Doggystyle celebrates 20 years

20 Years Of Doggystyle: A Chat With The LP's Opening Voice, Lady Of Rage

Twenty years ago today, when anxious listeners rushed to grab Snoop Dogg's debut album Doggystyle, the first voice that they heard rapping on the record was an unexpected one. It wasn't Snoop or Dr. Dre or Kurupt or Daz Dillinger, it was Lady of Rage. The Virginia-bred MC moved West after Dre heard her on a different project and gave her the opening slot on the most anticipated debut rap album of all time with a solo track of her own, "G Funk Intro." After signing to Death Row and working on classics like the Murder Was The Case soundtrack, the Above The Rim soundtrack -- which housed her highest charting hit, "Afro Puffs" -- and The Chronic, she released her solo debut Necessary Roughness (originally called Eargasm) in 1997 with production from DJ Premier, Easy Mo Bee and Daz Dillinger.

We spoke to Lady of Rage to hear about how L.A. has changed since Doggystyle came out, how she felt having the first verse on the album, and the different ways that Snoop and Dre would work in the studio.

How did it feel to have the first verse on Snoop’s debut album?

Snoop’s album was the most anticipated album at the time, so everyone’s expecting to hear Snoop Dogg on the first track, and instead they heard me. I don’t know why Dre did it, but I also do know why he did it. It was a set-up. After The Chronic it was gonna be Snoop, so the next artist in line whose album was going to be released would be the first artist on the current album. That was the set-up for me. I was very pleased and excited. It was one of the biggest highlights of the album to me.


When you were recording with Dr. Dre and Snoop for Doggystyle, did you know at the time that it was going to be the classic that it became?

No, I think at the time we were just working on that moment. We were feeling the energy and the passion, so we just wanted to put down the best possible thing and leave an impression on the listener’s mind and other MC’s. I wasn’t thinking that for myself, I can’t speak for anyone else though.

What do you remember about recording with Dre and Snoop at the time?

Hmm….I know Dre is kind of meticulous with everything he does. Everything has to be on point. Snoop is more off the head, so whatever the beat dictated, he would just come in and freestyle. He was more laidback and easygoing. Dre was more demanding, and he didn’t have to demand much from us because we were so on point with what we were doing, he didn’t really have to sweat us that much to up the ante or up the bar. We were really hungry and passionate, so it just all blended in together and it was a perfect mixture of all MC’s involved.

Do you remember recording any songs that didn’t make the final version of Doggystyle?

Not for Doggystyle. We’ve done other things that didn’t make releases for The Chronic and other things. But everything we did for Doggystyle pretty much made it, at least everything I was involved in made it. It could have been some times when I wasn’t there and songs were done in the studio but didn’t make it. To my recollection, everything was pretty much on there.

What do you remember doing for The Chronic that didn’t make it?

It may have been the Deep Cover soundtrack, “And It’s On." It was me and Snoop and Dre I think. It didn’t make the album but I think it was released on something else because I heard it.

You also recorded with 2Pac for your first solo album, Necessary Roughness. Did you two record anything else in the studio together?

No, we didn’t do anything else musically. He had an album coming out called A Nation of Millions coming out that he wanted me on.

Being around Snoop and his gratuitous use of “bitch” and “ho," did you ever feel conflicted as a woman?

No, I didn’t take it personally. You have bitches and hoes, you have all types of women, you have all types of men. You have some men that are bitches and hoes. I didn’t take it personally.

How did you wind up recording with Snoop?

Well I’m from Virginia. I was living in New York at the time and I was working with the L.A. Posse and also Chubb Rock. I did a few songs on this compilation album with the L.A. Posse and they’re from California so when they got back to Cali they let Dre hear the finished product. Dre heard me and asked how to get in touch with me, and they gave him my information. He called me and told me he was getting a new label together and wanted to know if I wanted to be a part of it. I said, “How do I know you’re Dr. Dre?” He said there’s only one way to find out and he sent me a ticket. That was that.

Do you feel like the West Coast has changed since Doggystyle dropped?

