This week on the music beat

A DOGG’S LIFE He’s already played bit parts in a couple of films, but Snoop Dogg has finally landed the role he’s been straining at the leash for. The rapper will begin work on his first starring vehicle, Da Game of Life, in mid-July. The movie, which is being produced, written, and codirected by workaholic rap/film kingpin and No Limit Records chief Master P, will probably be released directly to video and will feature Snoop as the first black owner of a major casino in Reno. ”I ain’t seen the script,” Snoop admits, ”but I trust Master P the same way he trusts me.” P is promising a late-August/early-September release for the movie, and judging from his past success in completing films on whirlwind timetables (his most recent effort, MP Da Last Don, was shot in 11 days), we’ve little reason to doubt him. Says Snoop of No Limit’s fast-paced production schedule: ”I’ve been on a lot of sets where you waste a lot of time and a lot of the s— doesn’t even get used. What P is doing is cutting through the bulls— and getting straight to the chase.” The perpetually chilled-out Snoop (who says he plans to launch his own production company, Dogghouse Pictures, in June 1999) is also slated to play the title role in the New Line horror film Bones, which is set to begin shooting in the fall.—With reporting by Dan Snierson

PETTY RIVALRY You can find Aerosmith‘s Steven Tyler walking this way and that all over Ringo Starr‘s recently released album, Vertical Man, variously singing backing vocals and playing drums or harmonica on five songs. The motormouthed rocker even sang the second verse of Starr’s cover of the Dobie Gray chestnut ”Drift Away,” but the only way you’ll get to hear it is by hunting down an early promotional copy of the album; Tyler’s ”Drift Away” verse has been excised from commercial versions of Vertical Man, and a Tom Petty vocal has been substituted. A spokesperson for Aerosmith says the decision to remove Tyler’s vocal was made by the band’s label, Columbia, which was concerned that ”Drift Away” might ”conflict” with Aerosmith’s current single, ”I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” from the Armageddon soundtrack: ”It seemed potentially confusing to have two tracks with Steven’s vocals going to radio at the same time. Everyone seemed to think the best thing to do was to have his vocal taken off, although Steven was disappointed.” So how did Petty wind up replacing Tyler? Says a Starr spokesperson: ”Ringo has friends everywhere.”