THE DEATH OF THE MIX TAPE
WRITERS NOTE: This was written for Jazzfest, but ended up not being used. Either way i hope you enjoy.
The year is 1992, and an album by a doctor was sweeping the nation. Song after song blew the hip hop game open, that’s not the entire story though. The album, “The Chronic,” released by Dr. Dre was memorable in many ways, but the most memorable moments on the album came from an unknown who stole tracks all over the album. This act, quickly discovered as Snoop Doggy Dogg wasn’t meant to only be a feature on someone else’s album, but rather a huge name in the rap world. This all turned out to be true.
If you enjoy getting down to rap, the chances are slim you’ve never heard of Dogg. Since the Chronic was lit in the early 90’s, he’s been one of the most trustworthy in the game. He continually releases album and tours big venues, and when he’s not doing that, you likely hear him guesting on various other artists’ records. “Drop it like it’s Hot” was a huge smash hit, as was “Beautiful,” both featuring the acclaimed hit maker Pharrell Williams.
The other thing you might know about Snoop is his insatiable love of Mary Jane. I mean, of course the guy we meet from the chronic will be end up being a pothead. I mention this only because as his image has gotten bigger, his acknowledgement and support of the green plant has become just another thing you can use to discuss his art. At the end of the day, I believe all of those things contribute to how solidly he’s viewed not only in the Rap world, but the general music industry also.
Back to the songs themselves though. From the debut “Doggystyle,” in 1993, he’s had tremendous skill in his ability to make gangster rap songs alongside more easily accessible tracks. His evolution is also important. Early Dogg was in your face animosity, much like the early days of N.W.A. and the others that came from it’s death.
Like much of the rap coming out of southern California around that time, tensions between minorities and police were used as a launching pad for ordinary local people to get their frustrations and thoughts out to a common cause. Snoop Dogg doesn’t do that exclusively. While he has serious, crime related songs(“Murder was the Case”) he also has songs like “Who Am I(What’s My Name).”
This has served him well. In 24 short years he’s gone from a guest on an album, to having a huge career for himself, and in the last few years his brand has steadily expanded. Aside from just being a rap star, he’s appeared in “Training Day” with Denzel, as well as the unexpected announcement that not only was he friends with Martha Stewart, but they have their own cooking show. Yes, it’s actually a real thing, seek it out and see what you think.
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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