Friday, September 7, 2007

[074] Doggystyle



Album: Doggystyle
Artist: Snoop Doggy Dogg
Release Date: November 1993
Label: Death Row Records
Producer: Dr. Dre

"Now just throw your hands in the muthafuckin' air
And wave the muthafuckers like ya just don't care
Yeah, roll up the dank, and pour the drank
And watch your step cuz Doggy's on the gank
My bank roll's on swoll
My shit's on hit, legit, now I'm on parole, stroll
With The Dogg Pound right behind me
And up in yo bitch, is where ya might find me
Layin that, playin that G Thang
She want the nigga with the biggest nuts, and guess what?
He is I, and I am him, slim with the tilted brim
What's my muthafuckin' name?
- from "Who Am I (What's My Name)?"

If you went to a party in the mid 90’s and you didn’t hear Doggystyle, then it wasn’t a good party and you should’ve left early. You can try to argue with me on this, but you’d be wrong. You can try to play discerning hipster, like “uh, I listened to John Cage and Fad Gadget in eighth grade”, but I’d simply slap your face for trying to pull that shit, and tell you I bet Pavement was bumping “Tha Shiznit” while recording Crooked Rain. There is an instinctual genius to Snoop’s debut – Snoop’s solo songs have the nonchalance of the best freestyles (especially said “Shiznit” and “Gz And Hustlas”), and the album as a whole is Dr. Dre’s best production work by a mile, and will have your neck sore by track 2 from nodding it so hard. Snoop may have been shooting his mouth off about not loving the Ho’s, but even then he understood that when the guns are put away, there’s always the party. If you want to have a good party, you need girls, and girls like to dance. So those beats better be the best.

I don’t understand why, since the release of Doggystyle, critics have all hated on the first single, “Who Am I (What’s My Name)”. If you put that song on, the party is under way in less than a second. People go nuts for that song, as they would for “Gin And Juice” or most any song on this album. It’s that kind of reflex power that is packed in the "G Funk" of Dr. Dre, and Snoop came prepared with his most dexterous and fun rhymes to lace Dre’s true masterpiece. Even when the rhymes lag, usually from the Death Row benchwarmers, the tracks hold it together. For years, I’ve complained that there are too many guest spots on all Dr. Dre-related albums, including Doggystyle, but after closer inspection, it’s not nearly as bad as I remembered. Nate Dogg kills his starring role on “Ain’t No Fun”, Lady of Rage steals the “G Funk Intro” with authority, and Kurupt outshines everyone but Snoop; only RBX really stinks up the joint on “Serial Killa”. Snoop doesn’t soften his lyrical approach from The Chronic either; he’s still spitting with a wicked tongue, still rude and crude, but he and Dre managed to craft even more accessible songs, arranged with flawless hooks and mixed loud for maximum P-Funk impact. This album bumps so fucking hard, putting it on the living room stereo to bring your party to the proper level will probably shake all your Mom’s keepsakes off the shelf.

Rappers try and convince the world that “selling out” and “going pop” is the worst possible thing in the world. But that’s bullshit, and I’ll tell you why. The entire reason that Hip-Hop music and culture exists is for the children of the ghetto to have an additional way out towards a better life. Parties were started so that violence wouldn’t pop off. I understand the need to look strong in front of your immediate circle of friends, but not to the detriment of your future. So any supposed thug hustla who wants to claim that he’ll put a slug in your ribs if you talk smack about him is either (a) a liar, or (b) a fucking idiot. Here’s a question for all those posers who sold like two or three dimebags in their lives, and for anyone else who wants to answer:

Which of the following would you prefer?
A. The most attractive members of the opposite sex constantly wanting to have adventurous sex with you, a full bank account, and a chance to see the world.
B. The most unattractive members of the same sex constantly wanting to beat your ass… and possibly have adventurous sex with you, an empty bank account, and a chance to see the inside of a prison cell.


If you picked choice B because you want the street credibility, then you are indeed a liar and a fucking idiot. Snoop Dogg is neither of those things, and that’s why, following the success of The Chronic, he essentially sold out; the second he started to put his faith in rocking the party as Hip-Hop’s heart, his gangsta narratives became more cartoon thuggery than genuine dread. Doggystyle’s rhymes weren’t scaring anyone like N.W.A. did, and Snoop was OK with this. He just didn’t tell anyone for a few years, because that one last street cred decision landed him in court, on trial for murder, so he was playing that “no comment” card. But when he got back, he followed Dr. Dre out Death Row’s side door, and on to a prosperous career. Almost 14 years later, it’s telling that “Gin And Juice” or “Ain’t No Fun” or “Doggy Dogg World” have endured better than “Murder Was The Case” or “Pump Pump”. Ever since he was acquitted, Snoop’s spent his days counting his millions, partying with comedians, pimps, models, and porn stars, oh yeah, and still smoking mad endo. More than almost anyone, Snoop knows what I’m trying to tell you – Hip-Hop is about having a muthafuckin’ party, and Doggystyle is the perfect soundtrack. Ya better ask somebody.

Tracklist:
01. "Bathtub" [interlude]
02. "G Funk Intro" [feat. The Lady of Rage]
03. "Gin And Juice" [feat. Dat Nigga Daz]
04. "Tha Shiznit"
05. "Lodi Dodi"
06. "Murder Was The Case" [feat. Dat Nigga Daz]
07. "Serial Killa" [feat. The Dogg Pound, The D.O.C. & RBX]
08. "Who Am I (What's My Name)?"
09. "For All My Niggaz & Bitches"
[performed by The Dogg Pound feat. Snoop Doggy Dogg & The Lady Of Rage]
10. "Ain't No Fun (If The Homies Can't Have None)"
[feat. Nate Dogg, Kurupt & Warren G]
11. "Doggy Dogg World" [feat. The Dogg Pound & The Dramatics]
12. "Gz And Hustlas"
13. "Pump Pump" [feat. Lil Malik]

"Who Am I (What's My Name)?" [video]


- BONUS: "Gin And Juice" [video]
- BONUS: "Murder Was The Case" [soundtrack remix - video]
- BONUS: "Doggy Dogg World" [video]

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