Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle vs. Main Source’s Breaking Atoms. Which Is Better?

Hip-Hop Fans, we need your help...We recently launched AFH TV, a streaming video service focused on Hip-Hop culture. We already have exclusive interviews, documentaries, and rare freestyles featuring some of Rap’s most iconic artists and personalities. But, there is so much more to come--movies, TV series, talk shows--and we need your support to make it a reality. Please subscribe to AFH TV. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and offers 30-day free trials. Thank you.
Hip-Hop Fans, we need your help...We recently launched AFH TV, a streaming video service focused on Hip-Hop culture. We already have exclusive interviews, documentaries, and rare freestyles featuring some of Rap’s most iconic artists and personalities. But, there is so much more to come--movies, TV series, talk shows--and we need your support to make it a reality. Please subscribe to AFH TV. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and offers 30-day free trials. Thank you.

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as determined by hundreds of thousands of voters. Now, “Finding The GOAT” returns to ask a new question: what is the greatest of all time Hip-Hop album?

“Finding The GOAT Album” will consider 120 albums from three individual eras (40 in each), with options for wild card and write-in candidates. You and your vote will decide which album goes forward, and which one leaves the conversation. While there will no doubt be conversation between family and friends (virtual and real), only votes cast in the voting tool below will be counted, so use the power of your click.

Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle and Main Source’s Breaking Atoms combine commentary, fun, and skill expertly. Both of these albums made critical introductions, not just for the hosts, but for hungry MCs down with the movements. Additionally, each LP sounded great well into the decade, as they still do today. One has a handful of platinum. The other is only awarded deep accolades in Rap’s inner circles. Which is better (click one then click “vote”)?

doggystylesnoop

Doggystyle by Snoop Doggy Dogg

Snoop Doggy Dogg received the ultimate set-up to his debut. Leading up to the brilliantly titled Doggystyle, Calvin Broadus lit Dr. Dre’s Chronic album on fire with his effortless flow, smooth demeanor, and street-certified perspectives. Dre would return the favor, with his second and last fully-helmed artist album while at Death Row Records. The Gangsta Party raged on, with Snoop making a full-on introduction through songs like “Who Am I?,” “Doggy Dogg World,” and night-in-the-life anthem, “Gin & Juice.” Although he was officially the biggest Rap star in the world, Snoop’s debut plays like a low key ride-along for a smooth talkin’, cat-chasin’, indo-smokin’ B.G. from the Eastside of Long Beach. Not since Smooth B and Dana Dane had an MC sounded so laid back, and at the same time lyrical. While Ice Cube, Scarface, and Kool G Rap seemingly took themselves seriously, Snoop Dogg was less-in-your-face, both with his narrative and showcasing his skills. Tracks like “Pump Pump,” “Tha Shiznit,” and “Gz and Hustlaz” feel like freestyles, held together with air-tight flows, and the kind of production that shattered loops and minimalist instrumentals. Snoop played with Dre, the same way a guitarist and drummer did. The two made each other better, and each treated his part with pride, swagger, and the constant drive to be original.

Like The Chronic, Doggystyle had a strong supporting cast. Both on the mic and behind the boards, Snoop and Dre had lots of help. Dre and Death Row had manufactured their own band, making samples bend to all-out interpolations, and creating an arguably more cohesive, thematic experience than ’92’s jump-off. Like Wu-Tang Clan’s nine-man squad across the country, acts like Kurupt, The Lady Of Rage, Dat Nigga Daz, RBX, and Warren G were all clawing to be the next ball out of Tha Row’s cannon, treating their role-playing as if their careers depended on it. All of this pressure, pride, and amicable tension yielded an eruptive explosion. As Dre compressed the drums and samples for East Coast radio waves on “Pump Pump,” Snoop covered an eight-year-old Slick Rick classic, for his locale. The album closed the gap between the coasts sonically, as Snoop proved to be a product of Too Short and Rakim, equally. Moreover, at a time when Eazy-E was angrily calling for “Real Muthaphukkin G’z” in Rap again, Snoop’s life and “Murder Was The Case” were all too parallel. As Snoop rapped his own LBC spin on Goethe’s Faust, he soon found himself on trial for self-defense manslaughter. The lines between Rap and reality were narrow, and the low-lid MC in the blue flannel button-up seemingly was still in the soup. Doggystyle succeeded in jockeying for position within the industry, and Snoop Dogg became the decade’s first new, proven solo Rap superstar. Not since LL Cool J had an MC had the streets, the sales, and the Hip-Hop Heads all in deep belief.

