10/2002 Complex Magazine

Thanks to Kathie Davis for the transcript.

SNOOP DOGG AND ANTHONY KIEDIS – THE COMPLEX INTERVIEW

P-FUNK, PORNO + POSITIVITY

Interview by BEN WHITE

Photography by ANTHONY MANDLER for aRT miX Agency

Snoop Dogg styling by APRIL ROOMET

Anthony Kiedis styling by LAURA DUNCAN

A recent survey found that only 23 percent of seniors in top American universities could identify the father of the Constitution (James Madison), while 98 percent knew that Snoop Dogg is a rapper.  Chances are, those students could also name the first rock star to appear onstage wearing only a dangling tube sock on his dick, Red Hot Chili Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis.  Either something’s wrong with America, or these two L.A. musical icons speak to our youth better than any history book.  Kiedis and Snoop met up with Complex in their hometown, not to talk about their latest projects—The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ recent album By The Way (Warner Bros.), and Snoop’s Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Boss (Priority), due in late November – but to take a look at their respective cultures, colleagues, and crisis.  We brought photos, images and a list of topics and let Snoop and Anthony do the rest.  The Complex interview reveals some strikingly common themes in the lives of these two Southern California boys who’ve reached the higher ground.

THE FAMILY TREE – COMPLEX CONNECTIONS

COMPLEX: Let’s talk about the connections between the two of you.

ANTHONY KIEDIS:  One connection I can be sure of is George Clinton.  Because in the mid ‘80s, our record company came to us and said, “If you could have anybody in the world produce your records, who would it be?”  We just shot for the stars and said, “George Clinton.” They said, “How do you want to proceed with it?”  We said, “Well, give us his number and we’ll call him.”  We called him.  We played him our music.  He’s like, “Move out to Detroit for a few months, we’re gonna make a record.”   We bonded with George for life and that moment, and became forever like his grandkids of some sort.  And many years later, Snoop would definitely take it to the next level or being related to George Clinton.  So there’s definitely that connection.

P-Funk influenced the Red Hot Chili Peppers in one way and they influenced the Red Hot Chili Peppers in one way and they influenced G-Funk with Dre and Snoop in a very different way…

SNOOP DOGG:  You got to understand that when George and them made music, they made it for everybody.  Around the time when they started making music, it was just R&R soul music, which was slow and love and “la-la-la-la” and “I love you baby.”  They came with some different shit—off the wall.  “Funk” was a word that was prohibited on the radio at the time ‘cause it [sounded] so close to “fuck.”  They opened up ears and new avenues for music, which cross-bred and brought everybody together by landing Mothership Connection.  That was a beautiful thing. [George Clinton] named me.  You know, the futuristic bow-wow… [I]t’s music like that that’ll never die, that’s gonna always be with me.

When did each of you first get turned on to P-Funk?

SNOOP:  A song they had out called “Knee Deep,” That was the first song that I actually heard seven days a week in my neighborhood.  It was like a 15-minute song—shit never went off.  It was so dope.  He even had one of the lead singers of the Spinners on the end of the song.  Just being able to have people like that—all of those working bodies and minds and souls and spirits on a record.  It sounded like an opera… I feel like if I had been making music in the ‘70s, I would have been in [P-Funk].  I would have been in the group, somewhere or somehow.  I would have auditioned for it, ran on stage or something [just] to be down with the crew.

ANTHONY:  You know, when Parliament-Funkadelic started… when they were popular enough to be played on the radio, they still couldn’t really get played on the radio, because black radio stations were like, “No, that’s too rock ‘n’ roll for us.”  And white radio stations were saying, “Oh, that’s way too black for us.  It’s just too funky.  We can’t play that.”  So, I mean, they were breaking down those barriers of categories and colors—they just annihilated that… And if there was a graph of a family tree and you started it with George Clinton, you know Snoop and my band would be related.  We’d be blood relatives.

SNOOP:  Yeah, Branches and leaves.

You guys both came from single –parent homes.  What do you see in this picture?

