WICHITA — A sold-out crowd at the Cotillion began to boo Thursday night as the wait for headliner Snoop Dogg hit the 40-minute mark.
Before that, one of the opening acts couldn't stop referring to his location as being in Kansas City. It wasn't looking like a banner night for entertainment in Wichita.
When he finally did hit the stage, though, Snoop Dogg re-energized 2,000 fans by delivering an hour-long set that included nearly all of his familiar hits of the past two decades. The southern California rapper began his set with "I Wanna Rock" before launching into the songs that made him arguably the most popular hip-hop artist during the early and mid-1990s.
Snoop, whose real name is Calvin Broadus Jr., became a well-known commodity in the early '90s after performing on several tracks of mentor Dr. Dre's 1992 album, "The Chronic," then releasing his own "Doggystyle" in 1993. The album went quadruple platinum.
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His 11th album, "Doggumentary," is scheduled for a March 29 release.
Snoop, wearing a long yellow T-shirt that said "We Are Da West," went on stage at about 11:05 p.m., two hours after the lights went down for the first of four opening acts. He was joined by seven other performers; most noteworthy were Daz Dillinger, Kurupt and Warren G, a childhood friend who joins Snoop and Nate Dogg in the group 213.
The opening acts were local rapper Manish Law, Sean Garrett, Mac Shawn 100 and Young Pilot. Mac Shawn fell out of favor by repeatedly addressing the crowd as "Kansas City," apparently oblivious to the other performers who correctly identified the city.
Mac Shawn 100 and Young Pilot left the stage at 10:26, and the crowd grew restless when the wait for Snoop passed 30 minutes. After 40 minutes, a musical montage welcomed him to the stage, but not before his DJ asked, "How many of ya'll are smokin' weed out there tonight?"
The crowd sang along with "P.I.M.P." and "The Next Episode," songs on the albums of other rappers for which Snoop provided a cameo verse. After those, Snoop delved into his personal catalog, requesting of the DJ: "Can you please pour these people some of my favorite drink?" It was an obvious setup for "Gin & Juice," from "Doggystyle."
Some of Snoop's backing rappers were given time to shine. Kurupt performed his most well-known single, "We Can Freak It," and Warren G brought out "Regulate," a duet with Nate Dogg that appeared on Warren G's first album. Kurupt and Warren G also rapped a verse of "Ain't No Fun," another song from "Doggystyle."
Snoop fit a lot into his 60 minutes on stage, performing all or most of about 15 songs. He gave the obligatory salute to deceased friend and former Death Row labelmate 2Pac, performing the 2Pac hit "Hail Mary" and his own duet with the late rapper, "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted."
Snoop was joined by about a dozen women from the crowd, who danced while he performed "Sexual Seduction." Then, after declaring he had been able to get the crowd to sing, rap and scream, he coaxed fans to "Jump Around" (originally by House of Pain) and "Drop It Like It's Hot", before closing with "Who Am I (What's My Name)?"
There are few rappers, past or present, whose talents match those of Snoop, who has a distinctive voice and has shown the versatility to last 20 years in an ever-changing genre. He's most known for his work in the 1990s, and Thursday night's audience of mostly 20-somethings responded most strongly to songs from that era.
Nearing 40, Snoop continues to produce albums and reinvent himself while returning to his roots for pleasing live performances.