July 17, 2008

Snoop Doggy Dogg - Doggystyle (November 23, 1993)


The more I stare at the album cover for Snoop Doggy Dogg's Doggystyle, his debut disc on Death Row Records, the more that one thought starts to stand out: That cover sucks. It's terrible. It really has nothing to do with the content of the album, and yet, it has everything to do with the content of the album. Confused yet? You must not have ever heard Doggystyle.

Looking to build off of the buzz that Calvin Broadus sparked with his multiple guest appearances on Dr. Dre's solo debut The Chronic, Death Row Records rushed Snoop's debut to stores in 1994. (Okay, rushed isn't the right word: it was more than a year after The Chronic hit the shelves, but please remember that this was the early 1990's.) It was decided that Dr. Dre would produce what would eventually become Doggystyle in its entirety, so as to blend seamlessly with the previous album in the hearts and minds of the gangbangers and the stoners that would inevitably pick this album up. (Although there seems to be some conflicting reports as to the identity of the actual producer of Doggystyle: Snoop's cousin Dat N---a Daz, better known today as Daz Dillinger, has always claimed credit for producing some of the album's key cuts, but for all intents and purposes, Dr. Dre is the only credited producer, so we'll run with that for now.)

According to Dr. Dre's biography, though, the recording sessions for Doggystyle were disastrous. Unlike The Chronic, Doggystyle was not a Dr. Dre solo album, so Dre was forced to wait for the star attraction to come to the studio and rhyme. Snoop, playing the role of the next big thing, wrote lazy rhymes that were apropos to nothing while toking it up, fucking random groupies and seeing how many of his weed carriers would fit in a telephone booth. It's actually a shock that the album got recorded in the first place.

Doggystyle ended up selling tens of billions of copies in the United States alone, no mean feat for a product that was rushed through the manufacturing process: the back of the CD case only lists thirteen (or fourteen, depending on when you bought it) tracks, and there aren't really any sort of album credits on the cassette tape version (the first one that I picked up): instead, the liner notes are monopolized by an inane comic strip that introduces Snoop as a cartoon character of a gangsta that looks much to friendly to be any sort of threat.

Not unlike Snoop himself, I suppose.

1. BATHTUB
This intro, which attempts to sound cinematic, would have been more effective had Doggystyle retained this theme throughout the course of the album. As such, this intro is pretty useless.

2. G FUNK INTRO (FEAT THE LADY OF RAGE)
An intro after the intro? Do you really want to make Max angry? At least this one features some actual verses, courtesy of The Lady Of Rage.

3. GIN AND JUICE (FEAT DAT N---A DAZ)
This is the song that Snoop will always be remembered for, and it still sounds fantastic today. I remember wearing out my cassette tape copy of Doggystyle by rewinding this one song over and over, and this was before "Gin and Juice" even became the second single, it was that good. It always pissed me off that Dre and Snoop decided to lead into this track with the sound of somebody taking a piss, making for some awkward transitions on my homemade mix tapes. Also recommended: the "G-Funk Remix" of this track, which sounds equally as good, if not better.

4. W BALLS
This recurring theme throughout Snoop's future projects popped up on Doggystyle for the first time.

5. THA SHIZNIT
Sure, some of the melody sounds like it was brought to you by an eight-year-old on a recorder, but I always loved this track. It's probably the only one on Doggystyle that proves that Snoop could spit as needed.

6. INTERLUDE
The infamous skit in which Dr. Dre talks smack and Daz, Snoop's cousin, calls Eazy-E a "buster-ass HIV-pussy having motherfucker", years before Eazy announced he had contracted the AIDS virus. Creepy.

7. LODI DODI
Snoop covers Doug E Fresh and MC Ricky D (also known as Slick Rick), with an end result that is pretty good, but then you realize that most of the fans that picked up Doggystyle had absolutely no idea who Slick Rick was, and had no intention of picking up any of his older CDs, and then it makes you want to cry. My two readers, do yourself a favor and listen to the fucking original!

