Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

"Man, look at all the crap with my face on it."

A popular topic of conversation at A.V. Club HQ lately has been R. Kelly's Trapped In The Closet and, by extension, R. Kelly's bizarre self-parody that isn't self-parody. Seriously, who else could create something like The Closet, which is apparently unspeakably terrible (and, thus, awesome) and have the world embrace it? Or write the best Tenacious D song they never wrote, "In The Kitchen":

Sex in the kitchen over by the stove
Put you on the counter by the buttered rolls
Hands on the table, on your tippy toes
We'll be making love like the restaurant was closed

For all of his forehead-slappingly bad songs and song-movies, Kelly hasn't mastered merchandising like another performer who regularly trades in unwitting self-parody: Snoop Dogg.

This week, the Boston Herald ran a story about a new line of hot dogs called "Snoop Doggs" that will be available in a supermarket near you in January. The foot-long (of course) dogs are long and skinny, "just like Snoop," say's Snoop's entrepreneurial brother, Bing Worthington, who conceived of the idea. "There aren't any celebrity hot dogs out there," he said. "Who's the competition? Ball Park?" Uh…

Since Snoop came on the scene in 1992, appearing on Dr. Dre's The Chronic almost more than Dre did himself, Snoop has followed a familiar path of celebrity: up-and-coming star, superstar, icon, icon past his prime, then shell of his former self. The same menacing-looking man who was arrested in 1993 in connection with a drive-by shooting has become rap's Krusty The Clown. Need proof? Take a look:

— Snoop Dogg Clothing line (short-lived)
— Cadillac Snoop DeVille
— Snoop Dogg Skateboards
DoggyBiscuitz shoe line
Snoop Youth Football League
Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle adult video
— Snoop Dogg WRFF scooter-bike hybrid thing
Girls Gone Wild Doggystyle
Boss'n Up, a straight-to-DVD "urban drama inspired by the music of Snoop Dogg's platinum album Rhythm & Gangsta"
— Any number of Snoop Dogg action figures/dolls

I'm probably leaving something out; the list goes on and on. Sure, his work with his youth football league is commendable, and I'm sure it's hard to turn down a truckload of cash for some of these things. But considering how much stuff out there has Snoop's name/likeness/branding on it, his music can barely compete for his time. The very thing that made Snoop famous now seems like an afterthought–and many of the reviews of his 2004 album, Rhythm & Gangsta, reflected that. Our own Nathan Rabin said (in a review I can't locate in our archive): "As always, Snoop oozes charisma, and he possesses one of rap's most irresistible voices, but R&G; makes it clearer than ever that he has nothing to say, no matter how infectiously he says it." These days, what Snoop represents as an icon matters more than what he actually is.

So let's keep cashing in. Let's hear your Snoop merchandizing ideas. Ones lifted from Krusty Brand products on The Simpsons will work too.

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