Gig review: Snoop Lion, Glasgow O2 Academy

Snoop Lion: A slick hip-hop set, despite his late arrival. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Snoop Lion: A slick hip-hop set, despite his late arrival. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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IS HE Snoop Dogg? Is he Snoop Lion? Or is he, as his most recent release 7 Days Of Funk would have it, the mighty Snoopzilla?

Snoop Lion

O2 Academy, Glasgow

Rating: * * *

There have been questions of late regarding the stage identity of the man born Calvin Broadus Jr. But the most pressing question at around 10pm on the night of his Glasgow gig was: is he even in the building?

Patience was in short supply in the hot, crowded venue as time inched on, technicians tinkered and each new track which didn’t herald Snoop’s arrival was roundly booed.

At least when he did finally saunter onstage with his bling microphone and indoor shades, he and his band made the most of the time available to them with one of the slickest sets in hip-hop.

Despite his laidback-to-horizontal demeanour, there is generally no messing in a Snoop performance. As soon as his man mountain minder was stationed in front of the speakers, the bass was whacked up and the party began. Hope that guy brought his earplugs.

Snoop Lion was first out the traps. This brief flirtation with Rastafarianism was little more than an expedient alter ego for last year’s reggae-flavoured album Reincarnated. Following the bone-shaking dub delivery of Here Comes The King, he went back in his cage.

Snoop was always more vulpine than leonine anyway. Snoop Fox may not have the same ring but, whatever the name, he has helmed a pretty varied catalogue of reggae, funk, rap, pop and R&B over the past two decades, all laid out like a tasting menu across the next hour.

One thing most tracks shared, however, was bass, heavily cranked up for a serious club atmosphere but occasionally such a din that the subtleties of the funkier backing tracks and even Snoop’s persuasive, velvety rap on Gin And Juice were lost.

Lurching towards curfew, there were hasty tributes to Biggie Smalls and Tupac, a karaoke singalong to Joan Jett’s I Love Rock’n’Roll and cover of Jump Around, all warming up to his own fiercest groove Drop It Like It’s Hot and his funky debut Who Am I (What’s My Name)?

Given that he still observes the Jurassic tradition of handing out passes to “all the sexy ladies” to join him backstage after the show, the answer to that final question is surely Snoopzilla.

That sort of dubious practise should be extinct by now.