How ‘Doggystyle’ Introduced The World To Snoop Dogg, One Of The Most Popular Hip-Hop Figures Of All

11.26.18 6 months ago 3 Comments

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There’s a bar in downtown Long Beach living in the remnants of an old bank building. Every Friday night in that bar’s basement, a familial group of DJs throws an old-school hip-hop party called Snapback Live. I went there every Friday night for a year (and still go there occasionally, because it’s a reliable good time) and every Friday night I encountered the same experience. Inevitably, because it is an old-school party in Long Beach, one of the DJs will at some point during the night play Snoop Dogg‘s “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None).”

Every night for a year, hundreds of voices uplifted in drunken, enthusiastic, unison: “‘Cause I have never met a girl / That I loved in the whole wide world.” No matter how “woke” we’ve all gotten, how truly misogynistic and gross the song has become, there is just no erasing that ecstatic feeling. Snoop Dogg is a legend. Doggystyle is his very first myth, the first brick in the road toward his iconic status. There’s no one without the other.

Just two Fridays ago, Snoop Dogg received a star on Hollywood’s Walk Of Fame, christening the concrete slab by crip-walking over it while news cameras and thousands of well-wishers and fans looked on. Just a few days before that, Snoop helped debut the return of one of video gaming’s most popular franchises with Spyro Remastered and far from being a corny brand sponsorship, it actually felt cool and organic. Just this past January, Snoop Dogg’s marijuana and hip-hop themed update of the ’70s-era game show The Joker’s Wild, Snoop Dogg Presents The Joker’s Wild, was renewed for a second season by TBS after its inaugural season turned out to be a raucous ride propelled by the rap godfather’s compelling charm.

Likewise, a second season of Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party again paired the witty master of language and laid-back rhymes with homemaking mogul Martha Stewart, mining their unusual friendship for laughs and surprising cultural insight. The show launched a multitude of memes contrasting the irony of their criminal status; while Snoop is renowned for his past as a certified Eastside Long Beach Rolling 20s Crip, it’s Stewart who is the convicted felon, serving five months at Federal Prison Camp Alderson in 2004 for securities fraud (the brevity of her sentence itself a commentary on the structure of the criminal justice system). It’s safe to say that Snoop Dogg is one of the biggest, most recognizable stars in the world. None of it happens without Doggystyle.

Much ado has been made in the past month about the legendary status of so many albums released in November of 1993. Wu-Tang Clan made their kung-fu movie-referencing, comic book-influenced, slang-coining over-the-top debut with Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Established pioneers, game-changers, and hit-makers A Tribe Called Quest perfected their jazzy, socially-conscious formula with Midnight Marauders. But in 1993, I didn’t give a rat’s ass about either. Sure, they both had a profound effect on my tastes and awareness of hip-hop down the line — I realized Tribe would be my North Star sometime in middle school and Wu-Tang’s influence would provide the basis for some of my nerdier rap interests further down the line — but Los Angeles rap radio wasn’t playing New York jazz rap back then. They were playing Doggystyle.

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