Perhaps no contemporary entertainer understands the need to diversify his or her portfolio better than Snoop Dogg. In fewer than 20 years, the Doggfather has managed to go from Long Beach Crip to gangsta rapper, murder defendant, actor, entrepreneur, high-school football coach, medical marijuana advocate and voice-over of a generation. It's an impressive trajectory. Snoop has had his irons in so many fires that he might as well just change his name to OG Crossover. Rappers typically have a shelf life about as a long as a single bootylicious, champagne-soaked, yacht-laden music video. Not Snoop: He's among the few rappers to transcend generations and successfully assert his blaxploitative ubiquity through any and all shifts in pop culture.
While many best-of lists rounding out the highlights of the last decade are firm in crowning Eminem as one of THE artists of the Aughts, we can all see the bleached one losing himself in the vortex of his own ego. He probably should've kept Dr. Dre on as producer and stuck to gay bashing and rapping about murder and Vicodin instead of whining about the trappings and hardships of celebrity over Aerosmith samples.
While we watch Em's relevance ride off into the sunset, Snoop's prospects of media domination still loom large in this decade, the next decade, the decade after that and so on--like a Keith Richards of hip-hop. In addition to the many facets of his canon as an entertainer, Snoop has a cache of product endorsements that rivals that of a sports star--including his own 40 oz. malt liquor, hot dogs, clothing line, Cadillac model and mobile video game. At this point, Snoop Dogg is probably as big a brand name as Yamaha.
Take, for example, him recently lending his velvety pipes to TomTom as the first ever celebrity VoiceSkin for a GPS system. (See demo above.) Seriously, how can you not love this? Since Snoop's iconic voice--which sounds like Nat King Cole reincarnated as a human bong--is smoother than dolphin skin, there is simply no better vocal persona to navigate you through life. Plus, the irony of the first-ever celebrity to embark on such an endeavor also being the only one ever tried (though acquitted) for having been the wheelman in a drive-by shooting is life affirming. If that's not crossover success, then I don't know what it is. It's a doggy-dogg world--we just live in it.
So, who are some celebs you'd like to hear on your GPS? Obviously I'd opt for Springsteen, telling me exactly which two lanes will take me anywhere. Other worthy candidates that come to mind are David Lee Roth, Ozzy Osbourne, James Hetfield, James Earl Jones, Peter O'Toole and Barack Obama.