"I hope he doesn't play any new shit," one guy said, while waiting in line for Snoop Dogg's rare small-venue gig at the 600-capacity Brooklyn Bowl Monday night.
Inside the club -- a former iron factory in a row of unkempt warehouses in a desolate stretch of Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- DJ Fancypants spun some old shit, foreshadowing the fan's wish-fullfillment.
Fancypants, aka Interpol singer Paul Banks, got the crowd revved up with a set of '90s-era hip hop: gut-rumbling bass, with lyrics and melodies hanging in the air like an afterthought. Banks shuffled through CDs, offering up Craig Mack's "Flava in Ya Ear," "Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check," by Busta Rhymes, and, while giving the crowd a sly smile, "Freak Nasty's "Da' Dip."
After his set, the waiting began. Dogg-devotees swilled beer and scarfed down Disco Fries (lots of cheese and gravy), as swirls of smoke came from backstage, indicating it might be a while. Finally, an hour behind schedule, Snoop appeared in a Yankees jacket, floating out to those unavoidably enticing opening chords of "The Next Episode," mashed up with operatic vocals just to amp up the drama.
Cradling a bejeweled mic, and backed by his loyal trio of Dogg Pound Gangstas, he asked, "Anybody smoking weed out there tonight?" before launching into "Murder Was the Case," and nearly instantly the room felt dense with sickly sweet smoke in response.
He progressed into "The Next Episode" with barely a pause, rapping with his left hand extended, moving like he was spinning records or conducting a languid orchestra. Yelling "Stop!" midway through, he let a beat pass before: "You know what we do everyday."
They did, and they screamed that line with an enthusiasm beyond all those times they had belted it out in the backseat of some friend's car.
Snoop's a showman, and he refused to let the momentum dwindle. He served up his standards ("Gin and Juice," "Let's Get High") and, if that weren't enough, other people's, too (50 Cent's "P.I.M.P,", House of Pain's "Jump Around"), along with two tributes to fallen rap heroes (The Notorious B.I.G's "Hypnotize," and Tupac Shakur's "Hail Mary").
He wrapped up the hour-long set with one new song -- "I Wanna Rock," from Malice 'N' Wonderland -- then closed with his 1993 solo debut single, "What's My Name?"
For "no new shit" guy, wherever he was, it must've been a relief.