Album Number: 1
Released: November 23, 1993
Label: Death Row/Interscope Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): #1 (certified gold, January 1994; certified platinum, January 1994; certified 4x platinum, May 1994)
Song Guests: Dr. Dre, Tha Dogg Pound (Daz Dillinger & Kurupt), RBX, Nate Dogg, Warren G, Sam Sneed, Tha Lady Of Rage, The Dramatics, Nanci Fletcher, Ulrich Wild
Song Producers: Dr. Dre, Emmanuel Dean, Daz Dillinger (uncredited), Sam Sneed (uncredited)

mainsource-breakingatoms

Breaking Atoms by Main Source

Wild Pitch Records entered the 1990s as a label willing to take a chance on technically-savvy Hip-Hop. By 1991, Stu Fine’s imprint had introduced Gang Starr, Lord Finesse, and Chill Rob G. Next up, would be the Queens, New York producer/DJ/MC who was giving flavor to Eric B. & Rakim and Kool G Rap & DJ Polo: Large Professor. Main Source, as a unit, also included DJs Sir Scratch and K-Cut. History, however, has proven that the L.P. carried nearly all of the weight surrounding Breaking Atoms. The mid-1991 album could have sounded brand new in many of the years that followed, thanks to insightful rhymes, and complex beats. The long-player veers, from intense, metaphoric commentary on racist police officers (“Just A Friendly Game Of Baseball”), anguished relationships (“Looking At The Front Door”), to extended grooves about passing the time (“Just Hangin’ Out”). Together on the same album, these works shine through Extra P’s New York dialectic cadence, rugged vernacular, and confident approach. Moreover, guest MCs Nas and Akinyele would make masterful debuts on wax care of “Live At The Barbeque,” years before they piloted their own hits. In an era when guest MCs often went uncredited and dismissed as filler, Main Source (on both albums) proved to be one of Rap’s greatest springboards.

Breaking Atoms‘ greatest charm may very well be its production. As Hip-Hop in New York City was still measuring up to its late ’80s hallmarks, Large Professor found ways to make the music dynamic. “Watch Roger Do His Thing” is sequenced like a House Dance track, breaking down Funkadelic samples. “Looking At The Front Door” achieved the same, as Large Professor constructed his beautiful mixes before our very ears. Even with heavy themes and hard rhymes, the sounds were colorful, thanks to catchy 1960s sources, far more interesting than just kicks and snares. At any point, an overlapping vocal, loop, or accent could take a song in a whole different direction, best illustrated in “Just Hangin’ Out.” Before The Chronic, The Low End Theory, or Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, Main Source made an album that sounded incredible, and had hearty lyrical substance—satisfying listeners of different kinds at once. Not even a Top 200 ranking release, Breaking Atoms often lives in a tiny nucleus of those in the know. Because of this, and the group’s controversial roles and personnel shifts, the explosive chemistry often goes unheard. However, approaching 25 years old, what album has aged better, proved to be more pivotal, and forecast the future better than this groundbreaking introduction?

Album Number: 1
Released: June 23, 1991
Label: Wild Pitch Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): N/A
Song Guests: Nas, Akinyele, Joe Fatal, Anton Pukshansky
Song Producers: (self), Pete Rock

So which is the better album? Make sure you vote above.

Related: Ambrosia For Heads’ Finding The GOAT: The Albums