Snoop Dogg Shares How Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle Inspire Him Daily (Exclusive)

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Snoop Dogg has been an icon for 25 years, but he's not showing any signs of slowing down. The rap legend sat down with ET's Kevin Frazier to talk about everything from late Los Angeles legends Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle, to cancel culture, to his enduring brand.

"[I'm] just a young boy that grew up having a lot of dreams, a lot of wishes and a lot of hope, and he actually executed a lot of them and he learned how to forge a friendship with the world. He learned how to live himself, he learned how to reflect love, he learned how to learn, he learned how to teach, he learned how to be a mentor, a father, a husband, a friend, and took all of that and created a business out of it," Snoop says of his iconic persona and success. "I'm in the business of love. I'm in the business of doing me and being who I am. I don't have a script for the things that I do because it's just me, every day."

One of the "Drop It Like It's Hot" rapper's latest endeavors has him lending his name to his very own wine, a collaboration with Napa's 19 Crimes winery, called Snoop Cali Red.

"It was prestige to get into wine and to know the smell of it, the origins and where it comes from," Snoop says, noting that the wine game is a "step up" from his signature "Gin and Juice" or other drinks he came up on as a young rapper. "The whole get-down, it was interesting for me, so I wanted to dig in to it."

And of course, he's sent a "couple of cases" to his most famous foodie friend: Martha Stewart. "You know I can't give her [just] one bottle... she gonna blow that on a meal. She gonna pour all that with a meal she makes."

"She's probably gonna make a sangria," he adds with a laugh. "She might go to that level with it."

Ever the career chameleon, Snoop has paved the way for many young rappers and stars since breaking onto the scene in the mid-'90s and says now, at age 48, one of the "greatest compliments" he can receive is to be looked at as a leader in his industry.

"That means people trust you and they depend on you. So that makes you really want to fine-tune everything that you're doing and try not to be hypocritical, try to live by and do the things that you do," he explains. "That's the easy part about me, is that I just do me. So it's really not hard for me to lead."

It's a role he grew into and is always looking for inspiration in, the Long Beach, California, native notes, adding that he looks to two late Los Angeles legends -- Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle -- for daily motivation.

"When I wake up in the morning, that's the first thing I say, you know, I got to keep that enlightenment, that spirit alive, of the Mamba mentality... and then run this marathon like Nipsey," he says. "We lost two great kings, but at the same time, both of their lives were examples of what we can do to be better."

"The thing about the Kobe mentality is that, you know, he showed us that you could be great in your profession, but you can be even greater after your profession -- to master yourself to learn how to be great... Find ways to maximize the strength of who you are. Not just what you was, but who you are."

For Snoop, that means everything from winemaking to producing a Sherlock Holmes–inspired TV series set in Long Beach -- which is based on Joe Ide's IQ novel series -- to dreams of building his own full-scale production studios to provide "great material and content, to give an opportunity to those who may not get it."

But that's not to say he's leaving rap in the rearview. In fact, Snoop is next on the docket for an upcoming Verzuz battle, the already-iconic showdown series started by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland on Instagram Live. Snoop will face off against DMX in one of the first Verzuz battles to be streamed on Apple Music -- playing their biggest hits for fans on July 22 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. 

However, even though Snoop and DMX came up in the days of East Coast vs. West Coast rap, he notes that Verzuz is a "celebration."

"It's not a derogatory thing, where we don't like each other," he explains. "It's a celebration of two artists who naturally respect each other, love each other, who deserve to be in the ring to celebrate each other's music."

In fact, there aren't many people Snoop doesn't have love for these days. He admits that he finds Kanye West's recent political ambitions "confusing," but still sees him as a genius artist and producer. "I heard some of his music and it sounds amazing. I think musically, he should find himself and just find that comfort zone with establishing himself for what he's great at."

And he has no ill will toward Jimmy Kimmel, who recently came under fire for blackface sketches in the '90s in which he played basketball player Karl Malone. Kimmel's apology included references to many impressions he'd done of Black people over the years, Snoop included.

"I just feel like Jimmy Kimmel shouldn't be crucified for something he did in the past based off of who he's become," Snoop notes. "He's a lovable guy, he's a family man... I've dealt with him 100 times. He has no racist blood in his heart. He loves people."

"In my past, I've used words that are offensive to certain communities that we were foolishly using back in the days. It's documented," he admits. "Music, movies, TV, have used certain words that weren't cool right now. They aren't acceptable now. Even though it wasn't cool then, but they were more acceptable then -- you can't crucify somebody for the lack of understanding back then if they've got it now."

See more on Snoop's epic life and career in the video below.

 
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