The album has definitely made a mark on the rap game. It brought a whole new sound, it was an introduction to the G-Funk era and that whole West Coast sound. The West Coast had been slept on for quite some time, and N.W.A. and Ice Cube and Yo-Yo and other artists. When Snoop came along, it was just something different. He had a different sound and people tend to gravitate towards what’s new, so he was like a breath of fresh air.

How do you think Dr. Dre’s production style has changed since Doggystyle?

I don’t know if it’s changed much. I don’t think Dre really had a set way of doing things. With some things he would use certain instruments and you can tell that it’s a Dre beat. I think he’s pretty much stayed true to the formula, if it’s broke don’t fix it. I haven’t really heard anything new from him since Slimm The Mobster and I think he’s basically in the same realm as what he started out with.

Be honest with me, was Snoop writing all of Dre’s verses back then?

I have no clue, you’d have to ask him that.

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French Montana Sued For Sexual Assault, Battery And Emotional Distress

French Montana is being accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman, according to a lawsuit filed in L.A. Superior Court on Thursday (March 26). The accuser claims that she was sexually assaulted at the rapper's home two years ago.

The woman, identified only as Jane Doe, is suing for assault and battery, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and more. Montana, his Coke Boys Records imprint, and employee, Mansour Bennounare, are named in the suit, which alleges that on or around March 28, 2018, the woman was invited to a recording studio where Montana and Bennouna were “working.” The documents allege that Montana and Bennouna were “drinking and using drugs” in the studio and offered her drinks, before inviting her back to Montana’s home in Hidden Hills, Calif.

The woman allegedly arrived at the home at around 6 a.m. Thirty minutes later, the woman claims that she stepped outside to phone a friend but was “lucid” and “unable to carry a conversation.” The woman went back inside Montana’s kitchen and although she “wanted to leave” she was urged to “take a shot,” the documents assert.

After being given a drink, the woman says that she blacked out and was therefore unable to give consent to “engage in any sexual activity” but remembers “several men” coming in out of the bedroom. She believes that Montana was one of the men.

The accuser says she woke up on a couch in a room “filled with curtains” at around 1 p.m. She was “confused” and “intoxicated” and felt pain in her pelvic area, vagina, and lower back, the suit states. The lawsuit also alleges that Bennouna was laying behind her in a “spooning manner,” groping her, and rubbing his genitals against her back.

The woman began “crying hysterically” because she believed that she had been drugged and raped. She grabbed her things and left the home. According to the suit, the woman went to a local hospital where a rape kit was administered. She also reported the alleged incident to police, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit goes on to allege that the defendants earn money from “promoting drinking, taking drugs and having sex with women,” and use their business as a front to “lure” women to their homes where they provide them with drugs and alcohol to have sex, with or without consent.

“Defendants had a longstanding practice of inviting women to their recording sessions, or choosing women at bars, and inviting them back to the Hidden Hills house which is also a hub of EMPLOYER DEFENDANTS business enterprises,” the lawsuit reads. “There Defendants would supply the women with drinks and drugs, with the purpose of engaging in sexual acts with them, without any regard to whether or not they consented, or were able to consent.”

The alleged assault caused the woman to have anxiety, “extreme emotional distress,” flashbacks, depression, and prevented her from continuing to pursue a career in modeling and acting. The suit is asking for a jury trial.

Montana, whose birth name is Karim Kharbouch, hasn’t publicly responded to the allegations.

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Prince’s Siblings Reportedly File Petition To Get Money From His Estate

The heirs to Prince’s fortune want his estate to pay up. According to The Blast, the music legend’s siblings, Norine, Sharon and John, filed legal documents in hopes of green lighting “payment for service and efforts provided to the Estate.”

The trio claims that while “others” have been compensated, they have yet to be paid after putting time and energy into “business matters” related to the estate, which is being run by Comerica Bank.

“As this Court is aware, the Estate has now been on-going for over three years,” the documents reportedly state. “In this time, millions have been paid to the Personal Representatives, their accountants, attorneys, and legal advisors.”

