Snoop Dogg isn't himself in his new video, and it has nothing to do with not smoking pot anymore.
Something else has taken over his actions.
"A little Snoop Dogg fan of mine, he's got my little action figure doll and somehow, some way, he makes the action figure move me, so whatever the doll does, I does," Snoop explained on the set of the video, directed by Diane Martel (Eve, N.E.R.D.).
"He's controlling me and making me knock things over, touch people in different ways. And I finally meet up with him and get control of him and grab my doll back and just save the day. (See photos from the set of the video.)
"It's a nice, fun video," the laid-back rapper continued. "I'm just trying to have fun and leave the violence to the left. I got violent [songs] on my record, but this video's a fun [song], and it's all about me having fun."
The Neptunes-produced "From Tha Chuuch to Tha Palace" is Snoop being himself, dropping brag rhymes like "I still got the gin and juice in hand."
"It's just sayin' I'm back, even though I ain't never went nowhere," Snoop explained. "It's been two years since I had a song on record, so [I'm] just lettin' everybody know that I been listenin', I been hearin' about this and that and whatnot, and I'm back to take my throne back from all these suckers in the game."
In general, Snoop's sixth album and first on his own Doggy Style label, Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Boss, is about celebrating his successes and reclaiming the respect he feels is due.
"I was the under-boss in the beginning, and I moved up to the captain and I became a general," the rapper said, recalling his days on Suge Knight's Death Row and Master P's No Limit labels. "And now I'm the muthaf---in' boss, so I paid the cost to be the boss. It speaks for itself."
Along with the Neptunes, Snoop's November 26 release features production work from DJ Premier, Hi-Tek and Jelly Roll as well as guest vocals by Ludacris, Redman, Lady of Rage and others. Jay-Z also appears, along with Nate Dogg, Soopafly and producer Just Blaze on the track "Lollipop."
And speaking of lollipops, Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Boss includes what is bound to be a memorable dis track in "Pimp't Slapped" (see "Snoop Calls Suge Knight A Bitch On Upcoming Album").
"Anybody that calls me out is a lollipop, a sucker," Snoop said as he licked his own pop. "I never paid no attention to him, but it just got to a point to where it was like every time I put a record out, [Knight] put a record out with me on it. And [he's always] talkin' about me and tryin' to get at me and just doin' negative things towards me and mine, so I just wanted to stand up to him and let him know that I ain't no punk and I ain't no little boy. I'm a grown-ass man and the way you bring it is the way you gotta take it."
While "Pimp't Slapped" also calls out Kurupt and Xzibit and appears to address frustrations about other West Coast rappers not standing up to Knight, Snoop said his only beef is with the Death Row founder.
"I got love for everybody that I started with, Dr. Dre, Daz ...," Snoop said. "I still love Kurupt even though he made a stupid-ass move by signing with Death Row, doing whatever he doing.
"I respect Dr. Dre to the utmost," he continued. "When I make a record, I always present him with a CD before I put the record out to get his say so on it, to hear what he thinks about it, what's strong, what's weak, what's good, what's bad. I know and understand what Dr. Dre means to me. Without Dr. Dre, without Warren G, without these key people in my life, Snoop Dogg wouldn't be where he is, because they believed in me before the whole world got a chance to see and hear who I was."
Who exactly Snoop is these days has the hip-hop world wondering, now that the man known for rapping "rollin' down the street smokin' indo" has gone clean. The news came as such a shock that rumors of health issues immediately ensued.
"I been smoking weed and drinking every day of my life for the past 10 years, and I just wanted to get high off of life and take a new direction and see what it sounds like and what it looks like from that point of view," Snoop said. "I'm also coaching my son's football team, and being around kids five days a week, I wanted to be inspirational to the kids because they all look up to me. And I wanted to give 'em something to look up to, because it is cool to say no to drugs, and that's what I'm doing right now.
"I'm 30 years old, and as you get older you get wiser, and that's what it's all about," he continued. "No, I don't have lung cancer, and I don't have throat cancer. I wanted to become a better Snoop Dogg, feelin' good, full of water, proteins, cholesterols and all kinds of stuff to keep me alive — lollipops and Big Macs."
— Corey Moss, with additional reporting by Nick Zano