When I was told Snoop Dogg would be opening the doors to his compound (yes, compound) for a “Mary + Jane” press day — well, it was an awesome surprise. I wanted nothing more than to go to the “Up in Smoke” tour when I was a freshman in high school, but my mother responded with an unwavering “Hell no!“, so now that I am a grownup, the first thing on my list would naturally be going to Snoop’s house — excuse me, compound — to have a little chat, the first chance I got.
Be cool, I told told myself during the drive down. You’re just going to chat about the new MTV series “Mary + Jane” — This is your actual job, you’ve done it once or twice before.
Except this time it was going to involve one of the show’s producers, Mr. Snoop D. O. Double-G. One of the most influential rappers of all time. A force to be reckoned with in the hip hop game ever since he appeared on Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic” in 1992. Tha Doggfather. Half of “Amerikaz Most Wanted” alongside the late great Tupac Shakur. The man who now runs an entire empire branded after his own unique personality, style and talent. One of the creators of West Coast G-Funk. The dude responsible for getting everyone and their mom saying, “Doggy Fizzle Televizzle.”
Holy shizzle. Deep breaths.
Driving up to his compound, I gave my name to security and passed through the electronic gates. I can’t tell you the exact location of Snoop’s house, but know it’s in an area of Los Angeles that constantly gets the shout-out on all his tracks. I saw five G’d out cars parked in a row, including a tricked out Steelers tailgate bus. From Street View, the brown structure looks like an office building — I could’ve driven by a hundred times and never had a clue it was Snoop’s compound.
I was led inside to wait in Snoop’s game room. Aside from the plentiful array of food and beverage options, there were two full-sized, personalized Skee Ball lanes, a Snoop-styled foosball table and an entire arcade of video games featuring Snoop’s iconic mug.
Upstairs was the casino. A darkly lit, Rat Pack-era room overlooking Snoop’s NBA-sized basketball court. Just thinking about all the people who might’ve gambled in this room made my heart flutter. Maybe Snoop’s “Training Day” co-star Denzel Washington? Eminem? Martha Stewart?
As I discovered during our interview, Snoop knows everyone. Mention any celebrity’s name — Whoopi Goldberg, Willie Nelson, “the only person to ever smoke [me] out,” and even “Buffy’s” Seth Green: “Great guy. He looked out for me and my family in Australia!” — Snoop has a personal anecdote to share about everyone, and they’re all awesome.
On the way to the bathroom, I passed Dr. Dre’s personalized Lakers jersey, framed on the wall; around the corner, I caught sight of an entire painted mural of Snoop going all the way down the long hallway. I didn’t get to see the decked-out gym, pool or the rest of the grounds — which apparently include a guesthouse, among other delights — but before I could get disappointed, I was led through another door … and introduced to Snoop.
We sat on white leather seats and couches. The walls were painted bright green, and the massive room included a full bar and kitchen area. Unlike the rest of the compound, this room was sparsely decorated: A transient-use space, to be transformed and used for whatever venture he’s currently working on.
The 44-year-old Snoop was rocking an asymmetrical, navy blue cropped hoodie over a bright blue t-shirt, dark grey jeans, gold-rimmed sunglasses and black slippers. We were joined by “Mary + Jane” creators Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont, along with the show’s two lead stars, Jessica Rothe and Scout Durwood.
After locating an ashtray — of course he puff-puff-passed throughout the entire interview, a joint rolled from his own Merry Jane weed (strain: Bubblegum!) — Snoop offered me a hit and said, “What a job this is! I’m ready when you are, babe. Is everyone ready?”
Was I ready? I was. The show is called “Mary + Jane” and it’s about pot dealers, so my icebreaker was to ask about everyone’s first experience with weed.
“Being from California born and raised, once I got introduced to it, it was the cultural high that was cool,” Snoop says. “A lot of people want to dibble-dabble in pills, cocaine and drinking, but weed was cool with everyone. It was a way to unite everybody. That was my perspective on marijuana when growing up.”
Snoop says he first got high when he was 10 or 11 years old. He fondly remembers a moment with his uncle, who would smoke joints all the way down on a roach clip.
“When he left the room, I went and picked that motherf****r up. It was a dry hit — you know your first hit is a dry hit. I was trying to do like him,” Snoop says, as he imitates a deep inhale, smiling with satisfaction. “Yeahhhh.”
Kaplan, who also grew up in Los Angeles, remembers a similar experience with her father. Since he was a surgeon, they smoked on a hemostat, a fact that thoroughly impressed Snoop.
“Damn, that’s what your pops had? That’s some gangster shit.”
Snoop credits California’s environment for having the best weed.
“The grass, the air, the palm trees … Florida is getting better, Colorado is the new weed heaven, but certain parts of the world you just don’t get nothing good. I’ve been around the world and aye yai yai — but California? Best weed in the world.”
Dragging the focus back to “Mary + Jane,” Snoop — who guest-stars soon — says, “All my homegirls, and all my celebrity friends, want to be on the show. They don’t know the season [finished filming]! But there’s a much (excuse the pun) higher purpose to the show, and its concept, beyond simply trading on California weed culture.”
“It teaches sisterhood,” Snoop says, describing Rothe and Durwood’s relationship on the series: “That’s not being taught on TV anymore, shows are brainwashing women to argue and fight. [‘Mary + Jane’] shows women do know how to work together — and they’re not going to let a man dictate how they feel.”
Hearing these words — from a self-proclaimed “professional pimp” — was pretty awesome. And when I finally worked up the courage to ask for a photo with Snoop (I mean, I had to), he asked, “Just one? Let’s take a whole bunch!”
Be still, my heart. Snoop Dogg is so chill! Maybe it’s because he’s always super high, but either way he’s an extremely generous and good-natured human being. (He is also extremely tall, 6’4″, if you were wondering.) The entire “Mary + Jane” crew are a great bunch, and Snoop not only clearly respects their work, he is happy to be a part of the team.
I didn’t want to leave the compound!
I was encouraged to hang out as long as I wanted afterward — partially, I think, because they didn’t want me driving home immediately after that interview — but whatever the reason, I was happy to hang out. Who wouldn’t be?
When I finally left later that afternoon, I listened to Snoop and Tupac the entire drive home, nodding and rapping along.
Up outta there, ain’t nothing but a gangsta party…
“Mary + Jane” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.