SNOOP:  My mom raised me and my older brother.  We had it hard, but we had it good, you know, ‘cause there is nothing like being raised by your mom.  You learn so much discipline.  I wouldn’t say that [not] having a father in the home hurt me.  I believe it helped me.  It taught me more respect for women in general, and respect for myself.  My mom was kind of hard on us, but at the end of the day, I see what it did for me and how I raise my kids and how I’m looked at and perceived in the world.  You know, single parents are a good thing sometimes, even though it’s not meant for it to be like that.  Sometimes, when you got Moms and Pops in the same home, they arguing and showing you shit that you shouldn’t see.  A single parent could take a lot of that negativity out and show you [the] more positive, so it’s a good thing.  This picture just symbolizes that—everybody is smiling and having a good time without the father being there.

ANTHONY:  I started off with Mom.  Until I was 11 years old, I had the single mom with the little sister.  And I would have to say that “mom” is probably the most underrated person on earth, in terms of an actual symbol of strength.  It’s like people look to men for strength because of the muscle mass and the bravado that men present themselves with, but quietly mothers go about running the world, in a way.  They are really the strong ones in the family—at least, in my experience.  I don’t think I would have grown up with the love I have in my heart if it wasn’t for Moms, because she was all about the love and the consistency and the unconditional… Dad is a little flakier.  Dad kind of comes and goes as he pleases.  I moved in with Dad [at age 11] and got this introduction to life on the streets as well as literature and art and music.  He was way more into that, so I thank him for introducing me to the arts and to the streets and to his insane lifestyle, which I got a lot of from… [I]t was a much more self-destructive energy that I was getting from my father, which, you know, is beautiful, but it’s hard to live through.  If you do live through it, I think you benefit from the experience and become a more interesting artist. But God bless Moms.

You both came up in the Los Angeles area, but I imagine you had very different experiences.  L.A. tends to be pretty segregated, right?

SNOOP:  I went to high school in Long Beach and I grew up in Long Beach, but I went to junior high in Lakewood… I went to Marshall Junior High School, and it was 60 percent white.  And, by me having friends like that, I would go to their house and they’d play different music for me.  MTV had just came out, and so I was seeing shit that the average black kid in the neighborhood wasn’t seeing.  That’s why I’m so open, and why my kids are so open.  The people that I deal with are about the music.  It’s all music and it doesn’t have any color on it.  The shit sounds good, you’re gonna move to it, and that’s what it’s all about.

ANTHONY:  [Los Angeles] is segregated on one level, but there are occasions where that gets defied.  I went to Fairfax High, which was the most multiracial school of all-time.  We had Russians and Chinese, black, Mexican, and Jewish—we had everything.  It was actually a kid in my 10th-grade class that brought in [P-Funk’s] “Flash Light” for show-and-tell and that was the first time I really focused in on P-Funk, and it was because there was this black kid in my school who wanted people to know that he was into it.

SNOOP:  That shit touched him so much he wanted to show-and-tell it!

ANTHONY:  And Flea and I were looking at each other like, “Fuck, we gotta get that record.”

SNOOP & ANTHONY: [singing in unison] La-da-da-dee-da-da-da-da-da-da-da…

Since we’re talking about family trees, what do you see in this image?

SNOOP:  I look at it like, where it all started from, you know—just a small little seed.  And being surrounded by so much positivity and so much energy, [it] couldn’t do nothing but grow up and be strong and be tall.  That’s the way I look at my career— as being around so many positive people [like] Dr. Dre, Masta P. And all the people that I had a chance to meet—George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Quincy Jones.  All these people that I met were in the game before me, and they shared the game with me… Being aware of those kinds of people, you learn how to grow and be like that.  That’s what this tree symbolizes to me—that being aware of other trees and being out in the forest and just being out in the world in general.  You’re gonna grow up and be something beautiful if you’re around beautiful people.

ANTHONY:  I see something that inspires us as human beings and, in turn, as artists: nature.  A great source of infinite amount of energy, which is where I think all music originates—in the sphere of energy that we tap into, whether it’s on the streets or whether it’s from nature.

LEGENDS – MUSIC AND INSPIRATION

Let’s talk about Louis Armstrong…

ANTHONY:  [laughs]

SNOOP:  Captain Louis.

ANTHONY:  First of all, to me he symbolizes the birth of music in America.  As far as where music is today, I think he got the ball rolling in a very real way.

You mean with pop music?

