They say it's lonely at the top, but for artists, sometimes it's just boring. For Calvin Broadus, better known as rapper Snoop Dogg, the genre that brought worldwide fame and success for close to two decades had grown tiresome. So in July, Snoop announced he was giving up the pimptastic, money-chasing culture of the rap game, changing his name to Snoop Lion and starting a new career recording and performing family-friendly reggae music.
Will Tampa's concert fans embrace the Doggfather's new persona? We won't know until Snoop Dogg, Lion or otherwise steps on stage at the Forum Saturday to headline Wild 94.1's Last Damn Show 14. But until then, maybe we can get a peek into Snoop's future by examining these five other cases of celebrity switcheroos, and how they turned out.
Garth Brooks becomes Chris Gaines – Forget country music, Garth Brooks is one of the most successful names in any genre of music, sitting at number three on the list of all-time top-selling artists behind only the Beatles and Elvis. But forget country music is exactly what Brooks did in 1999, when he decided to grow (or possibly glue on) a very creepy soul patch, and put out a rock album under the name Chris Gaines. The outcome: Perhaps embarrassed that the album only went double platinum (actually a disappointment in the heyday of huge CD sales), he never recorded another studio album again.
Michael Jordan switches to baseball – Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time, who mesmerized fans with the seemingly impossible things he did on the court (and above it). He shocked the world when he retired from the NBA in the prime of his career and joined the Birmingham Barons minor league baseball team. The outcome: Jordan struck out as a baseball player, literally. He batted just .202, and bobbled some easy balls as a right fielder. The real winners were his Barons teammates who, thanks to Jordan, got a fancy new $300,000 team bus.
David Bowie becomes Ziggy Stardust – Today David Bowie is regarded as one of the most influential rock musicians of all time, but in the early 1970s he was a minor blip on the radar, known mostly for having scored a novelty hit with 1969's "Space Oddity." That all changed when Bowie introduced a harder-edged sound, and a way, way softer look. He started wearing makeup and dresses and performing as the androgynous Martian, Ziggy Stardust. The outcome: Bowie, who was prettier than most women, became a massive rock star.
Lil' Wayne records a rock album – In 2009, Lil' Wayne was in all likelihood the most popular rapper on the planet, so of course he wanted to record a full-length rock album. Music critics let out a collective "wow, this is really happening," and "Rebirth," featuring Wayne "singing" in auto-tune over guitar riffs was released. The outcome: Bad reviews, but decent sales. The fact that Wayne could recover from the karaoke meets high school garage band ridiculousness of songs such as "Prom Date" is a testament to his skill as a rapper.
Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes governor – In the movie "Commando," action star Arnold Schwarzenegger impales a man against a boiler with a steam pipe, before telling his enemy to "let off some steam." In 2003, the people of California elected that man governor of their state. The outcome: Schwarzenneger succeeded in having the coolest governor nickname ever (the governator), but failed to get California's deficit under control by the time he left office (roughly $25 billion).