With Wiz Khalifa, Kevin Gates, Jhene Aiko and Casey Veggies
Gexa Energy Pavilion, Dallas
Friday, Aug. 19, 2016
Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa are hip-hop's Cheech and Chong. It's official. They already call themselves that, and on Friday night their High Road Summer Tour at Gexa Energy Pavilion proved it: From the merch to the sponsors to the stage props and the blunts in hand, the whole night revolved around celebrating cannabis. But it also made the case for Snoop and Khalifa as the great coming together of hip-hop's past and present.
West Coast legend Snoop took the stage first, walking out to “The Next Episode,” with much of the nearly 20,000-strong crowd barely making it in time due to heavy rains. The 44-year-old wasted no time delivering his most well-known feature, following up with “Nuthin’ But A G Thang.” Calm, cool and collected as always, Snoop delivered his raps as smoothly as they were recorded in the early '90s. Not only has his voice held up perfectly, but with a pair of dark sunglasses on he hardly looked any different than the image of his younger self on the T-shirt he was wearing.
Everything else has changed, though. Snoop was one of the most notorious rappers in the country. He ushered in the second wave a gangster rap with Dr. Dre, post-NWA, and had middle America concerned about his influence on MTV viewers, the murder charges he was facing and role in the tragic beef between Tupac and Biggie. He was a menace and his music was controversial. Over the years Snoop grew past the gangster image with the passing of Tupac and Biggie and eventually assimilated into mainstream America with pop hits like “Beautiful” and “Drop It Like It’s Hot.”
Now, he’s a beloved figure and on stage he promotes peace and love while passing a blunt to his fans. During his time on stage he even performed covers of Tupac and Biggie songs to show respect. Even though Snoop just released a new album this year, he only performed a couple tracks during the set and took more opportunities to perform covers like House of Pain’s “Jump Around” and Rick James’ “Mary Jane” instead.
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When it was Wiz Khalifa’s turn to take the stage by himself there was a noticeable uptick in the crowd’s energy as he performed “Bake Sale” and the unofficial Dallas Cowboys anthem, “We Dem Boyz.” Khalifa exuded an infectious enthusiasm as he ran the length of the stage, bouncing around and smiling the whole time. He’s a true showman dedicated to delivering a good time. Just as they did with Snoop Dogg, the crowd rapped back every word to “The Race,” “Ink My Whole Body” and pretty well every other song he did.
After taking turns on stage, the would-be Cheech and Chong eventually shared the stage performing their collaborations “Kush Ups,” “That Good” and “French Inhale.” Khalifa’s energy made a noticeable impression on Snoop, who was much livelier when the two were together. Between songs they traded jokes, rehearsed skits and oozed chemistry together. Seeing them onstage together was like mirror images of each other’s past and present: Not only are both of them 6’4”, but they share a uniquely thin frame and braided hair.
Of all the hits between the two artists, the night’s closer “Young, Wild and Free” was the most celebrated. The hit song from Snoop and Khalifa’s 2012 panned movie, Mac and Devin Go to High School, is the duo’s biggest collaboration and felt like the perfect way to close the show. Even though there is a nearly 20-year age gap between the two rappers, they really do make for a perfect, complementing duo. But above all it was a testament, both to the undeniable legacy of Snoop Dogg’s career and to Khalifa’s meteoric rise over the past decade.