Snoop Dogg Tells Martin Lawrence How Much His Show Meant To Hip-Hop (Video)
Martin Lawrence is the latest guest on Snoop Dogg’s GGN show. The two longtime friends enjoy a half-hour discussion about The Mack and the African American College Alliance clothing brand while revisiting some of Lawrence’s films. A majority of the chat is devoted to Martin, Lawrence’s 1990s FOX series.
Notably, Snoop Dogg describes how early Martin episodes were on the TV at Solar Studios when he, Dr. Dre, and “the Death Row inmates” were recording The Chronic. Martin Lawrence’s show debuted August 27, 1992. Dre’s solo debut, prominently featuring Snoop, dropped December 15, that same year. “They were neck-and-neck, at the same time,” recalls Snoop. “We was watchin’ Martin while we was makin’ The Chronic…’cause we had comedy in The Chronic. If you listen to The Chronic album, [there were] comedy sketches and sh*t in there that we had.” Martin points out how the late Ricky Harris was a comedic interlude fixture on many early Death Row Records releases. “Come on, man. We was doin’ all kinds of funny sh*t because we was inspired by [your show]. Even to this day, we still do funny sh*t. [GGN] is a funny show.”
Snoop affirms that Martin took big chances in the community. “That was dope that you was bringin’ ni**as on your show that was comedians, that was rappers, that was athletes—no hate, all love, and ni**as was linin’ up to be on your show. Dog, I’m sayin’ ni**as was mad when they didn’t get on your show. Man, and the cast.” In Season 2’s episode “No Love Lost,” Snoop Dogg made one of his TV debuts alongside Tha Dogg Pound as party-crashers. The May 1994 episode aired during a controversial time in Snoop’s music and personal life (as he was on trial for a murder he would eventually be acquitted of). Despite that, the show included one of Rap’s biggest stars. Martin also provided TV spots for Biggie Smalls, OutKast, Method Man, Bushwick Bill, Tone-Loc, and Kid. Sometimes it was musical breaks. Other times, like with Snoop, it was guest roles.
“Beautiful cast, man” replies Lawrence to Snoop’s compliment. “I couldn’t ask for a better cast. Tisha Campbell, Tichina Arnold, Carl Payne, Tommy Ford: just beautiful.” Ford died in October of 2016, after a ruptured aneurysm in his abdomen.
Snoop points out that the show called back to some charms of 1970s sitcoms starring Black characters. “The way y’all went to the radio station, then you’d come back to the apartment. It’s clever, man. I grew up watching Good Times, The Jeffersons, Sanford & Son…there wasn’t a whole lot of moving around. But the stories was the sh*t, ’cause you felt like they was your stories. That’s what your sh*t was. It was the ’90s’ rebirth of ’70s great television.”
At the top of the episode, Martin says that his late mentor, Robin Harris, told Spike Lee about his talent. After Harris took Lee to see Martin’s stand-up act, it secured him a role in 1989’s Do The Right Thing. That job led to House Party.
“That’s dope that people was pluggin’ people up back then. It was never about me, it was always about having the baddest mothaf*ckas around me,” says Snoop. “That’s how it was on Death Row. I brought RBX, I brought Kurupt, I brought people to the table that I knew that I thought was better than me, or was gonna make me better by having these dope spirits around. That’s what you did when you got your show. When you had the Martin show, you had some bad mothaf*ckas around you.” Martin says that Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor inspired him to dream of a TV series. That dream always had his name as the title.
“When I got the opportunity, I wanted to seize the moment and do all that I could do to make it a hit. That’s why I was doing all the characters, the ‘Jerome,’ all of them.” In recent years, Martin says he was approached to make a Martin film that he would have starred in. However, none of those plans came to fruition.
Lawrence adds that he wanted to reflect young relationships on television. In the early ’90s, the family sitcom still reigned. Shows like Martin, and later, Friends, mirrored twenty-somethings.
In 2016, Martin Lawrence: Doin’ Time released.