HNHH re-visits and reminisces about classic albums upon the anniversary of their release with the new series "Classic Rotation." To kick things off, we take a look at Snoop Doggy Dogg's "Doggystyle" which dropped on this day in 1993.
In 1993 West coast Hip Hop was at the top of its game. Suge Knight, The D.O.C, and Dr. Dre had formed the now infamous record label Death Row Records. The new label had released Dre’s album The Chronic (1992) to huge fan fare, solidified G -Funk as a proper Hip Hop style (sorry Too $hort), and were quickly becoming the most important players in the game. So what was left to do? Release perhaps the most anticipated Hip Hop album of all time and create an international super star. Enter: Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle.
Saying that Doggystyle had a lot of hype surrounding it when it came out would be an understatement. The Doctor’s first release post N.W.A was a single called “Deep Cover” for the film with the same title. It featured Snoop, and officially introduced the young, stick thing, G to the world. In June ’92 The Chronic was released. Snoop wrote lyrics for, and was featured on 60% of the album. The album went triple platinum. Everyone and their cousin now knew about the Long Beach native with the thick cornrows. With the hype building, the demand for a solo album grew and grew. Snoop would only drop his first album nearly a year later in late 1993. When it arrived, it more then lived up to it’s ever mounting expectations. It was soaked in west coast soul-– laid-back gangster funk of epic proportions was blaring through speakers from left coast to right. “Gin and Juice” would become a party goer’s anthem. “Murder was the Case”, a street classic. “Who Am I (What’s my name)”, a moog drenched accessible hit that big Snoop would later become known for.
In order to understand the significance of this album, some statistics must be brought forth. Doggystyle went on to sell over five million copies in the United States alone. It sold 802,858 in its first week, a record that stood until 2000 when Eminem dropped The Marshall Mathers LP. The reach and influence of the album was huge. It injected new life into west coast Rap, and was a perfect finish to what some critics lament as Hip Hop’s golden year. It cemented the Doggfather as a premiere name on the west coast, up top with the likes of Cube, Dre, and Pac. What helped set Snoop apart from his predecessors was his laid back flow. Up to that point the general population had been accustom to MC’s spitting fast and tearing through beats. Snoop offered something much more relaxed. In a sultry voice he rode the waves of bombastic G funk sounds while weaving an intricate story about life in the L.B.C. He was young, he was cool, he was funky, he was gangster (Blue), and he was the new west.
Songs such as “Tha Shiznit”, “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None)”, and “For All My Niggaz and Bitches” are all hot tracks, but looking back, serve a greater purpose. They introduced a whole slew of new west coast MC’s to mainstream consciousness. The likes of Dat Nigga Daz & Kurupt (together Tha Dogg Pound) and Warren G, Nate Dogg (together with Snoop, 213), would have probably never received the push they deserved, remaining in international obscurity and local lore. As any pivotal album should, it lifted a whole time and place, holding in its palm for everyone to observe. Yet, this album was never fully completed. The distributors, claiming that the process was taking too long, demanded the album be completed within 48 hours. If it was not delivered, they would cancel all orders. Dre spent the next 48 straight in the studio inserting skits and mastering the piece. It emerged as a great album, but one can only imagine what the final product would have looked like had they been able to complete it without the constraints of a deadline.
20 years later, even as he continues to reinvent himself (Snoop Lion/Snoopzilla anyone?), Doggystyle remains Snoop's masterpiece. From front to back, it is hands down his strongest effort. Not only because of how dope it was, but because of what it meant for the future of the music industry. It, along with the other classics released that very same year, would help cement Hip Hop as mainstream music. It helped move it out of the cities, and into the suburbs. Out of America and into the world. It helped make Hip Hop what it is today.
Doggystyle is most definitely a Classic Rotation.