LOS ANGELES — Just like the NFL, the Snoop Youth Football League will launch its season with a match between the Patriots and the Raiders. The players are smaller in size, but the rivalry is even bigger.
"I'm from East Side Long Beach [home of the Long Beach Patriots], that's where I grew up playing, so it hurts my heart to go down there and whoop up on them," explained Snoop Dogg, who now coaches the Rowland Heights Raiders. "But the student has to come back to the teacher and show he learned the moves."
Snoop, who has coached his eldest son's teams for a few years, will now coach his younger son, but that's hardly where his involvement ends. After witnessing inner-city families struggle to afford the costs of other youth football leagues, Snoop is launching his own league, for which he will serve as commissioner (see "Snoop Dogg's So Busy His Ears Are ... Um ... Turning Red?").
"It's hard for a parent to get their kids involved when there's so much money involved, especially when it's no money to get in a gang or do something negative," Snoop said Tuesday. "We're just trying to give the kids something to reach toward and look forward to."
To fund the league, Snoop is hosting a benefit concert August 25 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ice Cube and others will also perform.
Snoop, who toured last year with the Chili Peppers (see "Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dogg To Take Road Trip Across North America"), is promising onstage collaborations with that group and other artists. "There's gonna be a lot of people who are just gonna stop by 'cause everybody loves the kids," he said.
As for the league, it will be divided by region and age group and will give more than 800 kids a chance to play. That is, if they keep their GPA above a 2.0. "And that goes for anyone," the commissioner declared.
The Snoop Youth Football League is launching in the Los Angeles area, but Snoop has plans to go nationwide soon. "There's other rappers that want to bring it to their areas," Snoop said. "I just wanted to kick it off in my area so I can show others how it's done."
Snoop has taken part in several community-service projects, including basketball events, but he considers football the best way to serve his fellow Southern Californians.
"Football is discipline, teamwork, unity, understanding, learning to work with each other, fighting through the negative stuff," he explained. "A team sometimes has a mix of races, sizes, genres, backgrounds and beliefs, but when they're on the football field, they believe in one common cause: winning. Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. And they don't do it in a negative way where they fight or whatnot, they push themselves."
Speaking of winning, Snoop hopes to do a little bit of that himself before his coaching season begins, at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 28 in Miami. He's nominated for Video of the Year and Best Hip-Hop Video for "Drop It Like It's Hot" with Pharrell (see "Green Day, Gwen, Missy Nab Most Nominations For MTV Video Music Awards").
"I'm stoked, 'cause you know I've been doing it a long time and I don't think I ever got nominated for [Video of the Year]," Snoop said. "So just to be in that category feels good after doing it for so many years and for people to still respect me as a musician, an artist, as somebody that's creative, to respect my vision on what I do and how I do. I really appreciate that and I'm gonna continue to do it. I don't know how to retire. I don't know how to quit."
Snoop is in fact hard at work making more music, currently focusing on a Dogg Pound reunion album (see "Snoop Rolls Out Two New Flicks At Tribeca Film Festival"). He's also keeping up in Hollywood, developing a movie called "Coach Snoop" that is, of course, based on his own life.
"It's about me as a coach and dealing with the kids and dealing with my career as an artist and having to juggle interviews with MTV and awards shows and stuff," Snoop explained. "It's about, which matters most? Do I do the MTV Awards or coach? If I win an award, the decision is easy. If I don't win, the decision is even easier. So you tell me what to do, MTV!"