With Tour Close to Selling Out, Snoop Explains Why He Is Launching an Agency With Promoter & Partner Bobby Dee
As rap veteran Snoop Dogg looked across the sellout crowd at the Observatory in Santa Ana, California for his Wednesday (Dec. 4) concert, the title of his new album and lead single, “I Wanna Thank Myself,” needed little explanation.
With a career that includes than 20 albums (three No. 1s and 11 in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart) and 48 singles on the Hot 100, the West Coast icon is taking his touring business into his own hands, launching agency and promotion company Uncle Snoop’s Army with business partners Bobby Dee and Jim Filipan.
The booking agency is licensed in Calfornia and offers both exclusive and non-exclusive representation deals with a growing roster that includes Keith Sweat, Warren G, Trae THA Truth, Lisa Lisa, Bone Thugs N Harmony and Trish Toledo.
The move has support from Live Nation, who is co-promoting Snoop’s 2019 I Want To Thank Myself Club Tour, as well as AEG which co-produces the Once Upon a Time in the LBC festival in Long Beach with Uncle Snoop's Army and Bobby Dee Presents.
Snoop split with longtime agency WME last year — while he didn’t detail what led to the split, Snoop told Billboard during a Nov. 27 press event that his new agency was looking to “put a new face on the game.”
“They ain't used to seeing black people and brown people work together, especially in a positive light,” Snoop said of the agency business. “They used to us just being slaves and being boys all the time. But I'm tired of being a boy, I'm tired of being a slave. And that's just what it is. It's 2020 around the corner and that's what it's gonna be. It's boss up or get up off it.”
Snoop said he is not anti talent agency and continues to work with other agencies including UTA.
“It’s not that the agencies are bad — some of the agents and the agencies are amazing. They have great people and they do great work within. But others just say, ‘This is the system,’” he tells Billboard.
“It's just like the NFL — you got 32 owners and all of them don't think it's okay for people to speak their mind. Instead they have a mentality of, ‘N***a, play football and shut up.’ And that's the same mentality that some of these agencies and these agents have. And it’s up to people like me to rebel and be like, 'Nah, f*** that. Me and Bobby are going to defeat that."
Dee has been promoting shows since 1987 and began focusing on EDM and reggaeton in 2006. His partner Filipan also has a long history in the music business and developed a popular 80s festival series with British DJ Richard Blade — their next event is Feb. 15 at Microsoft Theater in LA.
“We're giving artists a chance to navigate their own careers while having a mentor or big brother watching them so they don't get screwed by the other big agencies,” Dee tells Billboard Wednesday outside the Orange County “Often if you're not number one, then you're forgotten.”
Besides hip hop, Dee has promoted a number of Latin shows and reggaeton concerts by artists like Daddy Yankee and J Balvin and wants to see more crossover shows with hip hop and Spanish language music.
“Snoop is looking for that new blood and developing that talent,” Dee tells Billboard. “He has an incredible ear for music is ready to build a roster and legacy.”
And he’s still selling tickets, with more than a dozen tours on the I Wanna Thank Me run sold out in advance, as well as new projects that include a lullabies album and an appearance in video game NHL 20 as a playable character.
“I’m trying to put something together in a real positive business manner to where you can respect my team, respect black people and say ‘wow, they came together and did something extraordinary,” he tells Billboard.