I had never been to a video shoot before. I’m not from LA, and that isn’t really my scene anyway. But, when it Rome, and all that jazz. I ended up on set for a Young Dre featuring Snoop Dogg music video shoot, the song, “Cheah-Bah,” the location, Santa Monica. The Director was a good friend, and so I was tagging along, perhaps to help out if it was needed, but mostly just to take it all in. I had the vague intention of setting up in a quite corner of the studio with my laptop to work on one of my own projects if I got bored, though I shouldn’t have worried too much about that.
We get there, and the first thing we see is a massive gentleman standing at the end of the driveway, clearly, he is In Charge here. There is also a full sized motor home parked in the driveway adjacent to the studio, complete with a motor bike strapped to the back. This is apparently Snoop’s Trailer; I guess when you’re that big, you just bring your own hangout.
So I’m hanging out inside the studio, crew and management are scurrying around, getting things set up in preparation for the shoot. Everyone is friendly and professional, no one knows quite what to make of me just sitting in the middle of everything, but not doing anything. I talk to one PA, “do? Well…I’m just sort of here to hang out,” and she sort of stares hard, trying to figure out what I mean, or maybe who I am. I have no title, no role, but I can’t quite bring myself to tell her I just want to meet Snoop Dogg. She is abruptly sent out for Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles, and the conversation ends.
People are coming and going, wandering in and out, and I sit. And then I notice a large pit bull straining on his chain as he enters the studio, I stare in amazement because 1) not only is it one of the biggest pit bulls I’ve ever seen in real life, but 2) someone is bringing this giant pit bull into the studio! The pit bull’s handler comes into view, a tall lanky black man in warm ups…fucking Snoop, of course.
So I nod a what’s up, because what the hell are you supposed to say to Snoop, and also because he walks in and makes eye contact, there’s no avoiding it. Snoop says, “what up playa,” and walks back towards the dressing room. I sit and think about it for a second… I just met Snoop Dogg…I then proceed to text this to about 60 of my closest friends, because, it’s fucking Snoop Dogg!
Young Dre (the main talent) shows up, and things get rolling. This video is for the new EA Boxing game, Fight Night 4, and so the shooting starts with professional boxers Sugar Shane Mosley and Bernard Hopkins doing some shadow boxing and goofing around with Young Dre and Snoop. The boxers and their entourages are all very nice. Young Dre’s family gets into it, first the kids playing videogames, then the mom, then the whole family in a big mob dance scene. Everyone is very nice. I am amazed. Snoop does a bit more in such a calm laid back manner; you know this man is the best at what he does, a true professional. By now it’s almost six, which is tip off for the Lakers game against Orlando, which means Snoop has retreated to his trailer. Snoop doesn’t shoot while the Lakers’ game is on. So we shot more Young Dre, and at some point here I got pressed into running the in studio music. Basically consisting of me sitting at a computer, and lining up the right chorus or versus to be played at full volume over the set. The talents raps along with their part so that it’ll look good when they put the actual song with it for the video. Kind of cool, more importantly, it got me a front row priority seat to the whole mad scene.
There were also, for lack of a better word, video hoes. Ho’s? However its spelled, scantily clad young ladies that dance in music videos, we had a gaggle of them. At one point Snoop kicks them out of his trailer, and so they show up on set, it’s not a big set, and they are in the way. At one point someone tells them, “go hang over there,” which they did, for like 6 hours without moving. They were not going to be denied their shot at getting into a video with Snoop Dogg. Video Ho Superbowl? Something like that. Also cool, Snoop had his yellow Lakers’ low rider on set, with the murals of the Lakers’ greats on it, if you’ve seen MTV Cribs, you’ve seen this car, and it was cooler in person. Wood Harris (Avon Barksdale, from The Wire) showed up and was a really chill dude. In fact, in a set full of really chill dudes, Mr. Harris was the chillest of all, ya dig?
We were on set until almost 3 am. Upon leaving, we got stoned and went to Bob’s Big Boy, it was quite a day.