ATL Twins shot by Me for Vice… out now!
Snoop Through the Ages - The Clothes Made the Dogg, and Now Make the Lion
Photos by Terry Richardson
The 2000s saw fashion and style surreptitiously removed from the overmoisturized hands of high-end designers and busybody critics. It was snatched from them in the dead of night by forward-thinking bloggers, affordable boutique brands, and most importantly, rappers.
There is one man who, since the early 90s, has been a harbinger of the sort of unapologetically authentic style that is worn by anyone under 40 today. That man is Snoop Dogg—or rather, more specifically, was Snoop Dogg. Last year he renamed himself Snoop Lion following a trip to Jamaica where he recorded Reincarnated, a reggae- and Rastafarianism-influenced album that features very little rapping. It will be released in mid-April alongside a corresponding documentary about his journey to find Jah.
One of the first rappers to truly shock the public based on his lifestyle alone, Snoop was thrust into the cultural consciousness in the early 90s with the one-two punch of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic and Doggystyle. These albums served as a blueprint for more than a decade of hardcore, explicit hip-hop made by artists who lived the lives they were rapping about—gangbangers and miscreants from the hood who had no problem dealing, shooting, fucking, smoking, drinking, and all sorts of other activities that freaked out parents everywhere.
Snoop’s various looks followed suit, running along a larger continuum of style that has evolved into a glorious mishmash of skinny jeans, flat-billed baseball hats, oversize sweaters, preppy layering, limited-edition sneakers, flannels, vintage curiosities, weird screenprints, and whatever else makes its wearer look good without pretense. There are no rules anymore, and thank fucking God that’s the case because everything was getting predictable and boring.
With this in mind, we thought it only proper to revisit Snoop’s looks from years past for this American-themed Fashion Issue and interview him about them. He was even gracious enough to allow us to pull the real artifacts from his wardrobe archive. Suffice it to say that watching him slip on his purple pimp coat for the first time in years and adjust it while he glared into the mirror would definitely be something I’d check off my bucket list if I thought keeping one of those things wasn’t utterly gross and depressing.
A busy man without much time to spare, Snoop is a supreme multitasker, so, appropriately, we conducted this interview while a manicurist touched up his French tips.
VICE: I was worried you might not be into this idea—a fashion shoot revolving around your looks from the past—because you have reinvented yourself as Snoop Lion. But you seemed totally at ease with fully immersing yourself in the concept; even your demeanor seemed to change according to each style.
Snoop Lion: I mean, they never left, you understand? I always incorporate a little bit of anything and everything. I always go back to yesterday, and it’s good to be able to find yourself completely in that moment, in that era, with that mind state, and be able to capture that.
You’ve defined a lot of fashion just by being who you are, by wearing clothing you like and feel comfortable in. But we pulled some pretty specific clothing for the shoot, like the Crip suit. Where did that come from? Was it your idea?
The first time I saw that suit was on Coolio and a bunch of guys called the 40 Thevz—they were a rap group that were backing him up. He had the suit on and I liked it, so he turned me onto the guy who was making them—Perry White—and I started wearing them. Before you knew it, they became a part of my look because it was so symbolic of who I was and what I represented. It was the first statement of me being in the fashion world, to show that I did have style and understood what style was along with being gangster and West Coast.
Were you following any particular designers back then?
I was, like, more about what made me look fresh, you understand? If certain designers, like for example if Tommy Hilfiger had a tight shirt, I would get a Tommy Hilfiger shirt with some Capezio shoes or maybe some Girbaud pants or some Guess overalls. Whatever fashion I was on was whatever my money could afford, and at the same time whatever made me look good. It wasn’t dictated by a fashion designer or maker, it was more about the style, and certain makers had different styles that fit me that I would take and make mine.
When we first saw the line up for the new photo show opening tomorrow at the Aperture Foundation Gallery, simply titled Photography, we fell out of our chairs. The show features new (new!) work from William Eggleston, Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, Martin Parr, Terry Richardson, and Stephen Shore. You don’t have to be a photo nerd to know that this selection of artists are some of the most important photographers making work today. To have new work by them all in one room is crazy. We decided we had to sit down with Ken Miller, the curator of the show, to figure out how he pulled it off. Turns out it was pretty simple.
VICE: What’s up, Ken? How did this project start?
Ken Miller: It started with a sort of unrelated exhibition of abstract photography that I did in Tokyo about a year and a half ago. That was kind of a weird way for it to begin. It was a show with Sam Falls, Marcelo Gomes, Mariah Robertson, and this Japanese photographer named Taisuke Koyama. Somebody from Fujifilm came by and I guess they liked the show, so they got in touch. They took me out to drinks and showed me these cameras they were coming out with and were like “Do you think you could get photographers to use these?” The cameras were really nice, so I was like, “Yeah probably, it’s a free camera.”
We started putting a list of photographers together. I was initially thinking of people I’d worked with before, who seemed easy to approach. Then I thought, Fuck it. I’ll just ask ambitiously and worst comes to worst, they’ll say no. And amazingly, basically everybody said yes. Of the initial people we asked, only two passed for different reasons. It was remarkably easy.
That’s pretty amazing.
I don’t want to sound like an advertisement for the camera, but it’s a digital SLR that works like the camera you studied in college. It has a lot of manual functions. So, I think there’s a certain nostalgia for a lot of these photographers who think “Oh, this works like a classic point-shoot Nikon” and they were psyched about that. You sort of forget photographers are camera nerds too, so they wanted to try it out.
Terry Richardson’s having an opening in NYC in 35 minutes. If you’re around you should go.
See more pictures here.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for Mike Judge. By that I mean in a cab, on the way back from a fancy hotel in midtown Manhattan, where an hour ago I watched Mike and Terry Richardson hold cardboard Beavis and Butt-Head masks over their faces and chuckle like teenage idiots while everyone else in the room giggled their asses off.