Just like everyone else I have my guilty pleasures. Today I will talk about one of them.
Doggiestyle: Snoop Dogg
Guilty? Yep. Why? Where to begin?
First, no matter what, gansta rap irritates me because it relishes in the quagmire of lowest common denominator – Constant swearing, which on a good day usually describes my vocabulary at work and yet when combined with constant use of the infamous ‘N’ word, well, intelligence it does not suggest. I curse constantly but I am very aware of how ignorant it makes me sound. It’s my way to cope – better than stalking through the establishment with a baseball bat* taking out those who piss me off, right? (maybe not) I’m no prude, I don’t feel swearing immediately makes one unpresentable; however, that being said there’s a certain bad aftertaste that comes with an album where every reference to a female, in the positive or the negative, is phrased using the word ‘bitch(es)’. And I know, I know, that’s the persona of Snoop and the album – I get it. It doesn’t change it though, except maybe that it’s a hell of a lot easier to accept it on something as character-driven as a Snoop Dogg album as opposed to an album like Andre Benjamin’s masterpiece The Love Below, which has a couple tracks virtually ruined (depends on my state of mind) by trying reiterations of the Bitch refrain. Snoop does it because it’s his character – Andre comes across like a douche on an otherwise intelligent piece of work.
Next, there’s what I call the Sample Factor. Rap was fine when I was younger, before I started investigating where all the music came from. However once you get real and find out that something like 80% of rap came from three main sources** you tend to forget about the re-appropriation and retire with the source material. Dr. Dre has been especially guilty of this; The Chronic and Doggiestyle both are so invested with George Clinton’s music, if you took it out you wouldn’t have any album left at all.
Still, that shit sounds sooooo good.
How could Doggiestyle not have rocketed Snoop to super-stardom? The refrains to half the guys songs are his name, and they’re catchy as all hell, so you walk around all day with Atomic Dog’s melody in your head but Snoop’s name on your lips.
Genius! Pure marketing genius! Let’s see Malcolm Gladwell put that in a book!
Yeah, if I’m jamming Doggiestyle in the car in downtown L.A. I might pull a Michael Bolton, but I don’t care – occasionally the day calls for something superficial-yet-catchy and Doggiestyle is among the best in that corner of the very limited world of rap.
* Modified with a coupla rusty nails pounded though one end, of course!!!
** I am of course referring to 1) George Clinton, 2) James Brown and 3) Isaac Hayes.