20 Years Of Doggystyle: From Snoop Doggy Dogg To Snoop Lion

Features

By: / November 22, 2013

The year 1993 is widely considered by many enthusiasts as one of the greatest years in hip-hop music. From the fashion to the TV shows to the sounds, the hip-hop culture was fortifying its position in America, and the fans were ready for it. Albums released that year would be continue to be played on iPhones and websites around the world over 20 years later. Titles of work such as A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders, The Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers, and Tupac’s Strictly For My N.I.G.G.A.Z. would later be referred to as classics, parts of a standard syllabus of listening material for any hip-hop fan that wanted to be down. But on November 23rd, 1993, a 21-year old rapper from Long Beach, California threw his hat into the ring with a project that would not only serve as the blueprint of an entire coast’s musical sound, but as inspiration for some of the game’s current-gen stars.

Calvin Broadus, aka Snoop Doggy Dogg, who would later drop the “Doggy”, then have an 180 degree turn and add on a “Lion”, was on that date just another young rapper looking to break through. He came into the rap limelight a year earlier learning from the tutelage of one of the rap game’s buddening talents Dr. Dre. Through his contributions to Dre’s album (and certified classic) The Chronic, expectations were high for the young G’s solo product. His debut album Doggystyle, would join The Chronic as leaders in introducing the hip-hop world to “G-Funk”, an adaptation of the “P-Funk” sound of music made mostly famous by George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. “G-Funk” quickly became the voice of the West Coast sound; as syrupy lyrics were laid down over layered samples of the slow bounce sounds of the 70’s. But what separated Doggystyle from the pack (no pun intended) was its ability to be heard and understood by listeners across the country. The neighborhood youth in Brooklyn, New York was not only hearing, but listening and understanding the same stories told by Snoop in the same way as the Rollin 60’s Crips of South LA were. The album had that versatility to reach both gangbangers and suburbanites alike. With singles such as “Gin & Juice” and “Who Am I (What’s My Name”) reaching mainstream success landing on the Billboard charts and later propelling the album to platinum selling status, and album cuts such as “G’z and Hustlas” and “Ain’t No Fun”, the album figuratively planted its flag into the hip-hop mountain. But it was its longevity and influence on future West Coast artists that would later prove and solidify Doggystyle.

With hip-hop still being in its infancy at the time, there were many aims by suburban America to rid the country of its “poisonous and degrading lyrics,” and Doggystyle certainly caught its fair share of flack. Their tales of sexual and gang violence, drug abuse, and poverty that were spoken on the album were often referred to by artists like Snoop and Dre as them “Keeping It Real.” Even the controversial cover art caused ripples of social unrest in households and music stores across mainstream America. Whatever the case, the album served as a 13-song journey into the LBC with Snoop Dogg as your tour guide and Dr. Dre playing the perfect soundtrack to your journey. The sounds heard on this album could be heard loud and clear 20 years later in the sounds of new West Coast icons Dom Kennedy, Casey Veggies, Nipsey Hussle, and TDE. Music, like wine, only gets better with age, and Doggystyle still hits like a hard Gin & Juice. With Dr. Dre moving on to be one of the industry’s most prosperous entrepreneurs and Snoop taking on a new direction in his music and lifestyle joining the Rastafarian movement, Doggystyle now serves as a time portal as to what the music climate was back in 1993: Raw, rough, and real. All that’s left to do is bounce to this. —Cory Townes