As the end of the year approaches, labels are scrambling to drop a slew of heavy hitters hoping to rake in that last bit of bread before '06 is a wrap. Among them, The Game, Young Jeezy, The Clipse, Pitbull, and Lil' Scrappy are holding it down for the new jacks and Jay-Z and Nas' releases have been the biggest news of the year. With Nas', Hip Hop is Dead, and Jay's Kingdom Come, both are addressing the notion of bringing the music back to its essence. Though they've been getting the press they aren't the only legends looking to rejuvenate quality and creativity in the music by not only having good concepts and dope beats but by going back to focusing on doing what they do best: rhyme.
The first time I interviewed Snoop Dogg, he said that his main objective when he originally started working with Dre was simply to be the baddest rapper alive. Over 15 years later and nine solo albums deep, he has no doubt achieved that goal on more than one occasion. With a unique voice, quiet thoroughness, and a flow sharp like the canines on his namesake he has managed to remain relevant throughout the many metamorphoses of the game. Though with his latest albums lyrics have taken a back seat to catchy hooks, with the release of his new album, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, he says he's decided to go back to basics and bring back the Snoop that the world of Hip-Hop came to know and love. In this installment of Amanda Diva's "Rewind the Rhyme" we spoke to the Doggfather about not only his inspiration for writing three of his best known and most lyrical records but also about where he, an O.G., fits in today's game, and how his son, his hardest critic to date rates his lyrical skills.
["Murder Was The Case" featuring Dat N***a Daz - Doggystyle, 1993]
AllHipHop.com: So tell me about Murder Was the Case
Snoop Dogg: Damn. I wrote that song on the floor at Larrabee Studios with my cousin Daz. We had a song called Dave. Dave was about a young kid that was misled, and then I was like, You know what? I wanna make a song about me being killed, and right before I get killed, I make a deal with God and I cross him and do a deal with the Devil and he takes my life. I was just on something devilish. I don't know why I was thinking that I wanted to make a song like that. I just went in to write that muthaf**ka, and Daz was right there with me, so that's why he [was on the record saying], Bring your lifestyle to me I'll make it better. He was like right there with me when we was getting to the part where I done been shot. I'm dead and making a deal with God then I come back and he gave me everything that I ask for, then I cross him. And then the third verse I end up in jail, you know what I'm sayin�, [and] I end up getting killed in jail. The s**t was like real heavy and deep. To me, I don't even know what the f**k I was thinking about when I wrote this s**t. I wasn't goin through no problems. Nothing was going wrong with my life. I was just so f**king creative I was like, I need to make a song that's different. I don�t wanna make a party song. I don't wanna make a happy song. I don't wanna make a song where, you know, mothaf**kas gonna dance. I wanna make a song where the song is gonna make a mothaf**ka cry.
AllHipHop.com: So how did you feel when it actually came to fruition, in 1994, that you were being charged with murder?
Snoop Dogg: It was f**ked up cause they thought that I really made that song for the event that happened. It wasn't. It was nowhere near it. It was like, Damn, this s**t don't even got nothing to do with that. But where I was really inspired is there was an Ice Cube song ["Alive On Arrival"] where he had [reciting lyrics] Down at the best spot/ it's me and JD and they sellin more birds than a pet shop. Damn, I forgot the name of the song but he got shot in the song and that's where I got the idea for this mothaf**ka at. At the end they like, Cube! Cube! Wake up! Wake up! After he got shot he comes back, Woke back in the back of a tre`/ on my way to MLK. That s**t was harder than a mothaf**ka and I was like, Damn, that s**t is dope! That's what I was inspired by to do this, and then it turned to a real life situation and it f**ked me up. I don't think I ever made another song like that after.
["B*tches Aint Sh*t" - Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Doggy Dogg, Kurupt, Dat N***a Daz, and Jewell -The Chronic, 1992]
Snoop Dogg: That song actually happened when we did the remix for [Nutin' But a 'G' Thang] and it was off of that beat. Dre made that beat for the remix and I did a freestyle on it [reciting lyrics] Now I be mobbin like a mothaf**ka every single day, some s**t I said, and I just bust on the muthaf**ka for a long time and then Kurupt I had brought Kurupt and I said, Kurupt the Kingpin, he's killin' em slow and he was like, B***hes ain�t s**t but hoes and tricks. When he came on with that s**t like that Dre was like, "Hold on, n***a! Hold on! We gonna make that muthaf**ka a hook for this beat and ya'll gonna write some more s**t." D.O.C. wrote Dre's s**t. Daz wrote his s**t. Kurupt wrote his s**t. I did my lil' piece [and] put the hook in. Then we had Jewell sing at the end of it and it became like one of our biggest records on some humbug s**t. We wasn't even really trippin� off of it, it was some remix beat, but when Dre heard Kurupt for that one piece on the freestyle we redid it put our verses on there and what da ya know?
