It's October 20, which can only mean one thing: It's time to celebrate the birthday of one Calvin Broadus, known best to the rest of the world as Snoop Dogg. The veteran rapper/actor/entrepreneur turns 39 years old today, and it's staggering to think about everything that Dogg has done over the course of his career. It's an incredible body of work that includes some truly killer records (including modern classics like "Gin and Juice," "Murder Was the Case," "Drop It Like It's Hot," "Sexual Seduction" and the recent "I Wanna Rock"), memorable film roles (notably appearances in "Training Day," "Bones," "The Wash" and "Starsky and Hutch") and countless business successes (there are Snoop Dogg-branded skateboards, video games, porn films, action figures, hot dogs and pet products). He also provides a voice for Tom Tom GPS products, which is amazing.
But Snoop's side projects are often overlooked, which is a shame, because some of those records are spectacular. Obviously his collaborative projects with Dr. Dre and Pharrell are excellent, but he has also done a handful of full-length collaborations that have been great. In 2004, he delivered an album with a group he called 213, which was a three-way dance between himself, Warren G and Nate Dogg. The trio's first and only album The Hard Way is a delight, full of throwback jams and old-school G-funk workouts like "Twist Yo Body," "Absolutely" and "So Fly."
Snoop also made two albums with Tha Eastsidaz, a collective consisting of Snoop, Tray Deee and Goldie Loc. Their self-titled debut is even more of a throwback than the 213 record, and their follow-up Duces 'n Trayz: The Old Fashioned Way expands the sounds even further (both those albums very much sound like the types of albums you believe that Snoop would have liked to listen to growing up in Los Angeles). In honor of Snoop's birthday (and his incredible spirit of collaboration), check out Eastsidaz' "G'd Up."