|Smoke weed every day for 20 years and you too will see the light of Rastafari.|
Twenty years ago this week, Death Row Records released Snoop Doggy Dogg's first album, Doggystyle. Everybody seemed to have that album. It was really good music for driving around, getting high. I didn't know this at the time, but that was because the whole thing was built on samples from old Parliament and Funkadelic songs from the 1970s.
When you listen to the album now, it's striking that most of the songs are in such bad taste. There's a lot of "keepin' it real" ghetto gangsta nonsense that had people up in arms, I guess because the lyrics were going to be a bad influence on the vulnerable Youth of America. Except that jazz was going to do that in the 1920s, and Elvis was going to do it in the 1950s, and Metallica and Madonna and Miley and etc.
In any case, the album still sounds great, as long as you don't listen too closely to what they're saying. Then it sounds dumb. Embarrassing. Still, it's hard to find fault - Snoop was only 21 at the time of the album's release, and the actual masterminds behind it, Dr. Dre and Suge Knight, weren't too much older. I think you and I would be mortified if someone played us a tape of the things we were saying when we were 21.
Here's an interview in Rolling Stone with Suge Knight about the recording of Doggystyle (you didn't think I actually knew, on my own, that this was the 20th anniversary, did you?):
Suge Knight interview
And here's the first single from the album, the signature Who Am I? (What's My Name?). Enjoy: