Nuthin' but a "G" Thang: The Culture and Commerce of Gangsta Rap

By Eithne Quinn | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7 It’s a Doggy-Dogg World
THE G-FUNK ERA AND THE POST-SOUL FAMILY

IN 1993 Snoop Dogg, the rising star of Dr. Dre and Marian “Suge” Knight’s new Death Row Records label, released his debut, Doggystyle.1 The album rocked the industry, selling more copies in its opening week than the rest of the top five combined—the highest number ever for a debut album and the second highest for any album since the computerized system of monitoring sales was introduced in early 1991.2Doggystyle’s first single, “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” was released with an acclaimed video directed by rap impresario Fab Five Freddy, becoming MTV’s top requested clip for several weeks. Set in Snoop’s East Long Beach hood (“the LBC”), it shows the young rapper standing as a kind of messianic figure on the roof of the area’s only record store, VIP, with a crowd of locals gathered beneath him. In other crosscut shots, Snoop and his “doggs” run through an arid-looking Martin Luther King Jr. Park, his frequent adolescent hangout. Opening and closing the clip are comic family scenes: “teenager” Snoop escapes admonishment from his girlfriend’s parents by spectacularly morphing into a doberman pinscher to make a quick exit from her bedroom. The phenomenal success of this debut album, single, and video can be explained in part by Snoop’s undoubted

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