- Artist: Snoop Dogg & Pharell Williams
- Album: Rhythm & Gangsta: The Masterpiece
- Release: 2004
- Label: Geffen
- Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap
Mr. Calvin Broadus, or Snoop Doggy Dogg as he was first known, got his start by guest-starring on Dr. Dre's late-1992 hit "Nuthin' But A G-Thang", and put out his first solo album, Doggystyle, the following year. Snoop Dogg, as he later shortened his name to, remained active ever since, so with such a long career, there's bound to be a point where you think he "jumped the shark". For me, that would be 2007's "Sensual Seduction"; the song has him singing (with Auto-Tune), and the video is this campy throwback to the 1970s and/or 80s. It may not have been his worst work, but everything he's done after that never seemed to catch on - in a good way, at least. Once guest-star rappers came back in vogue over the past couple of years, he's collabbed with Katy Perry and Big Time Rush. That's right; a boy band from a kid's/tween's TV show. But that's a crisis for another day. In the meantime, here's a look at the song which first got me into him: 2004's "Drop It Like It's Hot".
Now, in "traditional" rap, lyrics tend to encompass up to four thematic elements: material wealth, female pleasure (gender-swapped as necessary), partying, and gang violence. At least these days, you'll have to venture quite a while out of the mainstream before encountering other topics, primarily protesting racial profiling of African-Americans or poverty in their ghettos.
NB: This song comes in many varieties: uncensored, clean, super clean, instrumental, a capella, and I think there's some more. The lyric samples below are censored according to the regular clean version, whereas the music video (watch above) uses the super clean version. Pay attention how much gets cut out from the super clean version - even I think it's insane.
So what does dropping it like it's hot entail? Let's analyse the chorus:
When the pimp's in the crib ma, drop it like it's hot
Drop it like it's hot, drop it like it's hot
Traditionally, to drop it like it's hot involves the person, usually a female with a well-endowed caboose, to bounce up and down on her haunches whilst vigorously shaking said booty. The context of this line could qualify it for either the "party" and/or "babes" mode.
When the pigs try to get at ya, park it like it's hot
Park it like it's hot, park it like it's hot
Oops, guess this doesn't have to do with the above. Still, Snoop Dogg's advising you to peacefully pull your car over in the event you get followed by the police? It's not like rappers to hand out useful advice in their songs, so thanks a lot!
And if a ??? get a attitude, pop it like it's hot
Pop it like it's hot, pop it like it's hot
Yeah, in case you haven't learned by now, some rappers advocate violence as a first response to so-called "haters". Please don't act like it's a new thing, especially since by 2004 it had long since gone out of style. All the same, I pray to God and/or Sabrina that they're just being poseurs about the whole thing.
With that out of the way, we'll start off the first verse with the switch set to "stuff". The first verse is done by Pharell Williams, one half of The Neptunes, the duo who produced the track. That's right: a producer doing guest vocals on a song before it was popular. David Guetta, you'd better get on this wagon fast. Now, The Neptunes' production style is defined by minimalism (although thankfully not nearly as minimalistic as we'd get with snap music, that bane of my existence), as evidenced on some of their other hits: "Rock Your Body" by Justin Timberlake, "Milkshake" by Kelis, and "Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani. And before you ask, they did co-write that song.
I'm a nice dude, with some nice dreams
See these ice cubes, see these Ice Creams
Apparently, Ice Cream is also a brand of shoes. ...Which get blurred out in the music video. It's product placement without the product!
Cheat on your man, that's how you get ahizzead [ahead]
I very much doubt that willfully committing infidelity against your married partner will improve your social and/or financial status, at least in the long run.
Killer with the beat, I know killers in the street
Wit the steel that'll make you feel like chinchilla in the heat
I also doubt that getting shot by a gunman would induce the sensation akin to a sexually-charged chinchilla. Seriously, don't take any advice from this guy. But why would he want to have you killed?
So don't try to run up in my ear
Talkin' all that raspy ??? trying to ask me ???
Matter [of] fact, you should take four
And think before you ??? with little Skateboard P
Further cementing my distrust of Pharell, or "Skateboard P" as he nicknames himself, he apparently has a hair-trigger temper when it comes to annoying people.
The second verse of the song, and the first one by Snoop Dogg, should teach you everything you need to know about the guy
I'm a gangsta, but y'all knew that
And in case you don't, here's Snoop Dogg lesson #1: he got his start in the early days of gangsta rap, and hasn't changed much since (again, at least until "Sensual Seduction", and even his albums since then have been true to form).
I cut so much you thought I was a DJ
two, whippy whippy, one, yep, three
S-N double O-P, D-O double G
Snoop Dogg lesson #2: he likes to spell his own name in his songs. Now with record-scratch sound effects for extra fun!
I can't fake it, just break it, now when I take it
See I specialise in making all the girls get naked
Shifting over to babes, I see.
So don't change the dizzle, turn it up a little
I got a living room full of fine dime brizzles
Waiting on the bizzle, the dizzle and the shizzle
G's to the bizzack, now ladies here we gizzo
Snoop Dogg lesson #3: his other trademark is adding the syllable "iz" in the middle of words. I have to admit this part of the song always makes me crack a smile, seeing as how there's so much of it.
Oh you got a gun so you wanna pop back
AK-47, now ??? stop that
Meanwhile, in the third verse, we are exposed to the fourth and final phase of rap, gang warfare. And whereas Pharell only has you lynched for annyoing him, the "crime" that'll get you on Snoop Dogg's blacklist is... displaying a gun in public. I'm starting to feel a lot safer around Pharell all of a sudden. Although, if you've got the super clean version, this line comes out to:
Oh you got a ??? so you wanna ??? back
???????, now ??? stop that
Which sounds seriously broken in action.
Must I remind you I'm only here to twist you
Pistol whip you, dip you then flip you
Then dance to this mother??? music we crip to
Woah! Snoop just downshifted from "gang" to "party" mode so suddenly I got whiplash!
"Drop It Like It's Hot" does this and so much more, showcasing pretty much everything you need to know about Snoop Dogg and gangsta rap in general. In fact, I'd recommend this song should you ever need to pick a track for a "Snoop Dogg 101" course or something. ...That said, this is the same kind of thing he's been doing for over ten years at the time, so again, don't act like this is some groundbreaking new concept.
Lyrics: 3 stars out of 5
Music: 2 stars out of 5
Production: 3 stars out of 5
The Call: 3 stars out of 5 (C)
Next Episode: Whoopdee-doo, I'm reviewing another rap song.