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Snoop Dogg coos at the Epic tonight

Calvin Broadus, aka Snoop Dogg, is the Dean Martin of his era — a cool dude’s cool dude, emitting a perpetually smooth and sanguine vibe as he hovers hedonistically above the fray. For more than 15 years now, Snoop has possessed the most distinctive rap style in the game, his flow a cooing insinuation that could function equally well as a baby’s lullaby or a juice man’s chillingly casual menace that a debtor has 24 hours to repay his loan.

That’s how and why Snoop has been able to travel so well between cultures. He’s endured multiple convictions for drug use and weaponry, yet has appeared on daytime soap operas and hosted his own sketch comedy show on MTV. He’s a cuddly bad boy, a stoner from the streets who correctly sussed that he can make a lot of money as the mainstream’s mascot gangsta rapper. That’s not the way he’ll play it onstage at Epic on tonight, when he’ll display a harder side to maximum the buzz for his new “Malice ‘n’ Wonderland” CD due out next month. But he’s learned to bounce between faux violence and faux innocence deftly enough to keep fans of both personae coming back for more.

Here is the strongest track I’ve heard from “Malice,” thus far, an R-rated tune entitled “Protocol.” Go early for the quality openers, Method Man and Redman, that rare pair of MCs who can rap equally well solo or in tandem. They’ll be promoting their much heralded upcoming sequel to their 1999 disc, “Blackout.”

Snoop Dogg, with Method Man and Redman at the Epic Nightclub (formerly The Quest and Glam Slam), tonight at 8, tickets are $41 for general admission, $61 for VIP seating.

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