The Day Snoop Dogg came to Redfern

It's not every day you get to see rap royalty rolling down Redfern, but that's exactly what happened when Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., commonly known as Snoop Dogg, dropped by the Redfern Community Centre on October 30, 2008.

Closing in on 10 years since the date there are few people at the club who were around during the pandemonium that was Snoop, his entourage and the celebrity status he brought with him. One person that was there on the day was South Sydney Rabbitohs' Media Manager, Jeremy Monahan.

"He was in the country to do some community focused stuff. In the States, he runs the Snoop Youth Football League which is for young kids from disadvantaged families," said Monahan.

"So he wanted to talk to some young kids in our district about making sure you stay on the right path and make the most of your opportunities playing a sport.

"Staying active are all the messages he pushes through the Snoop Youth Football League." 

"The stuff he had to say was pretty cool for the people that were there. Telling the kids to stay on the right path and make good choices, stay healthy and have an active lifestyle and play sport, that sort of stuff. He was trying to make kids do that rather than going down the wrong path."

"He turned up in a big black SUV as celebrities tend to do. There were hundreds of people there and he was just there to talk to the people that showed up. Someone said there were 400 people there. It wasn't advertised, it was just word of mouth around the Redfern area."

"It was crazy. Him and his entourage roll down in their car and we just tried to get them inside. The two security guards he had with him were the two biggest human beings I had seen in my life.

"I thought guys like Dave Taylor and Sammy (Burgess) were the biggest people I had seen, but these guys would dwarf them!" He laughs.

"They wouldn't fit through your standard doorway, they just parted the crowd for Snoop to get through to talk to them. Shane Richardson was on crowd control that day and he was basically crowd surfing at one stage." 

"There was just so many people in the room all wanting to get a look or a piece of Snoop. Richo was trying to help with the crowd and basically got taken away by the crowd at one stage as Snoop was leaving. It was amazing scenes," he said.

If one of the world's biggest rap artists was going to be on show that day, then it was only fair that South Sydney would send across their biggest star at the time. Enter Nathan Merritt. A try-scoring freak and a massive fan of Snoop.

"Russell was bringing in celebrities all the time and I was at the height of my game back then," said Merritt.

"I remember having a conversation with Russ one time and asking him 'have you got any hookups? Do you know Snoop because he's my favourite rapper and it would be awesome to get the chance to meet him if he comes to Sydney.'

"He said 'leave it to me I'll see what I can do.' A couple of months went by and I thought it was all dead and buried until he came to me with this surprise," says Merritt as he tries his best to contain a smile that's already cracked across his face. He pauses for a moment and continues once more.

"He gave me a DVD with a shout out from Snoop and said that he's going to bring Snoop in and I'll have a chance to meet him and that he was going to bring him down to Redfern and I might be able to show him around."

The DVD that Merritt referred to was a tribute video Snoop sent across to via Russell Crowe earlier in the season that played out on the big screen at ANZ Stadium prior to kick off.

The video begins with white text on a black screen that says Snoop Dogg to Nate Dogg, aka The Freak while his 1993 track titled Gz and Hustlas plays in the background. As the piano keys close out and the beat drops Snoop begins his cameo to the camera.

"Yo South Sydney wassup this is the big Snoop Dogg D.O. Double G sending a shootout to my main man number two the freak, Nate Dogg. That's right ya'll Nate Dizzle ma nizzle fo shizzle."

"Keep scoring them goals man they can't catch you freak! You off the hook man I love the way you do what you do man. Big Snoop Dogg South Sydney wassup, what up Russell Crowe? Ain't nothing to it but to do it. Nate Dogg you the freak man! The freak is on the loose and you can't catch him. The most points in the league how bout that? You doing what I do. Keep scoring them points."

The cameo comes to a close and Snoop signs off in style by throwing peace signs to the camera while the track fades back in.

Snoop's appearance down at the Block gave Merritt a golden opportunity to meet one of his idols in person. Media Manager Monahan reflects once more.

"When we found out that Snoop was coming we got Nathan to go down to the event. We got a Rabbitohs jersey with his number 2 on the back and Snoop across the top and Merro got to present the jersey to him in front of everyone."

"Merro grew up on the Block, he grew up in Redfern so it was special for him to have someone like that there talking to kids that were exactly the same as Merro was growing up in that area. Merro's an example of the levels that you can reach," he said.

As for Snoop, it wouldn't be the first Rabbitohs jersey he would don after he wore the 2006 away strip while performing at the once popular Good Vibes festival in Australia. That didn't stop his appreciation for the 2008 Centenary jersey presented by Merritt on behalf of the club.

"He was pretty relaxed in his own little world just kicking back." Laughs Merritt.

"Just to get someone like that onboard with the Rabbitohs at that time was unreal, we weren't doing too well I think we were just trying to break back into the top 8 back then so to get him in a jersey and as a supporter. It was a great chance to cement Souths in the spotlight."

"He was appreciative of the jumper and as you can see he put it on so it goes to show how much it meant to him. He said 'thanks for the jersey, keep doing what you do.' It was great just to meet him." Reflects Merritt.

"It was pretty surreal. I couldn't believe it. I never thought I'd get the chance to meet Snoop, and Russ provided that opportunity for me."

"I was just happy to present him the jumper and get a photo with him."

30 October, 2008. Another epic day in the history books of South Sydney that's 'fo' sho.'

 

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