Suddenly, I feel old. Kids telling me my N64 is a “super old school” system is one thing, the looks of confusion at the mention of Lance Bass and Nick Carter are a blessing, but at Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s stop in Atlanta, I was finally presented with that irrevocable curmudgeonly feeling. The two are touring together as The High School Tour, which is in turn support for a film they starred in together. It’s no surprise: beyond their mutual affinity for the ganja, Wiz looks to Snoop as an elder, a connection to respect, while Snoop mentors and benefits from the continued relevance.
I walked in, safely certain Snoop was the man everyone had primarily come to see. After all, I certainly had. Who in their right mind prefers Wiz over the Doggfather? Enter aging. A fair amount of the crowd were certainly Snoop fans, but the general tide – of a completely sold out show, mind you – seemed to be a bunch of tweens waiting on “Black & Yellow.” A decent amount of them trickled safely before midnight, sparking up, and then downtroddenly slipping out before curfew. To say the least, it was pretty funny.
The performers hardly seemed to take notice. They had little reason to, of the three floors composing the Tabernacle, all were packed with screaming, smoking fans. The tour offered three sets: first Wiz, then Snoop, then the two of them, with YG and others opening. By the time the smaller names had left the stage the audience was appropriately inebriated, and Wiz gallivanted on. Dressed in a torn American flag getup, Khalifa jumped all over the stage through tracks such as “In the Cut,” hardly able to sit still. It only lasted a moment, but he also used a neon green, glowing mic stand. The crowd ate it up, with damsels in the first few rows in more than just distress, and I had to admit: damn, these kids really love Wiz.
I have nothing against the guy, prior to his misfire of a debut, I played Kush and Orange Juice as much as anyone. However, even with his chart toppers, I’d never quite understood his significance. To many of us, he’s a more hipster friendly Snoop, but to the new school, he is the stoner rapper, the Doggfather’s just the old guy with him. He played through an incredibly energetic, if short, set.
Without ado, Snoop entered, boasting shades with his name on the lens, rapping “I Wanna Rock.” The audience’s other demographic flipped. Through a killer set, Snoop offered up “What’s My Name?,” “I Wanna Fuck You,” and “Next Episode,” among others. It was a perfect mixture of his near two decades worth of material. However, it was clear the two had saved the best for last.
Snoop never left the stage, instead beckoning his young friend to join him. The two lit a joint and chatted with the audience, before Snoop unleashed what many of us had been waiting for: “Gin & Juice.” Apparently the two would typically play scenes from their film, but without a screen, they simply suggested the audience cop the soundtrack and the movie. We won, as it led to more music. They mixed solo and collab songs, but offered inspired renditions of each other’s material, assisting the hooks or spitting their own verses. Wiz chose “On My Level,” while Snoop pleased with “Drop it Like it’s Hot.” As for their duo material, they offered “Smokin On” and the collab that sparked the movie, “That Good.”
It seemed to be coming to an end, and Snoop turned to Wiz, saying, “You know who had the #1 song of 2010? You, you Wiz, had the #1 song. You all know what I’m talkin bout? Our two favorite colors?” With all the events leading to this, I’d completely forgotten “Black & Yellow” hadn’t been played. The younger members of the audience certainly hadn’t. It was arguably the loudest moment of the whole show, with Snoop spitting his verse from the remix. Finally, they closed with “Young, Wild and Free,” which Snoop declared their “stoner anthem.” We’ll forgive the Bruno Mars chorus, it made for a feel good, triumphant closer, and with Wiz celebrating youth while Snoop recaptures it, you could dare to say it was a beautiful moment.
It was all a lesson in inevitable change. Snoop seemed to have a bit of a hard time getting the kiddies in the audience to rap with “Drop It,” shouting, “Somebody fuckin’ sing this!” Meanwhile, Wiz encouraged them to show respect to the West Coast king, explaining his importance to both rap and him personally. Damn, I never saw a world in which Snoop Dogg needed introduction from Wiz Khalifa. Yet, there’s some beauty in it. Khalifa thinks the world of Snoop, and forget the age difference, the two tear up a stage together. Their bond is more than a relevance and respect token, and in touring together, they bring two generations of rap fans together. So what if it’s a bit awkward, the kids’ll learn.