Monday, October 24, 2011

Music Video Monday: Snoop Dogg

Last week, Calvin Broadus reached the milestone age of 40. He's better known as rap star Snoop Dogg. I had no idea that we were born in the same year. Dang, if we went to high school together, we would've been in the same graduating class. That's hard to imagine. I often think about stuff like that when I meet people and find out that we are the same age or graduated in the same year. Would we have been friends in high school?

Snoop Dogg hit the big time in 1993 / 1994. His first single, "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)" played a lot on European MTV (I was living in Sardinia, Italy at the time with the U.S. Navy and watched MTV a lot in 1993 and 1994 when the barracks got satellite TV piped into individual rooms). This music video amused me because of the use of dogs and making them move to the beat of the song when they are in the bar, trying to look hip and cool. I'm a sucker for the personification of animals. I also loved how they morphed a cocker spaniel into a lady, and Snoop Dogg as a Doberman? Awesome! When I was in Italy, an African American girl I was smitten with laughed at the part of the video when an obese lady ran off with a plate of food when the dogg pound invaded the picnic. She said of that particular image, "Oh no she didn't!" It was funny how she said it in response to that scene.

The song has a great rhythm and sound to it. It got bounce and hip hop rarely gets better than this. Snoop Dogg was a protege of Dr. Dre, best known for popularizing (if not coining) the term "Chronic" as a euphemism for marijuana. Though I did not agree with Snoop's promotion of drug usage and the exploitative / kind of vulgar rap lyrics, I have to admit that I can't help but laugh because he has a great, mischievous sense of humour. Anyone who makes me laugh basically earns my loyalty and admiration for life. This presented a problem when around the time this song was tearing up the airwaves, Snoop was arrested for being an accessory to murder, which is a serious charge. It seems to be a part of rap culture, though. The only way to gain legitimacy among the urban fans. Though I'm bothered by it, I can't say that it stopped me from listening to his music.

His debut album, Doggystyle, had an ugly cover drawing, but the songs are pretty fresh. Its a definite musical feast for the ears and irresistible. Too bad there's not an instrumental version of the album, because that's enough to love this album. The lyrics, though funny, makes it difficult to play the album in public without someone likely to get offended. I particularly like "Ain't No Fun". Mostly for the melody, but the lyrics are also amusing (many blatant references to fellatio).

The reason why I put Snoop Dogg in the "cool" category is because the guy's an undeniable talent. He's one of few rap artists that I actually like, and that's because he's a musical genius. He managed to create a unique sound that my ears are addicted to. I also like that he has a serious look, like he's going to fuck you up if you mess with him, but beneath that exterior lies someone with a wicked sense of humour. It's great to see someone who can be funny while keeping a deadly serious face. It plays with your expectations. No where is this more obvious than his appearance in Katy Perry's California Gurls video.

So, in honour of Snoop Dogg's 40th birthday, enjoy his debut video that brought him success and fame in 1994. I can't remember if it was accurate or not, but when I first heard about him, I called him "Snoop Doggy Dogg." I wonder what Charles Schultz would've thought of the idea of a rap artist taking a name from the most famous dog cartoon character in the world.

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