Snoop Dogg has previously shared his "dream" line-up for a hip-hop tour and a short list of his favorite rappers of all-time, so it should come as no surprise that when XXL recently asked the veteran rapper to name the most influential people in music over the past 20 years, he didn't bat an eye.
"I definitely would have to say JAY-Z, E-40, Too Short, Puff Daddy," Snoop told XXL during an interview for their 20th Anniversary issue. "Just because of longevity and the way that they've been able to reinvent themselves and stay relevant and stay true to who they are. And remain in the top five in conversation, no matter what it is when it comes to hip-hop."
Snoop Dogg has more hip-hop cred in his right pinky finger than I do in my entire being, but it's impossible to have a conversation about the most influential hip-hop artist of the past 20 years (1997 to 2017) without mentioning Kanye West and Lil Wayne.
Each of the artists mentioned by Snoop influenced, to varying degrees, artistry, production, fashion and language, but none of his picks—over the past 20 years, at least—have had a greater impact on the culture at large and its progress than Ye and Weezy. Both Kanye and Wayne redefined the entire image of what rappers could look and sound like, and each did so multiple times. From flows to fashion, subject matter to genre-blending, Auto-Tune embrace to blockbuster and classic songs and albums—to say nothing of their G.O.O.D. Music and Young Money empires—nobody can discuss the trends and influence of hip-hop culture over the last two decades without mentioning Kanye and Wayne.
While Jay and Puff undoubtedly influenced artists and fans alike who aspired to reach success in business, the sounds, styles and look of the entire industry, especially over the past 15 years, was truly transformed by the energy, passion, creativity, and ingenuity of a producer-turned-rapper from Chicago and a Cash Money millionaire from New Orleans.