Snoop Dogg Austin Music Hall, December 29

Live Shots

Snoop Dogg

Austin Music Hall, December 29

Aww yeah. "Santa brought y'all a big Snoop Dogg for Christmas," announced the erstwhile Calvin Broadus. It was about time: When Snoop's debut Doggystyle dropped in 1993, the odds of Austin pulling down a major hip-hop name like him were about the same as Jodeci passing up a backstage hummer. Yet when Snoop left the stage after "What's My Name?" the only question was what took him so long. And how soon can he come back? Right from the get, Snoop, rocking signature navy khakis and French braids, worked the sold-out Music Hall like a big backyard barbecue in his native Long Beach. Certainly he brought enough friends with him: DJ Jam on the ones and twos, buttery-voiced old buddy Nate Dogg to help with the hooks, Eastsider Tray Dee acting the part of various Snoop sidekicks, and the feminine wiles of protégées Doggy's Angels. None of them, however, could help the Dogg keep track of his drink, which he managed to misplace several times. It was equally difficult keeping track of the bomb tracks during his opening barrage: "Murder Was the Case," "Bitch Please," "G'd Up," "Deep Cover," "Nothin' but a G Thang," "Pump Pump," and "Tha Next Episode," to name a few. Snoop's laconic drawl rode the bulky beats like a Land Cruiser, and he had plenty of help from an audience that seemed to know all the lyrics as well as he did. Spirits were positively "high" at this point, and as a certain chronic aroma wafted over the Music Hall, Snoop reverted from today's definition of MC to yesterday's. Sending out "Ain't No Fun" to all the ladies ("We'd be nothing without you"), he yielded center stage to Nate Dogg, whose hi-res smooveness effectively deflated the infamous Doggystyle cut's misogynistic sting. Further showing his appreciation for the fairer sex -- and seizing another opportunity to sniff out his drink -- Snoop called out Doggy's Angels for a three-song interlude capped by the tantalizing trio's current hit, "Baby If You're Ready." When Big Snoop reappeared, it was for a languid trip through Slick Rick's "Lodi Dodi" and Tha Last Meal's chugging "Back Up Off Me." One chronic break later -- you knew it was coming -- he hit the home stretch with "Gin and Juice" and "What's My Name?," as everyone from the Gs in the front row to the freaks in the balcony completely lost whatever shit they had left. Factor in local openers Bavu Blakes and Tee Double's blazing back-and-forth, and KAZI kingpin N.O.O.K. & his Off the Block posse's dirty-dirty spitting, and this evening of "urban" entertainment proved the ATX is musically ready to back up all that big-city boasting. Finally.

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