Since his emergence in 1992, Snoop Dogg (born Calvin Broadus, Jr, on October 20, 1971) has become one of the most recognizable personalities in both hip-hop and the wider popular culture. With his innate ability to reinvent himself and remain creatively cutting-edge, “Uncle Snoop’s” longevity is a testament to his skill as a lyricist, his cultural influence and his musicianship. His discography spans multiple genres, including R&B, soul, rock, reggae and even gospel. As the best Snoop Dogg songs reveal, his artistry has no bounds.
20: “Young, Wild And Free” (featuring Wiz Khalifa and Bruno Mars)
Snoop Dogg’s longevity is a rarity in hip-hop’s youth-driven culture. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Snoop has transcended time by embracing the artists of the next generation – as is evident in his collaborations with Wiz Khalifa. On “Young, Wild And Free,” Snoop, Wiz, and Bruno Mars come together for the first single from the Mac And Devin Go To High School soundtrack – though it almost never saw the light of day. Bruno got a hold of the demo, sent it to Snoop and Wiz, and the rest is history. The track peaked at No.7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Song.
19: “Lay Low” (featuring Master P, Nate Dogg, Butch Cassidy and The Eastsidaz)
Produced by Dr. Dre, “Lay Low,” from Tha Last Meal, Snoop’s fifth album and final project with No Limit Records, is an essential West Coast cut. Nate Dogg croons on one of his best hooks, with Master P, Butch Cassidy and The Eastsidaz all contributing to one of the best Snoop Dogg songs as a No Limit soldier. The success of ‘Lay Low’ was a fitting end to Snoop’s productive tenure at the label.
18: “Life Of Da Party”
“Life Of Da Party” is another West Coast anthem that had the clubs on fire all over the country. As the third single from Snoop’s ninth solo album, Ego Trippin’, it featured Too $hort and Mistah FAB, and the electro-funk production of Scoop DeVille.
17: “Snoop Dogg (What’s My Name Part 2)”
“What’s My Name Part 2” is often overlooked in the rapper’s expansive canon, but earns its place among the best Snoop Dogg songs. With producer Timbaland, who was smoking-hot at the time, bringing the funk, “What’s My Name Part 2” became summer a jam of the year 2000. Accompanied by another definitive visual, Snoop made his arrival into the new millennium with a certified banger.
16: “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None)” (featuring Warren G, Nanci Fletcher, Nate Dogg and Kurupt)
A deep cut from Snoop’s debut album, Doggystyle, “Aint No Fun” is a West Coast classic that embodied the California sound and style. Overtly sexual in its orientation, the track is wild and raw, capturing the essence of a young, Death Row-era Snoop Doggy Dogg.
Snoop Dogg has mastered the fine art of covering classic hip-hop songs: honoring the original, he incorporates his own unique style, breathing new life into the song. Snoop’s cover of Biz Markie’s “Vapors” elicits his best performance on his sophomore album, Tha Doggfather, as he seamlessly weaves together the narratives of Daz, Nate Dogg and Warren G. By covering this classic, Snoop not only proved his lyrical ability but his deep appreciation and knowledge of hip-hop culture.
14: “Sexual Eruption”
You can always count on Snoop to go left when everyone else is going right. Uncle Snoop was never afraid to experiment with different sounds and genres, and this is apparent in his hit “Sexual Eruption” (later censored to “Sensual Seduction”). The track featured Snoop doing his best T-Pain impression as he sung and rapped in full Auto-Tune. As the first single from Ego Trippin’, produced by Shawty Redd, its retro feel and vibe was heavily influenced by the stylings of the late Roger Troutman (of Zapp Band). “Sexual Eruption” showcased Snoop breaking genre barriers and expanding the notion of the music MCs could create.
13: “Doggy Dogg World” (featuring Tha Dogg Pound, Nanci Fletcher and The Dramatics)
Anyone familiar with the best Snoop Dogg songs would know of love for classic R&B and soul; his melodic lyricism in infused with black-music history. Only Snoop could pull off a posse cut with Tha Dogg Pound, the fabulous Dramatics and vocalist Nanci Fletcher. “Doggy Dogg World” boasted one of the best videos of 90s hip-hop with its portrayal of a 70s Blaxploitation film featuring Pam Grier, Fred “The Hammer” Williamson, Antonio “Huggy” Fargas and Ron “Super Fly” O’Neal, among others. The star-studded visual proved that “Doggy Dogg World” marked the culmination of Snoop Dogg as a superstar.
