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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 04/15/2008

In Praise of Snoop Dogg

By Liz Kelly

Defying convention yet again, Snoop Dogg makes the scene at Monday night's CMT Awards. (AP)

Bow wow wow yippee yo yippee yay, Snoop Dogg's in the [expletive] house.

I may take some heat here for giving props to a man who is too hot (hot = packing heat) for most airports and one entire country (Great Britain), but in the past year or so Snoop Dogg -- aka Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr. -- has been quietly ripping a stereotype he helped create to shreds. He's emerging like a butterfly from his Crip-enabled chrysalis to transcend his former image of a gang-banging rhyme slinger.

He may not be perfect, but hey, he's trying. Last week he risked a big time street cred reduction when he sat down with the harpies of "The View" to talk about his new album and line of clothes. And while Barbara Walters and Elisabeth Hasselbeck combine to cast a cool-chilling pall on almost anyone who steps into their web, Snoop was able to simultaneously stay true to himself while charming even the stoic Walters, who chided him for his continued pot use. Hey, it's medical, says Snoop.

In addition to the new clothing line and album, Snoop's empire has extended to a reality show -- "Snoop Dogg's Father Hood" -- based on his home life (how un-thug is that?) and his Snoop Youth Football League, an L.A. based non-profit aimed at teaching leadership and team values.

And as for that new album, well, according to Snoop "Ego Trippin'" represents a departure. Gone are the days, he says, of misogyny and glorifying gang bangers. Said Snoop of the album: "It is a reflection of my life and how I have grown as not only an artist but also a man - it is about me staying true to where I came from while having to accept where I am in my life today, it's deep."

Am I advocating Snoop Dogg life lesson manuals for teenagers? No. But nor am I prepared to hold Pete Doherty or Amy Winehouse or even Angelina Jolie up as paragons or model citizens. But, being of a certain age I can appreciate certain aspects of their game. In Snoop's case, that means blaring "Gin and Juice" (NSFW) without it influencing how I roll (if I actually "roll" -- the jury's still out). I guess I am saying that we're none of us blameless and, as Snoop said last week on "The View" (and I paraphrase): you can't undo the past; all you can do is try to make the present and future better.

By Liz Kelly  | April 15, 2008; 10:43 AM ET
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