ANTHONY:  You could call it pop, you could call it funk, you could call it soul, you could call it jazz.  He actually had a band called the Red Hot Five.  When we named our band, it wasn’t after the vegetable so much as… the history of American music and where it came from.  That is what we felt a part of, so we called ourselves the Red Hot Chili Peppers… He also was very humble.  He [replied to] every single piece of fanmail he ever got.

SNOOP:  He just had a lot of heart and soul, you know?  Round that time, it was really hard for black people making music.  He never let that get to him.  He just continued to do what he had to do and continued to make good music that touched everybody… His music broke through that bullshit-ass time period.

ANTHONY:  Plus, you know, Flea’s first instrument was a trumpet.

How about Stevie Wonder?

ANTHONY:  I don’t think he’s done anything in the last 20 years that I [haven’t] found inspirational… [And} from what I hear, he freaks with the freakiest of the freaks.  He has a whole kingdom of women out there that he puts up and keeps as his girls… George [Clinton] used to have some good Stevie stories.  Like, he would call up [Clinton] in the middle of orgies and say, “Well I’m coming over so keep goin’.”

Sugar Hill Gang?

SNOOP:  First record I ever heard as far as rap is concerned.

ANTHONY:  Same.

Grandmaster Flash.

ANTHONY:  The first time I ever heard Grandmaster Flash And The Furious 5, it literally struck me like a bolt of lightning… I loved music, but I didn’t really know where I fit in.  Then I heard Grandmaster Flash.

SNOOP:  “The Message”?

ANTHONY:  Yeah… I went to see them at the Country Club, and I was like, “OK, all I ever want to do is do what these guys are making me feel with their rhymes, their beats, their presentation, and love for life.”

How about “Straight Outta Compton,” Anthony?

ANTHONY:  I remember when the Sex Pistols came out, when I was a kid and it was the late ‘70’s and I just knew intuitively [that] this was changing music forever…. I felt the same way [about this album].  I remember when I bought this record, I was in Florida with {Chili Peppers guitarist] John Frusciante in… ’89?  And I had just heard a snippet, and I was like, “We have to go find this record, N.W.A.” It was the only one left in the store, and we bought it and listened to it non-stop for about a year.  One of the things that made us get off was the creativity of it.  The stuff that they were sampling, the beats they were rockin’.  I felt the same way when I heard “God Save The Queen”….  And I didn’t realize how important Dre was to the band.  I was so hypnotized by Ice Cube, I didn’t realize that one of the quieter guys in the band was really the engine…. I would not have predicted him to become the standout artist that he is.

VERY BAD THINGS – SEX, DRUGS, AND THUGS

Snoop, how do you juggle marriage, pimpin’, and pornos?

SNOOP:  First of all, it’s all a business, and I’m not having sex in those movies.

I know.  A lot of people were disappointed.

SNOOP:  But they bought the tape and they money gone.  My wife understands that this is a business and I’m a businessman….  Everything that happens—she sees it, knows it, and understands it all.  It’s part of me trying to provide for her and my kids…. Because rap money is short money, so I got to do what I got to do to get what I got to get.

ANTHONY:  Cute girls.  Cute, cute girls.

SNOOP:  You ought to see the new tape!  We just shot a new one that will be out next month.  It’s called Diary Of A Pimp.

How about you, Anthony?  Got any good sex stories?  What’s your most bizarre love triangle?

ANTHONY:  Well, I’ve slept with a couple of girls that have slept with lone Skye….. I’ve been in bed with a girl and she’ll be like, “You know the last person I had sex with was your ex-girlfriend,” and I’m like, “Well, you don’t say!”

Let’s talk about drugs.  Anthony, you’ve heard Snoop is on the weed wagon?

SNOOP:  42 days.  No drinking, no smoking.

ANTHONY:  That’s cool.  I respect that a lot.

You want to give us an idea of why you did it, Snoop?

