Dogg toyz: Funko, rapper Snoop Dogg greenlight new retail venture

EVERETT — Toymaker Funko has entered into a joint venture with famed rapper Snoop Dogg.

Billed as the Everett-based toymaker’s first co-branded retail venture, Funko will open Tha Dogg House, a new store in Inglewood, California.

Its next door neighbor?

Snoop Dogg’s Clothing, which stocks the rap artist’s clothing, accessories and memorabilia, according to a Funko news release.

Tha Dogg House doors open early next year, the company said.

Funko designs and distributes pop culture vinyl figures, board games, action toys and accessories.

“Snoop Dogg’s creative genius takes Funko’s newest retail experience to the next level,” Brian Mariotti, Funko’s chief creative officer said.

Funko’s new store will feature a “massive Snoop mural for fan photos and host life-sized Pop! figures inspired by the entertainer, along with collectibles and items across sports, music, anime, movies and television,” the release said.

“This new store stays true to who I am as an entrepreneur and rapper,” said Snoop Dogg, who has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide. “I can’t wait for my fans to experience it, to touch it, to feel it. Once you see it, it’s like no other thing in the world, ‘Tha Dogg House,’ will blow your mind.”

The Inglewood store will be the third U.S. retail location for the toymaker, which operates stores in Hollywood and Everett.

“Snoop Dogg is an entertainment powerhouse and remains one of the most innovative and versatile figures in the entertainment industry,” said Andrew Perlmutter, Funko CEO. “We look forward to the debut of our newest retail experience and our partnership with Snoop whose expertise and impact on pop culture further elevates the brand’s opportunity to connect with fandoms within music and sports.”

Snoop Dogg, 50, however, is a controversial figure who rocketed to fame in the early 1990s by performing gangsta rap rife with misogyny and violent themes. He was acquitted of a murder charge in 1996. He unabashedly worked as a high-profile pimp in the early 2000s. And he’s facing new sexual assault allegations.

In July, after two retracted lawsuits, an anonymous woman again accused rapper Snoop Dogg and adviser Donald “Bishop Don Magic Juan” Johnson of victimizing her through a sex-trafficking scheme. The woman filed the third lawsuit supported by new information, according to the Law & Crime network.

Snoop Dogg, in response, has called those allegations “meritless” and part of a “shakedown.”

Meanwhile, his business portfolio has continued to bloom.

Earlier this year, Snoop Dogg, whose legal name is Calvin Broadus Jr., purchased Death Row Records brand from MNRK Music Group. Although the terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, the label was estimated last year to be worth $385 million.

Described by Rolling Stone as “synonymous with weed,” Snoop Dogg launched his cannabis line Leafs by Snoop, and Merry Jane, a cannabis centered online platform, in 2015, the publication reported last year.

Snoop Dogg co-founded Casa Verde Capital, an investment fund with a portfolio reportedly worth $200 million, Rolling Stone reported.

Also called the Doggfather — after his 1996 album of the same name — Snoop Dogg was an early investor in Reddit, the news and discussion website, now valued at more than $10 billion.

His net worth has been pegged at $150 million or more.

Funko’s pairing with music, entertainment and sports celebrities is well established and dates to its 1998 founding by Mike Becker in Snohomish.

Besides a Snoop Dogg Pop!, the company’s vinyl lineup includes rapper and Death Row Records costar Tupac Shakur; Guns & Roses lead guitarist Slash (Saul Hudson); singer Whitney Houston; jazz legend Miles Davis; Edmonton Oilers hockey player Connor McDavid; New York Giants linebacker Jaylon Smith — to name but a few.

Funko debuted its signature Pop! line of vinyl figures more than 10 years ago. In 2017, the pop culture toymaker went public on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the stock symbol FNKO.

The toymaker has undergone big changes this year.

Perlmutter took the reins at Funko this year, after Mariotti traded in his CEO badge to become chief creative officer.

In April, the company closed an Everett distribution center and consolidated operations at a new facility it leases in Arizona.

A month later, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, The Chernin Group, and other investors acquired a 25% stake in Funko.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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