Rapper Snoop Dogg and comedian-actor-rapper Mike Epps don’t want to give away a lot about what audiences will encounter in “Imagine That!,” the collaborative live show they’re bringing to the Gibson Amphitheater on Wednesday.
But it’s safe to say there’s one thing people shouldn’t expect from these two: understatement.
“I felt like with my comedy and my music, and him being so funny, that we could come together and do something like nobody never did,” Epps, 39, said in a recent interview with Snoop Dogg, a.k.a. Calvin Broadus. “It will have a lot of different facets: film, comedy, live performances. We have dancing girls, we have a band, sets, glitter -- everything like a musical and standup comedy all in one, just like back in the '30s, like at the Cotton Club.”
The loose concept on which they based “Imagine That!” is that of two characters, closely resembling Snoop Dogg and Epps, who are thrown in jail together on marijuana possession charges and brainstorm ideas for a club they plan to open once they are released. Epps will be the emcee, Snoop Dogg the main talent.
“Dogg is singing and everything,” said Epps, who hosted this year’s BET Hip-Hop Awards. “It’s going to shock you when you see him in a different element.”
A promotional video for “Imagine That!” shows the rapper, also 39, in musical segments playing a Rick James-like rock-R&B star, and another in which he’s a romantic soul crooner, roles that Snoop relishes.
“I don’t think of myself as a hip-hop artist,” Snoop said. “I think of myself as a rock star.”
The rapper says “Imagine That!” will be a mix of scripted and improvised material. The message? “The only message is to have fun,” Snoop said.
Added Epps: “We’re just entertaining people, so we’re going to keep it as entertainment. If somebody comes and gets a good message out of it, congratulations to them on that.”
Beyond impending live performances, the two men envision a broader reach for their show. But not Broadway.
“I don’t know if Broadway can handle this,” Snoop said. “My goal is to get it into more theaters, on TV and get a real situation going; we want to become a real corporation and get into the funny business around the world, have a show in Vegas and have people flying in from all over the world, like they did for Frank [Sinatra] and Dean [Martin].”
Said Epps: “This thing has got so many wheels to it. There’s a real sincerity to it, but it’s got the entertainment too.”
-- Randy Lewis
Photo of Snoop Dogg, left. Credit: Bryan Bedder / Getty Images
Photo of Mike Epps. Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images