SNOOP:  After being on drugs for 10 years straight, every day of my life… drinking gin and juice, champagne, fuckin’ with bitches, just being wild, ruthless, and crazy—fuck it.  I got three kids, and my daughter softened me up.  It’s just me wanting’ to spend more time with my kids, wanting to be a better role model.  I seen a lot of people come before me—Bob Marley, Tupac, Jimi Hendrix—that left here at an early age.  I’m not saying drugs is the reason, but it had something to do with it…   Maybe it took something away from them as far as their years on this earth, and I ain’t trying to leave like that.  I had a lot of fun with it, and I don’t take nothing back, but as I get older, I get wiser and stronger.  I don’t need it in my life no more.  I’m trying to get high off of life and see what that feels like.

ANTHONY:  I’m blown away….  That takes a lot of courage and awareness to have that kind of epiphany at this point.  I mean, I’m not [an] anti-drug guy… because I had some of the greatest times of my life behind drinking and smoking and it worked for me for a very long time.  But when it stopped working and my spirit became dark as a result of getting high everyday, I was also lucky enough to walk away from it—and I had to get quite a lot of help in the process…  It wasn’t like the parties stopped, or my love for life or music or sex or creativity stopped.  It all actually go better and stronger…. Do you remember when I met you at the Hard Rock Café, and I was very happy to be in your company and the vibe, but I wasn’t smoking?

SNOOP:  Exactly.  And I was high as fuck.

ANTHONY:  Which is fine, but you must have thought that I was a fuckin’ alien.

SNOOP:  Yeah, ‘cause I was like, “Damn, I know this motherfucker gets high?!”

ANTHONY:  The blunts kept coming around, and I was, like, passing them on.

Snoop, let’s talk about this picture of you in court.

SNOOP:  That’s when I was in court for murder [with] a horrible feeling just written all over my [face]….  When your life is on the line—it’s like animals in Africa—they know that they could be taking a drink of water and some other animal is getting ready to eat them.  That’s how it felt—like my life was on the line.  That’s how it felt—like my life was on the line.  They was trying to give me life in prison [for] something that I did not even do…. I rapped about that kind of shit, so they just automatically thought, Fuck it, this is what he do.

Johnnie Cochran?

SNOOP:  He helped me get over the hump.  “If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.”  He’s a genius, man, because in the courtroom, it’s all about proving the benefit of the doubt.  You don’t have to be proven innocent, there’s just gotta be [reasonable] doubt in the mind of those jurors to say that you were innocent.  You know with this kind of guy representing you, he’s gonna show why you’re innocent.

A recent article in the L.A. Times accused Biggie of being responsible for Tupac’s death.  What do you think about that?

SNOOP:  Bullshit.  [Los Angeles Times journalist] Chuck Phillips need to eat a dick…. I’m from the West Coast, homey, you know what I’m saying?  And, I’m in the rap game in general, and neither one of these guys had anything to do with their deaths.  Biggie’s death was created from jealousy.  Motherfuckers was mad that he was still alive on the West Coast, and Tupac’s death was created from that stupid shit they did that night in Vegas to them people, and everybody out here knows that.

So it was an isolated incident in response to what Tupac did earlier that evening?

SNOOP:  Exactly.  Chuck Phillips, what he trying to do is get his name out there and create another East-West Coast war, which is not gonna work because the industry is about business and talking to each other…  So Chuck Phillips needs to eat a dick.  He was a friend of mine till he printed that shit….  How you gonna name somebody that’s dead for killing them?  Biggie’s dead and there’s nothing he can do to defend himself.  The L.A. Times shouldn’t have even printed that shit….  Let the police do they motherfuckin’ job.

Let’s talk about Suge Knight.

SNOOP:  He’s a bad seed and he needs to be out of the game.  When you got people who practice those old ways of business as far as robbing from people and then want to bully their way around, that shit’s not cool.  This game was meant to have fun.  It helps a lot of people out the ghetto.  It shouldn’t be all this negative, “I hate you and I’m gonna do this to you and do that to you.”  He’s a non-creative motherfucker.  When you think of him, you think of violence.  You don’t think of good music….  You automatically get scared and worried and concerned, and that’s bad for the business.

Suge is a pretty intimidating guy.

SNOOP:  No, he’s not.  He breathes just like me and you.  He bleeds just like me and you.  If you ever went to school and you had a bully at school, usually by the third week, some motherfucker slaps the ship out of the bully and the bully no longer exits.  That’s all it is.  Somebody just got to stand up to him, and I’m willing to stand up to him.  I’m not as big as him or as tough as they say he is.  But, it’s not about being tough.  It’s about being wise.  We have an opportunity to make money and be creative.  I’m an artist, so that’s why I feel we get to get him out of the game, because he is tearing the art of the game up.

