Long before I started writing, porn was my first hustle. No I didn’t star, or direct, or even hold a boom mike (pause?) in any nasty films, but I did use one particular VHS tape as an entry point to the junior high black market of bootleg movies, music, drugs, and magazines.
A film starring the jheri-curled great Ebony Ayes somehow made its way from a friend’s father’s collection into my possession. I used that tape to barter for pretty much anything a teenager could ever want. You got the new Source Magazine? Let me read it for couple days, and you can get acquainted with Ebony. A nickel bag of weed? That’s good for a week. My biggest win was the time I traded Ebony away for a bootleg copy of the hip-hop documentary The Show.
That was the last time I ever saw her, and it was totally worth it. Whenever I think about “Who Got Some Gangsta Sh*t,” I think of the scene in The Show with Snoop and the homies on the tour bus, the whole mob dressed in DPGC blue and grey, weed smoke wafting through the air, and fingers twisting in unison. The smile of a celebrity endorser replaced with the hardened scowl of a young G not too far removed from the streets.
Snoop Dogg is a Crip. Yes he is funny, charismatic, and one of the most recognizable faces in pop culture. Yes he is willing to endorse anything under the sun, from Hot Pockets to Ron Paul. And yes, these days, he can be a bit of a caricature of himself. Still, I will never forget where his family friendly evolution began.