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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
9/27/2004 11:51:44 PM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Snoop Dogg.

On the Web site for the run-and-shoot video game, True Crime: Streets of L.A., there is a link that explains "how to unlock Snoop" -- meaning how to convert the game's crime busting hero, Nick Kang, into a different pixelated protagonist: real-life rapper Snoop Dogg.

The manufacturer, Activision, added a digital Dogg to Streets of L.A. just ahead of last year's Christmas shopping season. For additional intrigue, programmers buried that role-playing option deep inside the game, accessible only through so-called "cheat codes."

The Web site divulges the codes, offering such instructions as, "Select the Snoop head to play in 'Snoop Mode.'"

"Snoop Mode," indeed.

Who among us has not, at some point, wanted to enter Snoop Mode? And not just on a game screen but here in the real world, where Snoop cruises other media. To unlock one's own inner Snoop and epitomize his cold-chillin' style? As the man himself would say, "Fo' shizzle."

That's "for sure," to anyone unacquainted with Snoop's habit (borrowed from rapper E-40) of bending words to his linguistic whims.

As Snoop, 31, rolls through the nation with Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution, a concert tour consisting mainly of rock bands, he brings more than his rap hits and West Coast sizzle. Snoop Dogg is a phenomenon, one that goes beyond his work in multiple formats: roles in the movies Soul Plane and Starsky & Hutch; his hit adult video, Girls Gone Wild: Doggy Style; his latest hit single, Beautiful.

No, there is something more at work here. People have been dressing like Snoop since he first showed up in cornrows and flannel, the baby gangster from "The LBC" -- Long Beach, Calif. -- and protege of rap maestro Dr. Dre. Nowadays, people at Halloween parties imitate his newer look -- the dandified, mack-daddy pimp. They pick up on his lingo: the hail-fellow salutation, "Shizzle, my nizzle"; the classically inane tautology, "with my mind on my money and my money on my mind," from his 1993 single Gin and Juice; and the inimitable put-down, "Beeyatch!"

At asksnoop.com, a device called "The Shizzolator" translates any Web page into Doggy dialect. Some people don't need the help: An Associated Press story in May about the breakup of Snoop's marriage began, "Snoop Dogg is getting a divizzle."

More than a career we follow with interest, this clearly is an itch we have to scratch. Consider Gin and Juice as played in 1998 by the Gourds, a roots-and-rock band from Austin: It's a bluegrass cover of a raunchy rap classic. Gourds front man Kevin Russell fits the lyric with a yowling melody and sings it like the original backwoods gangster. Whatever else he's accomplished, Snoop has done exemplary work over the past decade of burrowing under our skin and coming to rest in our collective brain.

It happens sometimes that certain public figures become stand-ins for our inner selves -- celebrity ids -- and their fame and capacity to fascinate often exceed their measurable talents. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Teutonic lunk in all of us. Regis Philbin? The national bulge-eyed, collar-tugging neurotic. Britney Spears? Our inner good girl gone wild. Even their names and nicknames have a phonic, onomatopoeic quality that underlines their assigned roles: Reege, Britney, Ah-nuld.

Snoop? The embodiment of easy-glidin', tricked-out, bad-as-ya-wanna-be coolness. And don't underestimate the importance of his cute moniker. When the young Calvin Broadus was constructing a rap persona, he adapted the affectionate nickname he had received as a child at home: Snoopy, as in Charlie Brown's mellow pooch from the Peanuts cartoons.

Snoop Doggy Dogg -- later streamlined to Snoop Dogg -- was born. Signed to the infamous Death Row label, he gave us rap ditties about easy women and dead cops in his serene, silver-tongued style. He gave us a familiar, adorable sobriquet by which to address him. "Snoop" lends an air of silliness and cartoon mischief bordering

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