An Argument For Why Snoop Is The Greatest MC Of All-Time (Video)
Despite the fact that he is one of Rap music’s most widely recognized faces, voices, and outright brands, somehow many overlook the lyrical merits of Snoop Dogg. For 25 years, Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. has given Hip-Hop Heads different looks within one of the genre’s most sprawling and versatile catalogs.
There was the menacing gangsta rapper, the healing peacemaker, the sensuous Funkateer, the Star Trak overlord, the No Limit soldier, and Da Eastsida’. From 213 to 7 Days, Snoop stays in the studio. Even he likely would admit that not all of his art has endured. However, he is responsible for multiple classics, under his name and others. In this week’s TBD, Justin “The Company Man” Hunte takes a look within Hip-Hop and examines if Snoop deserves to be considered Rap’s top dog.
“Do the math. Twenty-five years. Thirty million sold worldwide. Fifteen solo albums. Scores of mixtapes and collaborative albums. At least two classic releases. The first was The Chronic. You can’t understate the importance of The Chronic in any context and Snoop’s all over it,” begins Hunte. “He’s is a writer on 13 of 16 joints, which is super significant.”
In an older interview with The Company Man, Kurupt said it too. “Snoopy wrote the majority of everything. That’s how Daz [Dillinger] got in the game. Snoop wrote his verse, and after that, Doggystyle was coming, and John Singleton wanted Snoop.” Kurupt and Daz are just two of Snoop’s proteges. In his years, he had a hand in putting on Bad Azz, Terrace Martin, Tray Deee, Soopafly, Problem, Doggy’s Angels, and others. Beyond his Doggystyle Records acts, he showed crucial big-brother support to Kendrick Lamar, The Game, 50 Cent, The Neptunes, Akon, Dam-Funk, Chingy, C-Murder…and countless others.
“[Snoop Dogg] did it again with 1993’s Doggystyle, his solo debut. Another of Hip-Hop’s most revered albums. [It boasts] 5.5 million sold. Rolling Stone named it one of the 100 best albums of the 1990s. #14. The Source gave it a 4 out of 5 [mics], then later raised it to 5 out of 5. Even The Source had to recognize. [The album is] absolutely a cultural watershed. In an interview, Snoop said he named it Doggystyle because he’s coming through the back door… of the industry.” He did so on a major level.
No matter the sales or the accolades, Snoop freestyled when he was a Long Beach hustler trying to put on 213. He freestyled when he was a Hollywood franchise, doing so in BET’s “Basement” of Rap City, and the awards cyphers. Some of his most celebrated work is off the cuff. Look no further than Dre & Snoop excellence in “Tha Shiznit.”
This artist oozes Hip-Hop. Perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, he openly cites strong influence from Slick Rick, Dana Dane, Eric B. & Rakim, Whodini, Nice & Smooth, and Ice-T. He has covered many of those artists in ways that bring awareness. Moreover, Snoop DJs, he produces (solo, and in his short-lived QDT unit with Teddy Riley and DJ Quik).
There are great Snoop albums besides Doggystyle too, though some may be lesser known or more overlooked. 2006’s Blue Carpet Treatment showed that Tha Doggfather was older, wiser, but still commanding for a new era of rhymes and beats. Like Nas, Snoop suffers from the constant comparison (and expectation) to a classic debut. Few artists short of JAY-Z can shake that stigma, and even Hov’ constantly has to address traditionalist fans.
Hunte looks at the counterpoint. “The knock against Snoop Dogg is that while his catalog is prolific, it’s not necessarily the picture of consistency.” However, he begs a closer look. “There’s definitely a lot of excess. But in the streaming era, singles are more impactful oftentimes than entire projects. Also, coming off an era of ‘aspirational Rap,’ as Jay-Z dubbed it, there’s so much more to an artist than just the art. Snoop’s intangibles are nearly unparalleled. Entertainment exists in more mediums than ever, and Snoop’s a force on all screens, screens of all sizes. He’s known in all countries.” Going “from Murder Was The Case to Martha Stewart, Snoop “has transcended culture while always uplifting culture.” He mentored Fif’ through beef, extended hands to Benzino while staying affiliated with Eminem, and even took a selfie with mentor-turned-nemesis Suge Knight. Snoop has gone on record believing that Knight wanted him dead, after Death Row. Still, the Dogg forgives but never forgets. From a cultural standpoint, he is a beacon in Hip-Hop…a far cry from the twenty-something who was facing a murder conviction.
“The Company Man” recaps, “Classic albums. Classic songs. Mentorship. Longevity and versatility. Top tier live show. Is all that lost under the weight of too many songs? It depends on how you feel. Hip-Hop’s competitive, but there’s no scoreboard. So if someone came up to me and said Snoop Snoop Doggy Dogg from LBC is the greatest rapper of all time, I might not agree. But I’d understand.”