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Off The Leash 

Bend gets a sticky icky icky early Christmas present with Snoop Dogg

Get your cornrows in, spritz on the Cool Water cologne, button up that oversized flannel shirt to the neck and make sure your driver's seat is riding low—Snoop Dogg is coming to Bend.

There is no shortage of classic O.G. clichés that could and should be employed as tribute to the Doggfather when he hits up the Midtown Ballroom on Dec. 18. After all, in the '90s, Snoop, with the help of Dr. Dre, did something that no rap artist had done previously—infiltrate suburbia with the hood.

Up until the dual debut releases of Dre's The Chronic and Snoop's Doggystyle, the white kid in your suburban school who listened to rap was probably considered a little odd. After "Nuthin But a 'G' Thang" and "Who Am I (What's My Name)?" he was a genius.

Finally legitimized, teens in communities around the country embraced the gangster culture—albeit a tempered version. Tempered because there was still a huge divide between the two worlds, but also because the version Snoop portrayed looked like a ton of fun rather than prolifically hard.

He traded words like sure for shizzle and, rapped about being able to party because his mom wasn't home. The guy even morphed into a Doberman pinscher in a music video. He was cool and smooth, youthful and proud—he was accessible.

He made life in Long Beach and Compton look benign, a far cry from the reality. Even the inclusion of "Murder Was the Case" on Snoop's debut album, a song about his very real murder trial, couldn't sway kids from that vision.

That beginning allowed Snoop Dogg to build a veritable empire. He has sold over 30 million albums, acted in Hollywood hits like Training Day and, impressively, in 2008, appeared at WrestleMania. You can't get more crossover than that.

But despite all the success Calvin Broadus Jr. has had since the '90s, it's the memories of those early days that'll draw out the Bendites. And they'll be representing a West Coast rap culture that, because of Snoop, now belongs to everyone regardless of where they grew up.

"I think it will be fun, especially for Bend," said Alanna McGlone—who bought a ticket the day they went on sale. "I used to rap along to "Gin & Juice" when I would cruise around Tacoma. We totally thought we were Gangster."

Her ticket-toting friend Alissa Norris agrees.

"I would roll around in my old BMW with my seat down low and my arm slung over the steering wheel," said Norris. "We all listened to [Snoop's] music back then."

Snoop isn't the only old-school rap artist playing Bend these days either. In fact, by the time this story hits newsstands, DMX will have ripped up Liquid Lounge. Tech N9ne is a regular performer here. We've also had more than our share of up-and- coming hip-hop artists hit up Bend this year. Topping that list are Seattle's Macklemore and Ryan Lewis as well as L.A. brother duo The Knux. It's almost on par with the percentage of bluegrass shows coming through Bend.

And according to Snoop Dogg show promoter Brett Grier with Random Presents, we might want to get used to seeing Snoop around.

"It was simply his time to schedule a Bend show," said Grier. "The plan is to make this an annual stop for Snoop as routing and timing will allow.

He seems to have plenty of fans in Central Oregon, and that's really what it boils down to on our end. Can an artist fill the house and leave their fans wanting more? If so, you can count on this not being his last time through our vibrant little mountain town."

With any luck Grier is right and Snoop will be upside our heads again next year. And who knows, maybe he'll bring the Tupac hologram that lit up the Coachella Music Festival last spring.

A guy can dream.

Snoop Dogg

8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18

Midtown Ballroom

51 NW Greenwood Ave.

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