You might be a little confused if you watch the 2014 BET Hip Hop Awards on Tuesday night. Why? Because it's being hosted by Uncle Snoop, aka Snoop Dogg. Wait, when did that happen? That's the name BET and most media outlets have been referring to the artist formerly known as Snoop Dog in the weeks leading up to the awards. In recent years, it's become a little difficult to fact check just what we should officially be calling the Dogfather. In 2012, after an eye-opening trip to Jamaica, Snoop Dogg was reincarnated as Snoop Lion; then in 2013, Snoop Lion declared himself Snoopzilla for a new funk-influenced album. But with all the confusion, I seem to have missed the next change to Uncle Snoop.
There's simply never been any putting a pin in Snoop. He's a former pimp who married and raised a family with his high-school sweetheart. He's become one of the most successful rappers of all time and, as he's gotten older, he's balanced making new and interesting tracks, mentoring and supporting rising young artists, being the D.O.G.G. fans need him to be, hosting the BET Hip Hop Awards, and coaching high-school football. That's what makes him Uncle Snoop.
Snoop didn't officially declare himself Uncle as he did with Snoop Lion or Snoopzilla; Uncle Snoop is simply the person Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. has become as he's risen through the ranks of hip-hop. When he changed his name to Snoop Lion, he explained that many people in the rap industry call him Uncle Snoop. With his endless smiling, his soothing drawl, and his love for kids, Snoop Dogg probably became Uncle Snoop about the time he started being thought of as a mentor in the industry. The name comes most directly from him referring to young artists as "nephew."
But through his many names, Snoop is still just Snoop.
Snoop will always be Snoop (Doggy) Dogg, the man he introduced us to in 1993 with the release of his first album, Doggystyle.
In the last decade or so, Snoop has transitioned his 20-year career to represent the life that he lives now, rather than keep an image alive that's mostly in his past, making that transition official with his reincarnation into Snoop Lion. Snoop still wanted to make music, but he could perform in the kinds of places an extremely famous 42-year-old musician might want to perform: places like the White House. That's why Snoop Lion made the Grammy-nominated album and documentary, Reincarnated, following his metamorphosis from Dogg to Lion. Please watch Snoop and his family visit the White House where Snoop shares an excellent fist bump with John Kerry in the video above.
And finally Snoopzilla arrived in 2013, who's not really a reincarnation as much as a stage name for Snoop's funk efforts alongside Dâm-Funk in the duo 7 Days of Funk, who released its eponymous first studio album in 2013.
Snoop as an artist may have seen many faces, names, and lifestyles over the years, but I'm sure that for the aspiring rappers who look up to him, the person inside of the Dogg, the Lion, the 'zilla will always be Uncle Snoop.