Snoop Dogg is one of hip-hop’s most beloved figures, but how much of it is because of the music?
Not to beat a dead...Dogg, but he's far more than just a rapper. He’s a brand, a personality, an icon, but when was the last time he made real, impactful music? What’s the last Snoop Dogg verse you memorized? For me, it's been years. On the other hand, when was the last time you watched him do something entertaining? Probably two seconds ago. From shooting scenes with a naked Will Ferrell to playing a ‘70s version of himself in Starsky and Hutch to that one time he was a cartoon snail, Snoop Dogg is an acting tour de force. Well, now he’s starring in his own movies and releasing them via TrapFlix, which is a real thing (with 56k subscribers) that's basically Netflix for low-budget rap movies. Snoop owns it... because of course, he does.
So, Snoop’s got another business venture. What’s the big deal?
The big deal is that the movies he’s making are nothing like you would expect. Or they’re exactly what you expected, depending on your level of expectations for Snoop Dogg’s cinematic skill. There are no studios backing here, no big budget, hell, I'm not sure there's any budget at all, half of the "films" look like they're shot with an iPhone. Snoop’s movies are a throwback to the straight to DVD, Master P, bootleg-DVD era of rap, which of course is simultaneously a terrible and awesome thing. These movies are awful.
And on that note, it is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Mouse Trap.
If Mouse Trap had a Rotten Tomatoes score it would be “the half packet of McDonald's ketchup that got stuck to my shoe in the parking lot and I didn’t realize was there until I got to my car.” It’s terrible. It’s so shaky it looks like it was filmed by Michael J. Fox. The acting is...there's really no acting. The plot is as thin as Chance the Rapper’s legs, it’s wayyyyy too long and Snoop often just kind of rambles for twelve straight minutes. So what type of person would actually sit down for an hour and a half and watch something like Mouse Trap? Who? WHO???
Yeah, I watched it. All of it. Well, almost all of it. I'll admit to occasionally skipping ahead, but for all intents and purposes, I now consider myself one of the world's leading Mouse Trap aficionados. It’s amazing for all of the reasons it's also awful. Half the “actors” are just people in Snoop's crew, that girl in the jacket in the first scene when he's drawing on the whiteboard and talking? That’s his publicist. His actual publicist. (What up, Brianne?) For “work” Snoop clearly just made her and every other girl in the office sit down and act like they're interested while he rambles stoned out of his gourd. I won't front, that sounds like an even better job than I have.
Speaking of which, have you ever been high and started talking only to realize you have no idea what you are saying, but you continue to talk, hoping you'll eventually stumble across a coherent thought? That’s every scene. Every minute of Mouse Trap's 83 minutes feels made up on the spot like they were making this movie for a school project, and I fucking love it. If this were any other rapper this would only be awful, but amazingly, with Snoop, it kind of works.
Just when your attention starts to lag, these guys show up to "investigate" a murder. Just when you've started to think maybe the novelty has worn off, Snoop pimp checks a guy wearing a pink leather hat. And oh hey, look, it's Ray J! Oh shit, it's Big Sean! Well, hello there French Montana, I'm not even remotely surprised to see you here. Also boobs. There's a lot of boobs.
That’s it. There’s no tortured think piece here, there’s no larger framework, no Pulitzer prize winning investigation. We could get into rapper/Mouse Trap director JT The Bigga Figga, we could look at the Golden Age of the straight-to-DVD rap movie, but that’s an article for another day. Sometimes you just see something awful and have to share it.
So the next time you're gonna just stay at home, might I recommend a little TrapFlix and chill?