By Zane Bhansali
As of now, esports is yet to have a major drug scandal. However, any league that welcomes rapper Snoop Dogg to its ranks might need to be prepared to have a discussion about an unexpected performance-enhancing substance: marijuana. According to Snoop, smoking weed helps him play better, specifically in "Madden NFL 19."
"It makes me focus," he said in an interview with Cheddar Esports’ Erin Ashley Simon at his Los Angeles compound. "It helps me focus more on what I'm supposed to be doing offensively, defensively, and it helps me make particular plays and moves that I normally wouldn't make if I wasn't focused.”
It’s hard to argue with the results.
Snoop Dogg had his cake and ate it too last week at E3, where he won the third edition of his own "Gangsta Gaming League," prevailing over his friends and rap brethren alike in "Madden NFL 19." This marks Snoop’s second victory in the GGL, which features competitors such as fellow rapper Chevy Woods alongside Snoop's longtime friends. Despite the fact that Snoop has tasted victory before, he was still overcome with emotion upon winning, burying his head in his hands and breaking into tears of joy after defeating his competitor Shelton in the finals.
"These is my homies and my family members," Snoop said post-victory, cradling a Super Bowl replica trophy in one hand and a blunt in the other.
"A lot of us don't get to see each other, and when we do play each other it be great games. It was just a hard-fought battle, and like I said, I just came to have fun. To win it all, it's different when you don't set up a tournament to win it ー you set it up so somebody else can win it, but at the same time, you're competitive and you're playing hard ... I ended up winning because I like to play hard."
Next, Snoop wants to bring that competitive drive to a larger stage: the realm of professional esports. "It just gets me ready for whenever I'm invited to another tournament that is not involved with my friends, where it's actual gamers and people who really play the game and professionals," he said.
"That way I'll be able to represent our clique, and the homies will feel good about saying that 'Snoop Dogg is a representation of who we are. By being a champ for the homies' league, now he can go represent us against anybody else.'"
Now that Snoop has established his dynasty on his own league, he wants to expand the GGL to a younger audience ー and what better way than by throwing a Fortnite tournament?
"We're definitely looking at doing more tournaments and more events in the venue here for kids that will be based around games that the kids like. You know, things like 'Fortnite' and games of that nature.”
Snoop originally announced the GGL in March via his cannabis-focused digital media platform, MERRY JANE, describing it as "one professional sports league that will most definitely allow the use of cannabis” -- a distinction that may pose some problems in his all-ages vision, but most definitely lends a unique vibe to the league.
While the GGL is Snoop's first entrance into esports, it's by no means his introduction to video games at large. He famously collaborated with the late "Boyz n the Hood" director John Singleton on the canceled open-world epic "Fear and Respect," a project Snoop has recently called on to be revived to honor Singleton's memory.
In addition, Snoop has lent his music and voice to several games including "Def Jam: Fight for New York," "Call of Duty: Ghosts," where players can download an announcer pack featuring the rapper's voice, and "Way of the Dogg," a martial arts-themed rhythm game in which the protagonist is trained by the Doggfather himself.
"It's really nothing," Snoop says of his video game voice acting resume.
"I'm just doing me no matter what it is. That's the beauty of it all, is that I'm not really in a stressed situation where I have to really try or figure it out. I'm just doing me, and whatever it calls for, I know how to turn it on and turn it off when necessary."