 

HOLLYWOOD AND BEYOND

What do you think about the crossover from hip-hop to Hollywood?

SNOOP:  It worked with Elvis and all those other guys back in the day, so why not give us a shot?  I’m doing the Starsky & Hutch remake.  I’m playing Huggy Bear.

ANTHONY:  Oh wow.  Huggy Bear used to come over my [dad’s] house when I was a kid.  He used to come over and visit—Antonio Fargas.

SNOOP:  That’s the fuckin’ role I’, playing in the movie!  We’re shooting in December.

Did you watch the show as a kid?

SNOOP:  Did I watch it!?  Man, when they told me that they wanted me to play that role, I was like, “Ya’ll picked the right motherfucker.”  I got Starsky & Hutch files at my house.

Thoughts on Spike Lee?

SNOOP:  Malcolm X was one of the greatest movies ever fuckin’ made.  That shit was dope and deep and showed me some shit that I didn’t really know about the Nation of Islam….  Being black, you only get so much information if you’re not all the way in.  That movie showed me a whole different side of the world.  Spike Lee is a genius.  Did you see Bamboozled?  Bamboozled was the shit.

ANTHONY:  I even, for the most part, liked [his movie] Summer Of Sam.  They kind of missed the punk-rock a little bit.  It’s a hard thing to capture that CBGB’s era, but capturing New York during that time?  He definitely nailed it.

Kobe Bryant.

SNOOP:  My nickname is Snoopy Bryant.  I got the full court at my house.  Full court, purple and gold.  I got a purple and gold Laker car too.

ANTHONY:  I’ve lived in L.A. a long time, and I don’t know of any better form of entertainment on a daily basis than when the basketball season is going on.  To show up at the Staples and see him walk out on the courts, and go, ‘Sheewww!”…. You know, that’s poetry in motion.

What do you say to the Laker haters who say that it’s just unfair and they’re invincible?

SNOOP:  Well, fuck it.  Chicago had Jordan.  We couldn’t do nothing but accept that shit.  We had to accept it.  When Boston had Bird, we had to accept it.  You know, everybody gets their turn.

ANTHONY:  Well, Magic had something to say about Bird every once in a while.

SNOOP:  Yeah, he’d frost his ass every once in a while.

GUILT PLEASURES

What is the most ridiculous thing that you spent stupid money on?

SNOOP:  Shit, me personally, I would have to say weed.  I spent over a million dollars on weed. [Anthony laughs] And that’s being honest with you.  I wish I had it back.

How do you cover that in your taxes?

SNOOP:  You don’t.

ANTHONY:  I bought a house in New Zealand on a whim, because when you’re there, you think, Oh I can get here whenever I want.  What’s 13 hours on a plane?  I haven’t been back since.  I bought a fuckin’ house there, and I never go there.

Tell me about a guilty pleasure.  A record you only listened to by yourself and if your boys came over, you’d be like, “Errrrrr.”

SNOOP:  And turn that shit off!  Well, this song, [starts singing] “I hear the secrets that you keep, when you’re talking in your sleep.”

ANTHONY:  Ahh, The Romantics.

SNOOP:   [continues singing] ‘When you close your eyes and go to SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP…”  I used to love that shit, and niggas was like, “What the fuck is that you’re listening to?!

ANTHONY:  I had a thing for Soft Cell—“Tainted Love’—and I didn’t even realize how embarrassing this could be until my roommates all came home, and I was like, “Hey, you gotta hear this.  This girl just turned me on to this,” and they looked at me like, “You’re queer man.”  Twenty years later, everyone loves it.

How about your curve ball artist—the one that people wouldn’t expect you to like?

SNOOP:  Frank Sinatra.  I love Old Blue Eyes.

ANTHONY:  For me, it’s the Bee Gees… from the ‘60s.  I always thought the Bee Gees were only Saturday Night Fever—which I also like—but then I found their stuff from the ‘60’s.  Beautiful.  Just Incredible.

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