20 Years Of Doggystyle: What Samples Made The Album A Classic?

Features

/ November 22, 2013

Gangsta rap was never supposed to sound this funky, so how did a kid from Compton become one of the most successful music producers of all time? Dr. Dre did so by prescribing old school remedies and a heavy dosage of bass to an album called Doggystyle.

Together with Snoop, Dre combined the sounds of George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic, whose ensemble gained notoriety throughout the seventies for a distinct funk sound that emerged when their assortment of instruments converged. Songs like “Atomic Dog” and “Knee Deep” introduced America to spacey synthesizer frequencies, screeching electric bass lines and a bounce that made Motown seem archaic. Those reverberated rhythms reached Snoop and Dre in the early 80’s, inspiring an adolescent Andre Young to pick up the turntables. While he moonlighted as a DJ in the World Class Wreckin’ Crew, the young talent honed his production skills and acquired an eclectic taste in music, while Snoop mastered his flow across town.

“I would take somebody else’s song and re-create it and make it an instrumental,” Dre said in VIBE’s February, 1996 cover story, Live From Death Row. ”So that’s how I basically got into producing. My personal opinion is the ’70s is when the best music was made. Some motherfuckers had orchestras! Had string sections and they’d have to sit there and orchestrate a song. And put some vocals to it. So they really got into it. Curtis Mayfield, that motherfucker was bad as shit. Isaac Hayes, Barry White, y’knowhumsayin’? Them brothers was in there doing it.”

By intertwining his own instruments: keyboards, a Moog synthesizer. An Akai MPC60 (or MPC3000), and a drum machine, Dre would reprise funk for his generation, dubbing the sound catered to an influx of gangsters, G-funk. His protégé, a lanky six foot four, 21-year-old kid named Snoop – would ultimately help Dre reach unforeseen levels in the recording industry. On Doggystyle, Snoop’s groundbreaking debut, Dre took his love-affair with the 70’s to new heights, sampling his heroes from the decade heavily and solidifying his signature G-funk sound.

In honor of Doggystyle’s 20 year anniversary, VIBE pieced together the samples used on the classic album. —Chris Harris