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Snoop steals the show in ‘Starsky & Hutch’

Critics say rapper hit all the right notes playing ‘Huggy Bear,’ but 'Tha Dogfather' wants better roles in movies.
/ Source: TODAY

He's one of the music industries biggest and most controversial stars with his often X-rated lyrics. But in just a few short years Snoop Dogg has gone from being a gang member, to Grammy nominated artist, to movie star. NBC Entertainment reporter Jill Rappaport talked with Snoop to hear about his newest venture, playing "Huggy Bear" in the new film, "Starsky & Hutch."

Snoop Dogg: “It was like a dream come true. As a kid I grew up watching ‘Starsky & Hutch' and looking at Huggy Bear and just you know, thinking he was like the first black superhero.  And for me to able to play him, it was like, ‘WOW!’ I get to sink my teeth into someone I really, really think that I can do.”

Jill Rappaport: “Let's talk about the casting. There were some writers that were at one point considering Chris Rock, Don Cheadle, and you landed the big gig.”

Snoop Dogg: “Yeah, that was special you know what I'm saying?  Because, that showed that they had enough confidence to believe that I could even pull off this magnitude of a role and by them giving me the opportunity, it showed the world that there's nothing that Snoop Dogg can't do.”

The road from multi-platinum music star to film star hasn't been easy for the controversial rapper born Calvin Broadus. From a drug conviction as a teenager to being acquitted of murder at the height of his popularity, Snoop's brushes with the law and his hardcore rap lyrics have made it difficult to gain widespread appeal.

Rappaport: “You have said that there are people at the top that don't understand how a guy, who you know, was very open and honest about having a drug problem, you know was involved in issues with the law. Who's had issues in the past, is become a huge success.”

Snoop Dogg: “Yeah, because I didn't walk a fine line from the beginning. But the thing is there's such a thing as a turnaround. To make a positive, you have to have a little bit of negative. And I feel like, you know, my negative is all done with. That's why I'm living so positive right now. And that's the hardest thing in Hollywood is to get rid of a reputation and create your new one.”

Rappaport: “You are obviously still aware of your detractors, who say, ‘this guy shouldn't be a role model and given endorsements and be an image-maker for kids because of his past.’ What do you say to those people now?”

Snoop Dogg: “Well, you know, those people don't move me -- don't make me.  And me, personally, I don't do it for money. I do it for the love of the game.”

Rappaport: “But how do you explain your lyrics to your kids?”

Snoop Dogg: “I don't. I'm not their role model. I'm their father, there’s a difference. That's personal with me. A role model is not personal. It's just someone that you pattern yourself after who, basically, leads and directs you through their best ability.”

But something he is taking personal is the lack of offers to play deeper characters. Despite roles in Denzel Washington’s "Training Day," John Singleton's "Baby Boy" and a starring role in the horror movie "Bones," Snoop Dogg feels he has yet to show his range.

Snoop Dogg: “I would like to play a deep character. My partner was telling me I need to play that Miles Davis character because I feel like Miles was deep.  And I feel like I can step into that role and bring Miles to life.”

Rappaport:  “Is this about wanting to play a more intense person or wanting to be taken more seriously?”

Snoop Dogg: “Both, I mean, I want to be taken more seriously.  And I want to play intense characters to where they drive me to want to become the great actor that I want to be. You know what I'm saying?  I eventually want to become a great actor and not rapper who turned actor.”

Rappaport: “What do you say to all those people out there who didn't believe you could make it?”

Snoop Dogg: “Yes, it's true that dreams can come true.  If it happened to me, it could happen to you.”

And the money keeps coming too. "The Dog Father of Hip-Hop" now has his own doll courtesy of Vital Toys.