When I found out I was going to see the Snoop Dogg Wonderland High School Tour, I was fully expecting to leave Rams Head Live in Baltimore with a second-hand contact high.
I knew that plenty of people in the crowd were going to be smoking marijuana and that my clothes were going to need a good dry cleaning afterward.
To my surprise (and relief) the marijuana smoke was held to a minimum due to vigilant security staff last night. I'm sure that many of the fans found this to be annoying, but I honestly didn't mind.
The performances by headliner Snoop Dogg and rapping duo Method Man and Redman were more than enough to keep the audience in an altered state.
These veteran performers could satisfy the wants of the most finicky hip-hop fans ...
Unlike the newest generation of rappers who spit out trite lyric after trite lyric with tired catch phrases and the ever-so-annoying trend of auto tuning, the three rappers last night showed that strong beats and a distinct sound can go a long way. They were crisp in their delivery, it was pretty easy to follow their lyrics, and they all possessed some true showmanship.
There were no elaborate bells and whistles when it came to stage design, either. Snoop had the most extensive set up with a group of 10 on stage with him — a mix of background rappers, musicians and a DJ. Method Man and Redman only had a DJ perform with them.
Method Man and Redman brought an unmatched energy to the stage, and kept up that momentum for their hour-long set. The duo threw water on the crowd. They hopped around, and ran from one side to another -- giving the audience a closer look. Method Man even body surfed at one point.
The two did a number of cuts from their latest album "Blackout! 2." The single "A-Yo" was particularly enjoyable. But the crowd really got into the performance when the two played some of their classic material.
Headliner Snoop Dogg was much more laid back than the duo. Apparently the real smoking was going on back stage. Snoop announced to his fans that he was high midway through his hour-long performance. Although he was much more reserved than the duo, he really didn’t show signs of being in an altered state when he took the audience through a musical journey spanning his nearly 20-year career.
Snoop launched into the classic "Gin and Juice" from his 1993 debut album "Doggystyle," which threw the crowd into a euphoric frenzy. "Bitch Please" from his 1999 album "No Limit Top Dogg" was also a crowd favorite.
Snoop's "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)" from "Doggystyle" had most of the crowd singing along. He later performed "Lay Low" from 2001's album "The Last Meal" after doing an anti-police skit. It was kind of corny, but quickly forgotten by the single "Drop It Like It's Hot" from 2004's "R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece." That song was set to a funky jazz arrangement, which was hot.
One of the highlights of Snoop's performance was when female rapper The Lady of Rage came to the stage for a duet. She then rapped her signature single "Afro Puffs," a crowd pleaser. I couldn't keep my eyes off of Snoop's microphone, which was encrusted in diamond nameplate with his name. It was impressively gaudy.
Other good songs during the set included "Who Am I (What's My Name?)" from Doggystyle, and "Sexual Eruption" from the 2007 album Ego Trippin.
Always the marijuana proponent, Snoop encouraged the audience to smoke weed before he left the stage. I didn't inhale, but I most definitely enjoyed the performances.
(Top photo by Getty Images. Bottom, handout photo)