Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle November 23, 1993

After making a hell of a statement with his debut cameo appearance on the bangin’ title track for the Deep Cover Soundtrack, then coming right back the following year and being a major factor in the success of the colossal collabo album that was The Chronic, the world was impatiently awaiting the arrival of Calvin “Snoop Doggy Dogg” Broadus’ debut album. Nearly a year after The Chronic was released, Snoop Dogg would unleash (no pun intended) his debut album on the world, cleverly titled Doggystyle .

Doggystyle would include the same players that were involved on The Chronic, with appearances by Das, Kurupt, Nate Dogg, RBX, Rage, DOC, and the maestro himself, Dr. Dre behind the boards, and a  few new guest, including a special cameo appearance by one of Dre’s biggest production influences (more on that in a bit). Doggystyle  was deemed an instant classic by critics a like and was certified 4 times platinum by the RIAA less than 6 months after its release, and since has gone on to sell over 7 million copies domestically and 11 million worldwide.

It’s fair to say that The Chronic and Doggystyle were the cornerstones that helped propel Uncle Snoop into being a household name and arguably the biggest rap superstar on the planet. And he’s still releasing new music, with his latest album just released earlier this year (Neva Left). And who would have thought 25 years ago that the gangsta rapping weed connoisseur would be hosting game shows and a cooking show with Martha Stewart?

Time is truly, illmatic.

BathtubDoggystyle opens with an intro that has Snoop getting bathed by a woman, before they’re interrupted by a doorbell and a group of people coming to visit. Snoop then exchanges greeting with one of his homeboys (played by Warren G) and expresses to him how he’s considering getting out the game because he’s tired of all the “punk ass bitches” and “sucka ass niggas”, to which Warren rebuttals that he’ be crazy to give up a lifestyle that allows him to smoke a pound of weed a day and watch tv on a big screen. Yeah, I found it kind of stupid and useless too, but this all leads into Doggystyle’s official intro…

G Funk Intro – George Clinton makes a cameo and spits a short spoken word piece, which is fitting, since Dre borrows from Funkadelic’s “Not Just (Knee Deep)” record for the instrumental. Clinton’s lines are followed by a verse from Rage, and she gets a good jump out the starting blocks, running laps around the beat. Snoop then spits a quick four bars, before Clinton brings things to a close with another short poem about dogs, female dogs (aka bitches) and doggy bags. And I found the whole two-minute experience pretty damn entertaining.

Gin And Juice – “With so much drama in the L-B-C, it’s kind of hard being Snoop D-O-double-G”. Who will ever forget Snoop’s classic opening bar from this classic song that also happens to be the second single from Doggystyle ? Dre hooks up a dark vintage G-Funk instrumental that Snoop freaks with (eighty degrees, when I told that bitch please, raise up off these n-u-t’s, cause you gets none of these, at) ease, as he sings praises to his choice of drink and chaser. I’m sure this song plays at least ten times a day on somebody’s throwback radio mix (shoutout to Backspin on Sirius XM). Classic.

Tha Shiznit – After a short interlude from the faux disc jockey, DJ Saul T. Nuts (played by the late comedian Ricky Harris) who spins for the fictitious radio station W-Balls, Dre drops an intense and sinister backdrop for Snoop, who completely obliterates it. Legend has it that Snoop’s verses on this song are off the dome freestyles that he did in one take. If that is true, that makes this song even more impressive. This is easily my favorite song on Doggystyle , and probably in all of Snoop’s catalog.

Lodi Dodi – Snoop takes a break from the frenzied pace that Doggystyle  started with and slows things down with this remake of Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew’s classic record of the same name, but spelled different (shoutout to Slick Rick). Snoop does make some minor tweaks here and there to make it his own, but pretty much follows Slick Rick’s storyline to a tee. This isn’t my favorite song on Doggystyle , but I appreciate the sentiment.

Murder Was The Case – And right back to the frenetic pace. The song opens with a couple of Snoop’s rivals (or just haters) rollin’ up on him and spraying shots at him. Snoop then takes the listener on a brilliantly detailed ride to the after life, where, as he once explained it “a gangsta is saved by God, and instead of doing the right thing, the gangsta does the wrong thing and pays for it”. Dre lays down a dark and spooky backdrop that plays perfect with Snoop’s well-sculpted storyline. A year after Doggystyle was released this song would turn into its own short film complete with a music soundtrack, which I’ll review in detail somewhere down the road.