8. MURDER WAS THE CASE (FEAT DAT N---A DAZ)
I always preferred this version to the remixed one that was included on the soundtrack to that 18-minute music video that somehow passed as a feature film that needed a soundtrack. This original take on the material is just bleak as fuck, and the fact that one of the shooters at the beginning says "One less n---a" after completing the hit is incredibly disturbing, as if Snoop was capped by the African-American chapter of the KKK. The only element of this album version that doesn't ring true is the fact that the killers are listening to Mista Grimm's "Indo Smoke" (produced by Warren G) when they roll up on Snoop. Then again, Cube's gangbangers were bumping "Bust A Move", so who am I to judge?

9. SERIAL KILLA (FEAT THE D.O.C., THA DOGG POUND, & RBX)
I used to love this song back in the day, because the beat fucking knocked. It still does, but being older and/or wiser has taught me that most rap songs can be improved upon when the artists involved actually have something to say. Kurupt rules this roost, followed closely by Snoop and Daz (The D.O.C. handles chorus duties), but RBX's nonsensical ramblings about "pic-a-nic caskets" will bring to mind an image of Yogi Bear working at Fisher & Sons.

10. WHO AM I (WHAT'S MY NAME)? (FEAT DR. DRE & JEWELL)
The first single, which simultaneously sounds both interesting and boring as shit, is only really memorable because of its video, which depicted Snoop morphing into (gasp!) an actual dog, in order to escape from a bedroom after banging its inhabitant. In a way, I suppose the video was kind of a sequel to Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' But A G Thing", except that it was fucking terrible. The song is also longer than it has any right to be.

11. FOR ALL MY N----Z & MY BITCHES (THA DOGG POUND FEAT. THE LADY OF RAGE)
As you can probably tell by the credits, this isn't even really a Snoop song: he just pops up toward the end, as if he completely forgot that he received that album advance for a fucking reason.

12. AIN'T NO FUN (IF THE HOMIES CAN'T HAVE NONE) (FEAT KURUPT, WARREN G, & NATE DOGG)
For a moment, let's forget about the fact that this is the song where Warren G voluntarily altered his verse so as not to piss off his Blood boss, Suge Knight. Look at the song (which is still hilariously misogynistic and wrong today, especially Nate Dogg's unnecessarily graphic opening verse) in this context instead: it's one of Mariah Carey's favorite songs. She even used the beat for a remix to her song "Heartbreaker", and even re-sings some of the lyrics in the style of Nate Dogg. Now that's some gangsta shit!

13. INTERLUDE
Another lonely stand-up routine, although this one fares much better than Ice Cube's "JD's Gaffilin'" in that one of the lines here is actually funny. I'll leave it to my two readers to figure out which one it is.

14. DOGGY DOGG WORLD (FEAT THA DOGG POUND & THE DRAMATICS)
This third single is just entertaining. The video is even better. Sorry, but that's all I got.

15. INTERLUDE
This is just stupid.

16. G'Z AND HUSTLAS
I always hated this song, and the passage of time hasn't harshed my mellow any.

17. INTERLUDE
...

18. PUMP PUMP (FEAT LIL MALIK)
Kinda sounds like "Serial Killa", a fact that I had never picked up on before. Snoop ends his debut album with some banging Dre instrumental and an inferior guest artist, included for the sole purpose of making Snoop sound great. Remember the days when Snoop was considered one of the best rappers in the game? Yeah, neither do I. Are you sure that was true at some point?

The first pressings of Doggystyle include an extra song prior to "Pump Pump" that was deleted from the album due to sample clearance issues:

G'Z UP, HOES DOWN
This song takes me back, since it was included on the version that I have, but it's really only halfway decent. Still, I would have included this one instead of "G'z And Hustlas" any day of the week.

The back of the cassette tape version also promises a song called "The Next Episode", which never materialized (a song with a similar title appeared on Dr. Dre's 2001). Also, an unreleased title track, featuring George Clinton, never made the disc: supposedly, it can be found on the Interweb, but I have yet to hear it (and I'm not going out of my way, either).

