Turn the clock back to 1994, and you’ll find one of the most goofy, influential, and entertaining rappers to ever live: Snoop Doggy Dog.
Snoop Dogg is a living rap legend, and there’s no denying that. These days, you can find him making compelling guest appearances on any number of TV shows or movies, as he’s never shy to dish out cameos. While these are always very entertaining due to his jovial and humorous personality, this isn’t why I love Snoop Dogg. Plizzanet Earth is hilarious, but it isn’t the trendy 2010’s version of Snoop that I love. No, I love 1993-1994 Snoop Dogg and his debut masterpiece, Doggystyle.
Doggystyle is such an interesting album, and it so perfectly characterizes Snoop Dogg. It’s such a whimsically fun, yet menacingly braggadocious album, and this is exactly what young Snoop Dogg was. Over the drug-induced, drowsy, West Coast G-funk beats, Snoop displays his fantastic story-telling abilities and his undeniable coolness as he talks about the things that Snoop likes to talk about: his genitalia a shocking amount of times, his success with women, and his affinity for repeating his name over, and over, and over again. As silly as all of this may be, it’s exactly what makes Doggystyle the classic it’s considered to be and what makes Snoop Dogg the celebrity he is today.
Looking at Doggystyle, I’ve boiled it down to three reasons why 1993-1994 Snoop Dogg has a special place in my heart: he is probably the most suave rapper ever, thanks in part to his insanely smooth flow, he is one of the best storytellers in rap history, and he is the only rapper that can balance bragging about being a hard, tough thug while also being so frivolously lighthearted.
It is no secret how smooth Snoop is. Press play on any of the songs off of Doggystyle, and you’ll instantly be amazed by his flow. His cool, tranquil, woozy delivery plays so well off of the G-funk beats it seems as if he isn’t trying at all. The easiest way to tell if a rapper has a great flow is if it seems effortless for them, and with Snoop, nonchalantly rhyming over a few relaxed beats seems as natural as walking. On songs like Tha Shiznit, which is rumoured to be completely freestyled which is just remarkable, he sounds as smooth as possible, slipping in internal rhyme after internal rhyme as he describes, amongst other things, his friend Dr. Dre, his rapping prowess, and of course, his dislike of most women and enjoyment of drugs. Snoop may just be the smoothest rapper to ever live.
Another great quality of Snoop’s, which ties into his composed delivery, is his storytelling abilities. He can weave a story together like nobody’s business, and it’s one of his go-to moves on Doggystyle. This is seen most directly on Lodi Dodi, which is essentially a shout-out to the legendary Slick Rick, who is known as the best storytelling rapper ever. In the song’s narrative, which goes very similar to Slick Rick’s La Di Da Di, Snoop describes how he wakes up, cleans up and gets ready for the day, and then has a very entertaining encounter with a whole family of women who fight over Snoop, as well as his drugs and his love. It’s a hilarious and wacky confrontation, and by essentially doing a doped-up and sillier version of Slick Rick’s famous song, it pays homage to the storytelling ability of the man who inspired it, as well as putting on display the skills of Snoop himself. Snoop is one of the best storytellers there’s been in rap, and it shows on Lodi Dodi.
The third reason to why I love young Snoop, and maybe the most important, is what separates him from all other rappers. Sure, there had been smooth rappers before Snoop Dogg, and there had even been great storytellers, but something that never really existed before him was someone who was haphazardly goofy while also not being a person who should be trifled with. Snoop is able to somehow balance these two contradictory traits at the same time, and it is quite the feat.
For example, on Serial Killa, he sounds as tough as any gangsta rapper ever has. The exact point in his verse when he really sounds intimidating is when he menacingly raps, “Now break yourself, motherf*cker, ‘fore you make me.” Upon hearing this arduous and frightening claim, it’s hard not to believe him that he’s serious about what he’s saying. He can be a very terrifying dude at times, and there’s no denying that.
That being said, Snoop is also exceedingly silly and fun. This really shows on songs like Gin and Juice or Who Am I (What’s My Name?), which find him rhyming about his ridiculous antics and carefree lifestyle. He has some of my favorite rap lines ever on tracks like these due to just how laughable they are. Whether it be him bragging about his genitals (“She want the n*gga with the biggest nuts, and guess what?/ He is I and I am him” from Who Am I), or discussing the new dog underwear (whatever that is?) that he just bought (“Clean, dry, was my body and my hair/ I threw on my brand new doggy underwear” from Lodi Dodi), Snoop is remarkably comical on his debut album. The thing that sets Snoop apart is how he can combine this level of absurdity together with a sense of braggadocio and toughness, and it’s what makes Doggystyle so fun.
1993-1994 Snoop Dogg is one of the most entertaining rappers and figures to ever live, and I hope that you can find as much joy in him as I do.