Reprinted the NYTimes, this interview by David Gelles, with Snoop Dogg is a great blue print for how to surround yourself with the best mentors, diversify your revenue stream, and build your brand without diluting yourself, your core values and beliefs.
FIND MENTORS and ADD A LITTLE MORE SPICE – Role models can come from unlikely places…
Nearly 30 years after emerging as a profane gangster rapper from Long Beach, Calif., Snoop Dogg has transcended his hip-hop roots and become culturally ubiquitous. Here he is in the new Addams Family movie. There he is on a Corona commercial. He has a show with Martha Stewart on VH1 and an investment fund, and is still releasing new music. Celebrities who cross genres can risk diluting their brand, spreading themselves too thin or alienating the core fans who propelled their rise to fame. Snoop has so far managed to avoid these pitfalls while, in crucial ways, remaining relentlessly on message.Zooming from his compound in Los Angeles, he smoked an enormous blunt while discussing how he went from a shy musician to a multiplatform entrepreneur with several new ventures in the burgeoning cannabis industry.To the brands he endorses, including Corona, Beyond Meat and Bic lighters, he is a gregarious spokesman. Yet Snoop has strong feelings about what he says is persistent racism in the business world, and is uninhibited in his critique of the status quo.
How have you managed to stay relevant for so long?
The easiest thing you can do is just do you. I felt like doing me would be the easiest path to me remaining relevant in the industry. It’s originality and uniqueness. I just try to do me.
OK. At what point did you think your career was going to be about more than just music?
Probably after I did the “Murder Was the Case” movie. In the beginning, I wasn’t comfortable on camera. I was kind of shy. But once I got to that stage, as far as to be able to shoot a movie that I asked for, that I wanted to be a part of, and it came to life — it was fascinating to me.
How did you overcome that shyness?
Success and practice. The more success you have and practice you have, the more familiar you become with it. Either love it or hate. I love what it do for me and I love what it do for other people when they see me onscreen. It’s a feeling of joy when people understand it and they get it.
How did you think about building out a career beyond music?
We weren’t into branding or any of that at first. We were just into making good music and trying to be the dopest [expletive] in the world. My branding and my business came when I was able to go to No Limit Records with Master P, and be under his guidance and his tutelage and his wisdom. He taught me how to be a better businessman, how to be more than just a rapper, but to be about my business. It’s called show business. I had mastered show. But Master P showed me how to master the business.
Who were your mentors besides Master P?
Dr. Dre. Definitely Puffy. Russell Simmons. Guys like that, that were in my field but were able to jump outside of it and become bigger.
I’m not really somebody that likes taking information from people. I’m more about: We trading game, chopping it up, bettering each other, giving information on how my business is going, how your business is working, how I see it from the outside looking in.
I got a lot of relationships. Quincy Jones and Charlie Wilson are like uncles to me, where they shape and mold the lifestyle of Snoop Dogg, not just the business. What you learn about being a better person from somebody is more important than what you learn business-wise or career-wise.
How did you make sure you had honest brokers around you as you were getting involved in new ventures?
Sometimes you have to have the wrong people around you to know what the wrong people around you look like and what they act like. My experience came from having the wrong people in my business, to where they didn’t benefit me or didn’t teach me anything.