FINAL THOUGHTS: Doggystyle doesn't sound anywhere as good as it used to, back when I was younger. Sure, some of the songs still bang today, and those tracks are listed below, but as a whole, Doggystyle just doesn't work. The skits are more useless than the average rap album filler, and the songs that I didn't care much for back then sound completely awful now. Lyrically, Snoop has never been anything special: he was always about the delivery rather than the content, but that delivery doesn't really hold up over eighteen (or nineteen) tracks. Still, the songs that work rock harder than most of the shit that both Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg have released recently, so at least it's not a total loss.

BUY OR BURN? Truthfully, you probably already have this one, but if you somehow missed that train, a burn is sufficient. This isn't a straightforward listen: you'll find yourself skipping a lot of crap on here. You can thank me later.

BEST TRACKS: "Gin and Juice"; "Serial Killa"; "Murder Was The Case"; "Tha Shiznit"

-Max

22 comments:

  1. I remember being elated with Snoop's cover of Lodi Dodi. My mind raced: "Has a rap song ever been covered before? Has any song ever been covered before and owned this well?" Crazy. Slick Rick being my first favorite emcee back in the early 80s helped.

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  2. AnonymousJuly 17, 2008

    2 funny memories about this album:

    my mofo grade 7 teacher confiscated the album cover art on the bus during a class trip. Picturing his appalled, disgusted expression while reading it still cracks me up to this day

    I cranked "FOR ALL MY N----Z & MY BITCHES" on repeat while my roomate's (a real jackass) parents were helping him move out

    LOL

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  3. En-Ter-rest-ing review. Let's see where to start, um...

    1. This is Snoop at his best. Hopefully someone will not try to contest (OR ELSE (Shakes Fist as he says this).

    2. Snoop did his "THANG" here. This album was a great showcase for why he is one rap's most prolific figures.

    3. There is some filler, no Michael Jackson's Best album (or least most successful), I said Filler.

    4. Dre really knew how to stick with a winning forumla, huh. Actually, this album may not get the revere it deserves because of that (Don't Front, You know I Got you Opin).

    5. What is up with that Cover. Tell moms you want this for Christmas and the look on their face is a Visa Commerical.

    6. Interesting thing about this album: It was never finished. Max, you hinted at all thee skits, well they be added becuase they never finished it. Dre had to do skits fill out the album (Kinda like how one bullysh*ts on an essay or resume just to get it finished to requirement). Without so many skits, the album may have been better (Who knowwwsss....)

    7. I would say pick up for this album because you want to have a least one Snoop album (until he retires and they release: "A Dog's Dayz: The Utlimate Snoop Doog Collection of Hits, Remixes,and Treats" (If they use that title, I want to see that check in tthe mail, the next day (says this in Rakim tone)).

    But all in all, another cool review and until next time.

    So, peace to the nation, the people that represent, and those cats that never bug out to the extreme

    Yo, If word is bond
    then Q is gone

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  4. AnonymousJuly 17, 2008

    you can hear the unmastered original next episode on youtube...dopppe song.

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  5. "The infamous skit in which Dr. Dre talks smack and Daz, Snoop's cousin, calls Eazy-E a "buster-ass HIV-pussy having motherfucker", years before Eazy announced he had contracted the AIDS virus. Creepy."

    Actualy Kurupt said later they refered to Luke Skywalker.
    When he and Daz had beef he said:
    On Doggystyle there was an interlude where Daz calls Luke a " Buster ass Hiv pussy having motherfucker ". Daz would refuse to say Lukes name for fear Luke and his crew would kidnap Daz and take him to Miami and kill him. Even though Luke a poptart and a porn rapper, Daz was scared shitless.
    Lol..?

    Thx for the review!

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  6. AnonymousJuly 17, 2008

    Since both Lodi Dodi, Ain't no Fun (maybe Doggy Dogg World) should obviously be on the Best Tracks list which totals 6 (or 7)good songs, this should be a recommended purchase to anyone who doesn't have this already

    Snoop's rhythym (+ cadence) is one of the tightest dopest (respected, admired, envied, etc...) flows.