Serial Killa – Tha Dogg Pound (Kurupt and Daz) and RBX (and DOC provides part of the hook) join Snoop on this side-one ending song, if you’re listening to it on vinyl or cassette. Dre provides a dope dark instrumental for the crew to rock over, and RBX fittingly provides the last verse and walks away with this one, folks.

Who Am I (What’s My Name)? – This was the lead single from Doggystyle . For the second time this evening, Dre samples Funkadelic’s “Not Just (Knee Deep)” for the instrumental, and Snoop does a decent job with the mediocrity that he’s given. I’ve never been a huge fan of this song, but I’ve heard worst.

For All My Niggaz & Bitches – Kurupt, Das and Rage pretty much take care of this one, with Snoop just contributing a short 4 bars (that was also used as a hook for “Niggas Don’t Give A Fuck” on the Poetic Justice Soundtrack) at the end of the song. Kurupt gets the most mic time on this one, and proves he’s a formidable emcee, and also gives a shoutout to the microphone god, Rakim. Dre provides a rough instrumental with g-funk sensibilities, that all parties involved sound pretty nice rockin’ over. Even Das, I guess.

Aint No Fun (If The Homies Cant Have None) – Nate Dogg (rip), Kurupt and Warren G join Snoop on this, um, lyrical gangbang. Nate gets first dibs and does what made him great (harmonize raunchy bars over hip-hop beats), followed by Kurupt, Snoop and Dre’s half-brother, Mr. Regulator himself, Warren G. With the climate of sexual assault/harassment in America these days, it would be a poor choice to play this on a throwback mix, but you’re a lie if you aren’t/weren’t entertained by this misogynistic masterpiece. Guilty pleasure.

Doggy Dogg World – After Snoop takes a chronic break (fyi, I think he meant to say The Bluenotes without Harold Melvin, because Teddy Pendergrass blew up after leaving his blue buddies), Dre slows things all the way down with this smooth groove that Snoop and his Dogg Pound buddies, Das and Kurupt, us to talk more random shit about their skills, women and weed. Snoop also invites the seventies soul group The Dramatics to sing the hook, and they sound pretty nice harmonizing over it (“Talkin’ bout Snoop, talkin’ bout you Snoop!”).

Gz And Hustlas – Dre flips Bernard Wright’s “Haboglabotribin'” and throws some G-Funk swag on it, as Snoop continues to display his nearly flawless flow, dedicating this one to the g’s and the hustlas. Side note: for any one who cares, Lil Bow Wow makes his debut by playing young Snoop on the skit at the beginning of this song.

Gz Up, Hoes Down – Only the early editions of Doggystyle had this song on it, as it was later pulled due to sample clearance issues with Isaac Hayes’ “The Look Of Love” record. Snoop reclines all the way back as he rides this smooth Dr. Dre production to perfection. This is dope.

Pump Pump – The song opens with Snoop and Sam Sneed (you don’t remember who he is? You better recognize!) getting into it over a woman, and then shots ring out. That bleeds into the final song of the evening that has Snoop spittin’ decent bars over a decent Dre track. Oh yeah, and Lil’ Malik aka Lil Hershey Loc (formerly of Illegal) gets the last verse of the song, and even though he sounds better than he ever did with Illegal, his bars are still not that impressive. And we’re done.

I could probably have done without “Who Am I (What’s My Name)? “, but the rest of Doggystyle is so damn good, one mediocre moment can’t stop the album’s momentum toward greatness. With his slightly nasal always smooth flow, Snoop entertains and pretty much holds down the first half of the album, single-handed, before humbly yielding the second half for his crew to shine, but you can still feel his influence as he plays the background. On the production side, Dr. Dre picks up where he left off at on The Chronic, and while he doesn’t necessarily expand upon The Chronic’s production sound, he still  provides an overall enjoyable g-funk soundscape for the duration of the ride. Doggystyle is a dope debut from the crip-claiming canine emcee, and a classic record that still entertains today.

-Deedub

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