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Snoop’s set puts an emphatic exclamation point at the end of day one

Deborah Sengupta

Editor’s note: This article was originally published November 9, 2013

As light rain fell on Auditorium Shores Snoop Dogg’s headline set was running late. No one seemed particularly concerned, but when the DJ took the stage around 9:00 and started to hype the audience with teases of Snoop’s West Coast classics anticipation began to build. All of a sudden a bounty of beach balls bounced through the crowd as body shaking bass pumped through the speakers. The excitement ratcheted up to a fever pitch as Snoop took the stage to the opening strains of “Here Comes the King” the triumphant second track from “Reincarnated” the 2013 debut of the artist’s reggae alter ego Snoop Lion. It was a fantastic, climatic moment and then, criminally, the sound cut out.

A lesser artist would have been shaken but Snoop continued rapping as the crowd reeled in frustration.

“Stevie Wonder at ACL Fest,” a girl beside me muttered.

But the sound situation was quickly resolved and Snoop handled it like a pro. Completely unfazed he dropped into “P.I.M.P” his 2003 collaboration with 50 Cent. The audience went wild and from there on out it was a 45 minute non-stop dance party as he guided the audience through a hit parade that spanned everything from his Death Row solo debut “What’s My Name” and his early hit turned all-time fave “Gin and Juice” to dirty club bangers like “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and the obscene Akon collab “I Wanna (Expletive) You.”

With his laid-back, melodic flow on point as it ever was and a catalog stocked with some of hip-hop’s all-time greatest party tracks the audience straight up broke it down in a way that Austin audiences rarely do. They sang. They danced. They screamed. They danced more and and then more. Snoop was a gracious host and in the midst of the wild party atmosphere – his onstage entourage included two scantily clad dancers and a costumed mascot “Nasty Dogg” who participated in shenanigans unmentionable in this forum – he took time out to pay homage to both Tupac and Biggie Smalls carrying forward the mantle of hip-hop unity as a survivor of a darker time.

As he came close to closing he declared his love for Austin and in what felt like an imminently sincere moment promised to come back any time we call. Then he led a heartfelt sing-along of “Young and Wild & Free,” a Wiz Khalifa collab that honestly, might as well be our city’s anthem. Then he dropped back into his reggae persona for the second time and channeled Bob Marley to close out a set that left everyone “Jammin’” and the whole park feeling mighty high.