The heirs accused Comerica of making money decisions without notifying them, which the bank has denied. Last year, a Minnesota judge denied the siblings’ request to limit the bank’s power over the estate.

Prince’s brothers and sisters want a judge to force Comerica to compensate them so that they can get out of financial ruin, including paying legal bills.

The Purple One’s estate is worth an estimated $200 million (down from $300 million) since his death in 2016. Prince died without a will but a judge ruled that his estate would be split between his six half-siblings. His brother, Alfred Jackson, who was 1/6 of the estate heirs died in 2019. Last December, Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, sold off a chunk of her percentage of the estate to cover legal bills.

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Here’s How New Orleans Is Being Affected By Coronavirus

New Orleans has twice as many COVID-19 cases per capita than any other county or parish in the country. This time last month, the Big Easy welcomed over a million visitors for Mardi Gras, which likely contributed to the diseases spreading rapidly around the city.

New Orleans registered its first case of COVID-19 on March 9. As of Friday (March 27), the city reported more than 20 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 119. The death tole increased by 19% in one day, according to the Times-Picayune. That said, the number of those who have contracted the disease could vary due to a lack of testing in Louisiana, and around the country. The state reported 441 new cases as of Friday.

Male patients account for 43% of the COVID-19 cases in the state, while women make up 57%. The largest number of cases by age group are adults between the ages of 50-59. Orleans Parish, which is Louisiana’s third most populous parish behind East Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish, reported 57 of the 87 coronavirus-related deaths.

At least 24% percent of New Orleans residents are living below the poverty line, and 1 in 5 households are without a vehicle, further limiting access to testing and treatment, USA Today reports. The poverty stats, compounded with lack of access to proper health care and those with underlying medical conditions, contribute to the spike in cases.

“New Orleans is preparing to mobilize in a way we hope we will never see again in our lifetimes,” New Orleans Homeland Security Director Collin Arnold said, per USA Today. “This disaster will define us for generations.”

The city is running out of hospital beds, and ventilators could be next on the list. Of the more the 773 reported patients hospitalized over COVID-19, 270 of them require ventilators. Louisiana has close to 2,800 ventilators statewide. While the city works to gain access to necessary medical supplies, others are stepping forward to help feed NOLA residents.

Earlier in the week, New Orleans Saints player Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, announced that they are donating $5 million to various charities including Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health, Jimmy Johns, and Waitr, to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana.

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Brittany and I are committing $5,000,000 to the State of Louisiana in 2020. The priority now is helping our communities get through this tough time. After considerable research and conversations with local organizations, we will be mobilizing our partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health Systems, Walk-Ons, Jimmy Johns, Smalls Sliders and Waitr to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana for as long as it takes to children on meal programs, seniors, and families in need. Let’s all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on Mar 26, 2020 at 8:31am PDT

In neighboring Mississippi, there are 570 confirmed COVID-19 cases and eight deaths out of 3,139 tests administered. Mississippi also has more women battling the disease (59%) than men (41%).

According to the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago and other “hot spots” will have a worse week next week than they had this week.

In Milwaukee, the city’s Black community is being hit harder than any other group in the state. All of the eight deaths (five men and three women) in Milwaukee County were Black people, and seven of the eight were Milwaukee residents.

Philadelphia has at least 475 cases of the disease with over 2,200 confirmed cases statewide. On a positive note, more than 21,000 people  have tested negative for coronavirus in Pennsylvania.

With over 42,246 people testing positive for the disease, New York tops the list of coronavirus cases around the country and has been receiving the brunt of nationwide press around the pandemic, while states like Michigan, which falls fifth on the nationwide list, aren't generating the same amount of national headlines. The Midwestern state has been considered an epicenter  for the disease, and cities such as Detroit and Flint, where residents have been without clean water for years, are among the most vulnerable.

As of Thursday (March 28), the U.S. confirmed more cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world. Over 100,000 people tested positive for the disease and while hospitals are still in need of critical supplies and testing kits, there is one small glimmer of hope: the fatality rate in the U.S. remains at less than 10% (1607 confirmed deaths), and over 2,000 people in the country have been reported as recovered from COVID-19.

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