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Taken from Yardbarker (Nov 21, 2018)

'Doggystyle' turns 25: Snoop Dogg secures his place in hip-hop with a G-Funk sound

by Mya Singleton



Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre in 1993. Patrick Downs/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images


Many critics have labeled the '90s as the golden era of hip-hop, and in many ways, that's thanks to the earlier years of the decade. Artists like Eric B. & Rakim, the Notorious B.I.G., Ice T, and Nas were making names for themselves in East Coast bars; rappers like Tupac, Too Short, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre were representing the West Coast.


One of the smoothest lyricists to come from the Westside was the ultra cool Snoop Dogg, formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg.


At a time when hip-hop was more hardcore and a bit political, Snoop was an anomaly among the pack - introducing a more soulful rap sound and lingo that resonated for decades. While his West Coast counterparts were putting gangsta rap on the map, Snoop was adding a smoother twist to a sound known as G-Funk - developed by Dr. Dre and Cold 187um. With a silky tone and familiar samples, Snoop's music had more of a massive appeal and catchy lyricism that would be cited for generations to come.


In 1992, Snoop got his real taste in the music industry. He collaborated with Dr. Dre on the theme song of the film "Deep Cover" and put his pen to work on Dre's solo debut, "The Chronic." Once fans appreciated the perfect pairing between the Long Beach and Compton rappers, it was only a matter of time for Snoop's solo project to become one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. And on Nov. 23, 1993, the world was introduced to Snoop's debut, "Doggystyle."


Snoop mixed the gangsta lifestyle with his mellow personality, and it exuded in his music - proving to be the embodiment of cool. His love for ol' school music was evident, and with Dre's production, he was able to showcase his style from beginning to end. Listeners initially heard Snoop's adoration for funkadelic sounds as he sampled George Clinton's 1982 hit "Atomic Dog" on his lead single, "Who Am I (What's My Name)?" It's here where the rapper talks about everything from his LBC upbringing to his gang affiliation. If listeners weren't familiar with him before, this track was a proper introduction. His second single, "Gin and Juice," took melodic cues from Slave's 1980 classic "Watching You," as he raps about sipping go-to libations and partaking in the finest chronic. Then there's his cover salute to Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh on the properly titled track "Lodi Dodi." He doesn't take too much away from the original version besides nuances to his self-proclaimed Doggfather life and Dre's banging beat production.


Throughout the album, Snoop used his storytelling and explicit words to easily attract hardcore rap fans. But he pleased different audiences with his harmonic manner - making his songs a soundtrack for everything from stickups to house parties.


Although the production appealed to a broader crowd, Snoop still faced media criticism about his lyrics and images portrayed in his videos. In a 1993 interview with Mark Lamarr, the rapper spoke on his music content having a negative outlook for listeners. "The way I look at it is being positive," he said. "I'm bringing it to you in the rap form so you don't have to go out there and do it in the reality form. Because I'm going to explain it to you, what's going to happen to you and what can happen to you. So hopefully you pay attention to my music and stop the violence and get your groove on rather than get your blast on."


Whether his songs painted pictures of violence, money, sex or weed, Snoop used their lyrics in a way that even if listeners didn't pay attention to the context, his languid slang became addictive. The concept behind "Gin and Juice," for example, is self-explanatory as it evolves from a song about pouring up a drink to a party record. However, it's the one-liners that help make it a classic. Lyrics like "With so much drama in the LBC/It's kind of hard being Snoop D-O-double-G" or "With my mind on my money and my money on my mind," are still being heard in conversations today and showcase how much the album has resonated over time.


"Doggystyle" sold over 800,000 copies in its first week, becoming the most ever for a debut artist at the time and a multiplatinum smash that sold over 11 million albums worldwide.


Over the course of his career, Snoop has dabbled in a number of genres including pop, reggae, and gospel. Although he continues to reinvent his music, he will always be known for putting his stamp on the G-Funk era over two decades ago - a hardcore rapper with a laid-back flow who was adamant about standing out in the crowd. "A gangsta runs his own thang," he said. "He's got his own mentality. He's his own gang. He don't listen to nobody but himself and he programs himself around being intelligent and staying above the rest of the competition out there."


"Doggystyle" infused raunchiness, violence and fun to help solidify the West Coast in hip-hop conversations. From the classic song samples, to Dre's signature touch, to Snoop's creative lyricism, the album was bound for success. Snoop helped frame a different sound in hip-hop, losing the in-your-face tone and abrasive beats. Instead, he embraced smoother grooves with a lyrical cadence that set him up for star quality and inspired future MCs. Twenty-five years later, Snoop has gone from hip-hop's newest messiah to the industry's favorite OG, and he can credit his debut album for solidifying his place in the genre.



 
 

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