOL, Overstock, and Chrysler commercials alone don’t pay the bills.

So while we eagerly await 7 Days of Funk, his collaborative album with G-funk specialist Dam-Funk, we present the head-scratchers of Snoop’s collab-heavy discography.

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ROBYN

While Robyn might not be the only famous Swede Snoop Dogg has shown an interest in, it was still a surprise to hear the rapper’s silky turn on 2010’s ‘U Should Know Better’. Robyn laid her interest in American rap bare on 2005’s self-titled comeback, and who better to help solidify that than the Doggfather himself? It was a surprisingly smart move for Snoop too, and was honestly refreshing to hear him sharing the mic with a European pop sensation who didn’t end up weighing down bargain bins six months later. ‘U Should Know Better’ stands as one of Snoop’s better ideas, and a collaboration we wouldn’t mind seeing happen again (Hint, hint).

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GORILLAZ

The least unexpected of the lot, it wasn’t exactly a massive surprise when Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s Gorillaz roped in a guest spot from Snoop on ‘Welcome to the World of the Plastic Beach’. He was arguably the most high profile guest star on 2010’s sprawling and ambitious Plastic Beach, and lent a peculiar sparkle to the project. Albarn had tangled with rappers plenty of times before, but for all Del and DOOM’s credibility, getting Snoop on board was just the kind of excess he needed to push the project into overdrive. Snoop called back the favor on 2011’s Doggumentary, enlisting Albarn to help out with the embarrassing ‘Sumthin Like This Night’. He probably should have let it lie.

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DAVID GUETTA

This particular collaboration is remarkable for a number of reasons, and not just because French EDM tosser David Guetta gets to lord it up with our protagonist. No, what’s most amazing about ‘Sweat’ is that it was originally written and recorded (and amusingly titled ‘Wet’) for Prince William’s bachelor party. We’re not even kidding – Snoop wanted to give the Royal couple “a little something,” and that little something was eventually manhandled by Guetta and transformed into an ugly electro-dance monster. We all know that Snoop’s an open minded guy, and he’s hardly the first rapper to get blinded by the bright lights of the European club scene, but ‘Sweat’ is a particularly sticky reminder that it’s not always a very good idea.

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BOYS NOIZE

We knew he liked “EURO TEKNO,” but this is just ridiculous. Last year, Snoop featured on Boys Noize’s Out of the Black cut ‘Got It’, proclaiming that he “been had it, and still got it” over a wobbly beat that sounds like ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ as reinterpreted for Beatport’s electro house charts. “We recorded the vocals on the toilet,” says Boys Noize. Lost in translation or not, it shows.

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QUINCY JONES

At least this one makes a bit of sense: back in 2010, Snoop featured on a cover of Brothers Johnson’s 1976 single ‘Get the Funk Out Ma Face’ for the Quincy Jones’ Q: Soul Bossa Nostra, a sorta-tribute album to the production legend. Call it payback: Snoop’s ‘Dogg Collar’ samples Michael Jackson’s Q-produced ‘Baby Be Mine’ (and we’re sure there are some more Jones samples in Snoop’s catalog).

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WILLIE NELSON

Now here’s a meeting of minds that should have been inevitable, given both Nelson and Snoop’s predilection for expensive vegetation. Snoop gives the country veteran (as well as, bizarrely, Johnny Cash) a sincere shout out, and Nelson reciprocates by singing the chorus of ‘My Medicine’ – we’ll leave it to you lot to guess the lyrical themes. The two ended up becoming firm friends, and this wasn’t the last time they ended up sharing a joint together. The two legends broke bread again on 2011’s ‘Superman’ and on 2012’s ‘Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die’, and Snoop has been caught performing live with Nelson on a number of occasions. We can only assume they found some common ground to smoke on.

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DARIUS RUCKER

Before finding a second career as a country singer, Hooter and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker tried his hand at contemporary, adult-oriented R&B… with middling results. A quick play at easy credibility, Rucker brought in the Dogfather for infidelity kiss-off ‘Sleeping In My Bed’, with Snoop cooing some ad-libs and a heartbroken verse alongside Rucker’s uneven crooning. Snoop hasn’t made it onto any of Rucker’s country albums, but we wouldn’t rule it out as a possiblity.

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KATY PERRY

The wide-eyed pop tart teamed with her fellow Californian for ‘California Gurls’, her disco-pop confection dedicated to the Golden State. Snoop’s late career simplicity is pitch-perfect for the earworming hit (“Homeboys bangin’ out / All that ass hangin’ out / Bikinis, zucchinis, martinis / No weenies”), and he even turned up in the Candy Land-inspired, whipped cream-blasting video — can you blame him?

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NÜ METAL

We can’t blame rappers from getting caught up in that whole nü metal thing. We’ve all tried to collectively forget that Method Man appeared on Limp Bizkit’s ‘N 2 Gether Now’, for example. But Snoop’s turn on the band’s ‘Red Light Green Light’ is just unforgivable. As it says on the tin, Results May Vary. At least when Snoop appeared on a track with Staind (in 2011!), someone had the sense to limit it to a Japanese bonus track.

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COMEDY

It could be argued that much of Snoop Dogg’s more recent output could be considered comedy, but the rapper has indeed indulged purposefully from time to time. He got comic failure Jamie Kennedy involved with the avoidable ‘Girls Girls’, but had a little more luck dropping in to help out SNL’s Lonely Island with the mildly snort-worthy ‘Turtleneck & Chain’. Still these two comic turns pale in comparison with Snoop’s bizarre appearance on the lead single for Bollywood comedy movie Singh Is King. It seems as if Snoop’s involvement itself is comical enough for the video producers – he just throws down a few interchangeable lines about kings and fast cars and it’s job done. We can’t help thinking it might be nice to see Snoop broaden his horizons – maybe an appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm or Louie is just around the corner?

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