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about a lot of your classic records being stuck in Death Row right now?
Snoop: I would like to see all of those reels, mastering and publishing and s**t turned over to me. If Dre don't want it, I do. Suge Knight, you had your run. [You did what you knew.] Let me go on and get it. I was the main writer in the s**t. It�d be nice if I could get my mothaf**kin� portion. I never said I didn�t want mine, I just you know, left.
["Vato" featuring B-Real - Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, 2006]
AllHipHop.com: So tell me about the song "Vato" featureing B-Real of Cypress Hill. The song originally had a positive intention but there�s been a negative spin put on it. Tell me about that.
Snoop Dogg: It's a record with me expressing myself. It's a story about me almost getting jacked for my chain and me having to do some things to get out of the situation. One of my ese` homeboys had seen it and he brought it back to his homies, just saying what he had seen and the story got repeated three or four different times and whatnot. But the whole actual reality of it is it's a gangsta record. It was an opportunity for me to capitalize off of a negative situation, because Blacks and Mexicans are fighting and killing each other and I didn't know how to put that situation in a positive light other than doing a video that could have us working together, working our problems out, and just showing us on the same page moving as one team. You know, I believe people believe in what they see. If you put on TV a bunch of negative s**t about, I don't like you, you don't like me, you gonna believe that s**t. But if you see something on TV that says, "Hey these guys are working together. They're trying and making an effort," It's gonna make you say, Well s**t, if they try, I'm gonna try. We only believe what we see. So instead of putting a negative visual out there I wanted to put something positive out there.
AllHipHop.com: You said earlier that when you do your albums, you do what's missing for you. What would say is missing from the game right now? You've been in it from when this music was at its highest caliber of illness and dopeness. Where would you say it's at right now?
Snoop Dogg: I think it's watered down right now, cause they're letting everybody get in. There's a lot of gimmicks and s**t going on, but the real artists always tend to rise to the top. Real music is what it is, you know? Can't fool people too long, you know what I'm sayin�? You could force a lot of s**t on 'em and MTV 'em to death and BET 'em to death and force it on a n***a like, Yeah, this that s**t! But n***a, after a while that soft ass s**t don't last long. Real n***as want to hear real s**t.
AllHipHop.com: Lyrically, on a scale of one to 10, where would you say the game is right now?
Snoop Dogg: My game or the game as a whole?
AllHipHop.com: Well let�s ask you first. Lyrically, where would you say you're at? Or better yet, you say your son is your hardest critic, so where would he say you're at?
Snoop Dogg: Well my son would say I'm about a seven-and-a-half, but I've been in the game for about 10 years so, ya know, I don't disapprove. That's a good thing to even be in that caliber after being in the game for so long. But when I'm challenged, whenever I'm on a song with somebody else, I like to f**k them up, or f**k they song up. And it ain't personal. It's business. That's why you payin for me. You're payin for me to get on your record and make your s**t that s**t. So at the same time, when I'm doing my records I like to make my records like that. I don't want to be in the club just hearin your s**t. I want to hear my s**t. I want my s**t to stand out and not just the old s**t. I want my old s**ts to be like, Hey!, but I want that new s**t to make you do that too. I'm very competitive, but at the same time, I'm very respectful so I don't disrespect nobody. I don't never come at nobody wrong and everybody know that when they ask for Snoop Dogg, they get Snoop Dogg. So, when you ask me to be on your record you know I'm really finna try to gun you down! And it ain't towards you. It's in general to make the folks wanna like this record.
AllHipHop.com: In one word how do you define an MC?
Snoop Dogg: That word been thrown out of context since the creation of the master of ceremonies. To me, an MC is somebody that can control the crowd. That can rock the crowd. That can make a dull situation hype. That can make a sad man happy. Make a girl that never danced before dance and make somebody that can't really party loosen up and have fun. That's what a real MC is, whether they got a hit record or not. You should be able to MC regardless, like me.