That Time Snoop Ran an Actual Brothel

She Matters: His pimp persona wasn't just for show. He should be ashamed, but he's not.

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David LaChapelle, Pamela Anderson and Snoop Dogg, with guests, at 2003 MTV Video Music Awards (Mark Mainz/Getty)

(The Root) -- Nothing should surprise me about rapper Snoop Dogg -- or, er, Snoop Lion, as he recently rebranded himself in what seems to be a midlife crisis. This is a man who launched his career 20 years ago with an album cover for the now-classic Doggystyle that featured an image of a hybrid dog-woman bent over with her head tucked inside a doghouse. His notable antics over the last two decades include appearing at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2003 with two black (and braless) women on leashes; parading around with an alleged former pimp; and producing porn.

Snoop did his damnedest to become the face of postmillennial pimping, a new age Dolomite (the lyrics) meets Goldie (the hair). And until now, I thought his pimp-culture obsession was some shaky delusion of grandeur from a boy without proper black male role models who grew into a man who didn't know any better.

But nawl. Snoop, according to a recent Rolling Stone interview, was a for-real pimp, an occupation he took on after he became a platinum-selling artist. That actually surprises me. "As a kid I dreamed of being a pimp, I dreamed of having cars and clothes and bitches to match," Snoop told Rolling Stone, seemingly without a trace of remorse. "I said, 'F--k it -- I'm finna do it.'"

The rapper described the rolling brothel he operated while on a Playboy tour. "I had a bus follow me with 10 bitches on it. I could fire a bitch, f--k a bitch, get a new ho: It was my program," said Snoop, who has been married since 1997. "City to city, titty to titty."

And apparently this was all for kicks. In the interview, Snoop claims that professional athletes, including members of the Denver Broncos and Nuggets, were regular patrons of his service, but he says that, in atypical pimp fashion, he did not take a cut from the women's profits. "I'd act like I'd take the money from the bitch, but I'd let her have it," he said, as if somehow that made his actions better. "It was never about the money; it was about the fascination of being a pimp."

He's since given up The Life, but I still take issue with his seeming nostalgia for the days when he participated in the exploitation and degradation of women -- not even for profit but to live out a childhood, and childish, fantasy of what it is to be a man, or even The Man. A 41-year-old married man with a daughter, reminiscing fondly about the days when he cheated on his wife, committed interstate crimes and intimidated women by pretending that he would take their (very) hard-earned money just for the thrill of it, isn't funny or cute. It's sick, misogynistic and sad.

Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. Follow her on Twitter.

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