US rapper Snoop Dogg gets down in the desert
ABU DHABI // The often-controversial rapper Snoop Dogg lived up to his reputation last night when he performed in Abu Dhabi - dressed in a khandoura and wearing sunglasses.
The singer, known for hits such as Doggfather and Don't Stop, stayed true to form, letting slip a few expletives within minutes of arriving on stage - and throughout the concert. Despite the bad language, he did not disappoint the thousands of fans who bought tickets for the Yas Arena event.
Mussab Ahmed, 22, from Sudan, said: "We're all big fans. I know his music from my friends, from videos. I love it."
The rapper, who is also a film actor, reality TV star, comedian, presenter and producer, got the crowd going with some of his best-known tracks inclduing Drop It Like It's Hot and Sensual Seduction. He also covered tracks by other artists including Tupac's Nothing But A Gangster Party.
His decision to dress in full local attire for the first hour fortunately seemed to shock more than offend. Pictures of him were quickly uploaded to the internet and sent global through Twitter. Omar Mohamed, a 31-year-old Emirati from Abu Dhabi, said he was pleased the rapper made an effort to fit in. "It is a big surprise. I am not offended, it's Snoop!"
Hamed Shire, 25, from Somalia, agreed. "It was amazing," he said. "I go to all the concerts in Abu Dhabi and no one ever thought to do anything like that. It is crazy."
He later changed into a white T-shirt with a small UAE flag on the side, Etisalat written across the front and the number nine on the back. Showing his softer side, the rapper paid tribute to his recently deceased friend Nate Dogg, with whom he formed a rap group with in 1991 - the same year his troubled life took a turn for the better.
Following several brushes with the law, some of which resulted in jail time, everything changed when he was taken under the wing of the producer Dr Dre in the early nineties. Less than a year later his debut album, 1992's Doggystyle, topped the Billboard Hot 100.
During a 19-year career, the rapper has gone on to release 10 other studio albums and sold tens of millions of records around the world. But while his career has enjoyed an upwards trajectory, working alongside some of the music industry's biggest names, including Justin Timberlake, the rapper's personal life has not run quite as smoothly.
Having been arrested for a variety of misdemeanours since he was a young man, Snoop has been dogged by controversy. Arrested alongside his entourage at Heathrow Airport, in 2006, after being involved in an altercation, the performer was denied a visa to the UK the following year.
The ban was eventually overturned. Snoop was also refused entry to Australia, in 2007, after government officials revealed he had failed a character test. He was eventually granted permission to perform in the country in 2008.
Personal issues aside, the last few years have seen a resurgence in the rapper's popularity. Recent collaborations on songs include with pop singer Katy Perry. His 11th studio album, Doggumentary, was released at the end of last month and made it into the top 10 of the US charts.