Snoop Says His Debut Album Broke The Color Barrier For Gangsta Rap (Video)
Today, November 23, 2018, marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most influential albums of all time, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle. The 1993 gangsta rap album carried with it an onslaught of west coast radio domination following Dr. Dre’s debut record, The Chronic. Where The Chronic first introduced a young Snoop Doggy Dogg to the nation, Doggystyle catapulted him into stardom – Doggystyle sold over 800,000 copies in its first week in the United States, and set a record for the fastest selling debut Hip-Hop album at the time. Snoop Dogg soon became a household name, and Doggystyle aided in pushing Gangsta Rap and G-Funk onto radio waves, popularizing Hip-Hop for unacquainted suburban audiences.
Or as Snoop bluntly puts it in a recent video discussion with Revolt on Doggystyle 25 years later, “I think it made it cool for white people to listen to Rap…They was listening to Rap back then, but they wasn’t listening to no real ni**as. N.W.A. scared ’em. But, Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre made it OK. It was okay to say ‘Nuthin’ But A G Thang.’ We had ’em feeling like ‘it’s okay,’ as opposed to ‘this ain’t for you.’ Many Whites bought N.W.A. and all that. They couldn’t say it though. They had to buy them records and shut up…When our sh*t came out, they was letting everybody know this is the sh*t. We wit’ it. White America loved it. MTV jumped on it. It was hot everywhere. It was acceptable, so it broke the barrier.”
While getting a manicure, Snoop Dogg also revealed how Doggystyle initially took its shape, the pressure of impressing Dr. Dre and his ghostwriter The D.O.C., dealing with the press and becoming a public figure, and what Doggystyle did for overall culture.
While discussing Dr. Dre, Snoop shed some light on how Doggystyle got its first set of ideas. “Dr. Dre had a vision, because he had a chance to hang out with me, and by hanging out with me, he had learned who I was. He knew I was into a lot of 70’s [films] and old-school black exploitation. When we would ride together, I would always have a cassette with old-school songs on it and I would always control the music from the passenger seat, so he started to figure me out when he was working on The Chronic.”
After Dre got an idea of who Snoop Dogg was, pre-Doggystyle, Snoop then had to deal with fame, which did not come easy to him. Snoop recalled not wanting the pressure of releasing a debut album, preferring to stick in Dr. Dre’s background and living off of his hype being featured on The Chronic. He was notably camera shy and awful with interviews, but eventually stepped up to the plate.
He revealed “Once we got past the initial shock, I was like, alright, I can’t be weak around [Dr. Dre]. I don’t want him to say none of my rhymes was weak, I wanted him to always say my rhymes was dope. And then he had D.O.C. with him, which was like, the God. It was like – it ain’t about what Dre like, it’s about what D.O.C. like, cause D.O.C. was his ear. He was writing most of N.W.A. material once Cube left and whatnot, so he was like Dre’s trusty ear, so when I came, I had to impress Dre and the D.O.C. So by the time we got to Doggystyle, it was more about… I know what this dude is about, I know what his album should be about – it should be about some pimp, extraordinary, fly, dope rap, hardcore, melodic –like, everything that’s on Doggystyle, believe that Dr. Dre had the ingredients and knew how to prepare it. I was just some of the meat and potatoes, the portion of the meal that was there but was unprepared, and he prepared it and served it to people like never before.”
Further along in the Revolt discussion, Snoop speaks about longevity in Hip-Hop and answers a few questions about his thoughts on Doggystyle in 2018. Snoop Dogg has released 16 albums to date, including one reggae record under the name Snoop Lion, and a gospel record which released earlier this year. Snoop Dogg was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame earlier this week.