    Maybe you became partially deaf or you're head got numb from listening to MOP !!

    MOP = wtf

    That's it

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  7. good review man, even though I can't understand the hate on g'z & hustlas.

    ok the beat is simply a loop and anything else, but still its banging and makes me wanna have hydraulics on my italian city car.

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  8. AnonymousJuly 18, 2008

    That really IS a terrible album cover.

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  9. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessJuly 18, 2008

    I agree with your review but would actually recommend buying it anyway because of the massive impact that this album had. I was entirely under the spell of Snoop Doggy Dogg when this shit dropped. It was the first album I ever remember getting a midnight release in my area. I was 16 and had school in the morning but I copped it at 12:05 or so. I hardly ever listen to this anymore but back then I ate it up, skits and all. Snoop has always been more of a hip hop personality than a rapper so it was all just a Snoop Dogg performance in my eyes. I bailed out for good after Tha Doggfather.

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  10. AnonymousJuly 19, 2008

    Max,
    You crawled to far up your own pretentious ass on this one!

    Your review of this album as underwhelming and your recommendation to burn is WRONG! This album is a timeless classic and there too many great songs here not to warrant a buy. Snoop + DPG + Dre, MD's production (I know he prolly did'nt produce the whole thing)= Awesome.

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  11. I remember hearing Gin and Juice for the first time in my area in early 1993. The radio station must have aquired a rough copy of the track and believe it or not, most of the curse words and sexual references were not edited. I taped it that night and must have played it around a hundred times. I was the only kat in the block that had it.

    For me, Gz's and Hustlas also showcased Snoop's lyricism and is one of my favorite tracks on the album.

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  12. This album is really the only good thing Snoop ever did. He has been trading on this album's good name for 15 years. I'm shocked that he stil has any cache since he hasn't actually put out anything memorable since this album. Having said that, the album -- while underwhelming given the hype that accompanied it -- is actually pretty good at face value. I did always think that "throw ya mothafuckin fingers in the air" is one of the wackest choruses ever invented.

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  13. Doesn't the joint Snoop's smoking on the back cover look like a botched Photoshop job?

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  14. good review

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  15. AnonymousJuly 23, 2009

    i never really liked this album, yeah i gave it a spin but it bored the hell out of me, so i threw it away and spunned The Chronic, but good review

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  16. This is a definite "BUY", no doubt.

    And regarding the cover... It's inspired by George Clinton's Atomic Dog (which What's My Name (and gazillion of g-funk tracks) is built upon) and all these "why must I feel like that, why must I chase the cat, nothing but tha dog in me" are also from that song

    kormega

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  17. "gz and hustlas" is sick.. don't know why u don't like it

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  18. hey men i have a queston can you review Tha Dogg Pound Dogg Food and where is Scarface The Diary those are good albums plus where is Comptons Most wanted and MC Eiht Mack 10 you are missing some realy good MCs men

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  19. This can be qualified as a classic.. it's also funny to hint that when the song "Ain't no fun if the homiez can't get none" came out, it was a period of accepting.. before that time people weren't havin it, and now these days nobody is having it, so quite a time to come out with that song.. oh c'mon max there should be a well deserving review of "Doggy Dogg World." I always felt Kurupt had the best presence of any rapper and felt he could even be better than Snoop. I take that back, he is better than snoop. I think Dr. Dre's production is like a win production because if "The Chronic" failed to live up to it's hype like u said on a review of "The Chronic" i don't think we would have even saw Snoop garner much attention, more less album production from Dre! But i think everything happens for a reason and it worked out well for them around that time.. good review, prolly Snoop's best.. but he needs to switch up his style for once!!! lol. peace..

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  20. GOOD REVIEW!!! I TOTALLY AGREE THAT HE"S GOT NOTHING GOOD TO SAY. HOWEVER, the beats standout than any other albums in this year, ( i was born 1993 lol)I personally fucking love them to the fullest shit. . i'd listen to it just for the beats. :)

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  21. El mejor Album De Rap

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