LOS ANGELES — Snoop Dogg greeted the media Wednesday with his signature "Westsiiide" shout-out, but never before was it so appropriate.
Snoop was joined by the Game for a press conference to promote their upcoming How the West Was One Tour, which the rappers described as a major step toward unity in West Coast hip-hop.
"I hate to bring the whole gang thing into play, but him being from Long Beach and being a Crip and me being from Compton and being a Blood just sets a whole new future," Game explained. "This is so much more bigger than a poster with our faces on it. This provides for a new unified and diverse West Coast community as a whole."
Unity, Snoop said, is the key to Southern California returning to the center of the hip-hop universe, where it was when Tupac and Dr. Dre were at their most prominent and he was just getting started.
"We're gonna go out and represent the West Coast and do a show that can bring back the West Coast," Snoop said of the tour, which kicks off April 15 in Salt Lake City (see "Snoop And Game Beef Up Their How The West Was One Tour"). "It's about time, right?"
Snoop and Game toured Europe together last month (see "Game, Snoop To Launch U.S. Tour; Snoop And Justin Stunt In Vegas For New Clip"), and they promised the North American version will be bigger and better.
"We've both grown as entertainers," Snoop said. "We learned from each other. He was doing things onstage that was dazzling me. We know we gotta represent a little harder 'cause this is the home front and you gotta take care of your living room before you go outside."
"It ain't no funny business, no flying midgets or funny lights," Game added. "Just me and Dogg and real hip-hop."
Game said he'll be joining Snoop during his set — that is, when he's not watching in adoration. "I've been a fan of Snoop Dogg's since I had a lunch pail," he said. "Now my knees are shaking 'cause he's the king of the West. But I don't mind being the prince.
"I get a little nervous [being his opening act], but at the end of the day, I'm gonna put on a great show 'cause I know all the pressure's on him," Game continued. "I'm just loosening the screws, he's gotta tear the roof off. And when I'm done I don't leave, I walk around the fence and sit out there and watch, 'cause I'm a fan of hip-hop and I'm a fan of this man. I've studied him and he's helped mentor me."
The respect is apparently mutual. "I call Game the choice of a new generation, he's like Pepsi," joked Snoop, who met Game years ago through DJ Pooh. "The opportunity I was given through Death Row and Dr. Dre is the same opportunity that Game is getting. We always say we want the young generation to have it, but you have to open up your arms when they come in the game. I was giving him love before he was signed. He always was real with the game, which is way the game is real with him now."
Wednesday's press conference was held on the set of Snoop's next video, a medley of "Ups & Downs" and "Bang Out." Game and his Black Wall Street crew will co-star.
"I wanted to have Game be a part of it because we're so down with each other, but visually you're not seeing it," Snoop said. "I want everybody to understand that we're not just going on tour together for the money, this is a real love thing — we really care for each other."
Snoop also used the press conference to show off his new Doggy Biscuitz shoe line with Pony, taking a shoe off his foot and putting it in front of the cameras. "I just had to put a shoe out to represent this West Coast culture, this lifestyle that we stand for, 'cause there's no one doing that," he said.
Game said he's working on a sneaker of his own with Reebok that'll come out early next year in conjunction with his second album.
It's still unclear whether Game's truce with 50 Cent (see "50 Cent And The Game Call A Truce") means the rappers will work together again, as Game avoided questions about the topic Wednesday.
"At the end of the day, that's just a dead issue, and I just want to move on to the How the West Was One Tour," he said. When asked if he's spoken to 50 since their press conference, he said, "Next question."