Date: Monday, December 10th & Tuesday, December 11th, 2012
Line Up: Snoop Dogg w/DJ Artistic, Pac Div.,
Venue: The Belly Up Tavern. Solana Beach, CA
Music is a constantly evolving piece of artistry. A true freedom of expression, to what the artist may feel to share with the world. As the years progress, the music being created may change as well. Timeless music may be listened to years down the road, carrying the same energy from when first created. A true legend in the industry graced The Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach CA, on two separate nights. Snoop Dogg, a ticket that initially sold out the 600 seat capacity venue so quickly, that a second night was a must. Snoop has stayed relevant in the industry from his first debut on Dr. Dre’s 1992, “The Chronic” album, to his recent work with Major Lazor as Snoop Lion. Fans from all over the county eagerly waited to see Snoop perform his classic hits “Gin & Juice”, “What’s my name”, many were excited to see if Snoop Lion would make an appearance.
Artistic of Sleeping Giant was our DJ on both nights. A common staple in the San Diego Hip Hop scene, Artistic has long been on the scene performing from venues U-31 in North Park, all the way to Club Fluxx in downtown San Diego. I was able to ask Artistic about being the DJ for both nights, in which he responded, “It’s an exciting, humbling, nerve wrecking experience”. Artisitic although constantly working all over San Diego, had been 5 years since his return to The Belly Up Tavern. Everything across the board was mixed in between seats, from Montell Jordan’s hit, “This Is How We Do It”, to Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me”. The bar was set as the venue was at max capacity for both nights. The entire venue was filled before the first opener Pac Div even hit the stage.
Pac Div is composed of two brothers, Like & Mibbs and their long time friend Be Young. Originally Pac Div was formed back in their high school days. Originally containing 11 members that broke down to the trio we have today. The Div has opened up for big names now including Snoop Dogg, Nas and Busta Rhymes. They rocked the crowd with their hit songs like “Bank” of off their newest album GMB released in November 2012. Also notable hit “Mayor” off of their debut EP The Pac Div had The Belly Up Tavern at salute. Having the crowd at their complete attention, the trio rocked the entire stage, standing on speakers and jumping to the front of the barricade guarding the stage. Showing off with their hipster style and flare, everyone was attentive to all their onstage antics.
At our break, if you looked around The Belly Up Tavern on either night, you could see someone who may just have turned 21, all the way to the generation that was barely in high school when Snoop had his debut. The love carried for Snoop transcended any sort of barrier, not having a specific “crowd” in the venue. The diversity within the venue vividly shared how an influential artist can reach out to everyone. I spoke with several people throughout the two nights, just to get a feel for what everyone came to see.
One man, Mark, born and raised as a San Diego local, was enthusiastic from the very moment he set foot in the venue. When I asked Mark which of Snoop’s music he wished to see, old classic, or the new Snoop Lion, he gave a simple answer. “Both!” “To see someone considering his humble beginnings, to his grand stature, is an honor.”
John and Nicki of the Murrieta area drove down all the way to Solana Beach from the Inland Empire, just to see Snoop Dogg in such an intimate setting. I asked John if he had ever been to The Belly Up Tavern, and if so what made your drive out such a way? “I received one of the Belly Up’s emails, and just couldn’t pass it up”. John went on to mention of they’ve been attending shows at the Belly Up for over 20 years! “What ever he wants to perform, Snoop is a catalyst to the music industry”.
A local from down the street, Ben B. of Encinitas was lucky enough to have seen Snoop several times. From the Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine, to the Santa Barbara Bowl in Santa Barbara CA, all of which are huge, outdoor venues. Also a big fan of reggae, I asked Ben which, if any of the Snoop Lion songs he’s heard. “None actually, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing him perform them”.
As to date Snoop has released three songs under the title of Snoop Lion, “Lighters Up” (feat. Mavado and Popcaan), “Here Comes The King” (feat. Angela Hunte) and “La La La”. All of which fall under the production of Major Lazor, composed originally by DJ Diplo and Switch. Major Lazor was introduced into the world after working with artist M.I.A. . Their first album on the scene was titled “Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers Do”, released in 2009 and recorded at Tuff Gong Studio. Now, Major Lazor has members DJ/Producer Jillionaire and Walshy Fire, along with Diplo at the helm, are now all working with Snoop, taking part in his upcoming album Reincarnated.
All the excitement throughout the night kept building for Snoop Dogg, taking his place upon the stage. Not a single person was going to miss a moment of a West Coast rap legend, performing live. As the lights were dimmed down, a sheer energy spread throughout the venue. All you could see are cell phones ready and poised to capture the very moment Snoop graced the stage. As if the president of the United States was about to talk in, there was a total sense of awe to be had. To the start of “I Wanna Rock”, Snoop had arrived to a thunderous applaud of the entire building. After a quick intro Snoop broke into “P.I.M.P.” a song Snoop was featured on 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ album.
Fellow friends of Snoop, Kurupt & Daz Dillenger aka Tha Dogg Pound came out to join the fun on stage. West Coast Rap was in full effect. If there was a question as to who was on stage, Snoop Dogg came to play. If any back up vocals were needed, the crowd gladly obliged to fill any void. The energy carried from one song to the next, like a rolling ball of energy (no pun intended) belting through the speakers. Hits ranged from nearly all of Snoop’s work from Doggystlye’s “Gin&Juice” to his recent hit “California Gurls” with Katey Perry off of her Teenage Dream album. Kurupt and Daz constantly joined in, only adding to the West Coast feel of the show. A rendition of House Of Pain’s “Jump Around” sent the crowd into a complete frenzy. As the hits kept pouring on, not a single beat was skipped. For those near the stage, the high stack speakers sent the bass pouring into the crowd. As Snoop paused for a second to send his love to fallen legend Tupac Shakur , then kept the pace with their hit “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted”.
The list of hits literally went on, “What’s My Name”, “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, “I Wanna Love you” (Feat. Akon). There was never a moment of wanting at a Snoop Dogg show. If you came to either of the two shows at The Belly Up Tavern, a West Coast party was had. Truly a Hip-Hop West Coast rap show. Before departing Snoop quoted the great Bob Marley “In the name of his imperial majesty Haile Selasie, Jah Rastafari! ”. Those that were craving to see Snoop Lion, will have to wait until the time is right. No single person in the building was disappointed. Fans continued to dance long after Snoop had left the stage. All the energy built up just continued to resonate with the crowd.
Over 20-years of making history, Snoop Dogg still holds the microphone tight in his grasp. A king crowned by many, continuing to keep West Coast rap on the forefront of music. Fans eagerly await any project done by Snoop, gathering fans at his shows from all age groups. It takes those icons or legends to the music industry that can get people of all age groups and walks of life together in one place. As ever-evolving as music is, Snoop Dogg or Snoop Lion’s fans await the King of the West Coast, until the next time.
Article By: Edgar Gaytan
Photos By: Dave Norris
Check out MORE photos from the show!!!