12: “Still A G Thang”
By the time it came to recording his third album, Snoop faced uncertainty in his career. 2Pac had been killed, Dr. Dre left Death Row, Suge Knight was indicted for racketeering and Snoop needed a transformation. He made the decision to join the No Limit label with Master P, who was dominating the rap game. Smoothly gliding over the production work of Beats By The Pound, Snoop’s vocals on “Still A G Thang” proved that he could make hits outside the shadow of Dre and Death Row. He was still a force to be reckoned with.
11: “Lodi Dodi” (featuring Nancy Fletcher)
Over the G-Funk production of Dr. Dre, Snoop dropped the West Coast version of “Lodi Dodi.” Paying tribute to one of his greatest influences, Slick Rick, Snoop’s ‘Lodi Dodi’ is arguably one of the best covers in hip-hop history. Adding some West Coast style over a New York hip-hop standard, the result was a classic and one of the best Snoop Dogg songs of his entire career. A brilliant remake of the 1985 classic, it made both Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh proud.
10: “The Shiznit”
Plain and simple, “The Shiznit” is West Coast riding music, and proof that Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre were one the best MC/producer duos in hip-hop history. Dre’s production is tailor-made for Snoop’s melodic flow and descriptive lyrics. Without a doubt, “The Shiznit” is a hip-hop classic.
9: “B__ch Please” (Featuring Xzibit and Nate Dogg)
As both Snoop and Dre began to find success on their own, they reunited on “B__ch Please,” from Snoop’s fourth album, Top Dogg, and the result was another gem. With a stellar guest verse from Xzibit, “B__ch Please” proved that the organic chemistry between Snoop and Dre was still alive and well. Without question, it’s one of the best Snoop Dogg songs to emerge from his No Limit tenure. Once again, Nate Dogg graced the track with his soulful vocals, just like old times.
8: “The Next Episode” (Dr. Dre, featuring Snoop Dogg)
On the closing line of “Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang,” Snoop’s says, “So just chill ’til the next episode,” hinting that a sequel would follow. In 1999, Snoop made good on his promise and dropped “The Next Episode” with Dr. Dre from the latter’s 2001 album. Accompanied by Kurupt and the late Nate Dogg, who provides an unforgettable bridge, “The Next Episode” was a bona fide West Coast reunion. Peaking at No.23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sampling David Axelrod and David McCallum’s ‘The Edge,” ‘The Next Episode” is a stand-out cut, an extraordinary follow-up by one of hip-hop’s greatest duos.
7: “Murder Was The Case”
After becoming the biggest rapper in the world, Snoop’s life began to imitate his art: while his hits sat on top of the charts, the man himself was sitting on trial for murder. A timeless classic with some of Dre’s best production, “Murder Was The Case” was a semi-autobiographical account of Snoop’s real-life experiences: a song about a gangsta that was given a decision to live his life for the better or continue down the wrong path. A transformative moment in both the life and career of Snoop Dogg.
6: “Beautiful” (featuring Pharrell)
The creative chemistry between Snoop Dogg and Pharrell was undeniable on “Beautiful,” a summer classic in 2003. As one of the greatest love songs in all hip-hop, “Beautiful” features The Neptunes at their best, while Snoop rises to the occasion, delivering one his finest performances. Peaking at No.6 on the Billboard Hot 100, and featuring additional vocals from the legendary Charlie Wilson, “Beautiful” remains one of the best Snoop Dogg songs of the 00s.
5: “Deep Cover” (Dr. Dre, featuring Snoop Dogg)
Not many artists can say that their first song is a classic. With one of the most memorable debut performances in hip-hop, Snoop Dogg introduced himself to world as Dr. Dre’s protégé on “Deep Cover.” Released in October 1993, Snoop’s first record was a single from the soundtrack for the 1992 crime thriller of the same time. The crime narrative was also Dre’s first single after his very public breakup with NWA and his feud with Eazy-E. Though somewhat timid in the video, on record Snoop effortlessly flowed over Dre’s hard-hitting production, making his grand entrance into the hip-hop mainstream. “Deep Cover” was so influential that it was remade several years later by Big Pun and Fat Joe. Another timeless classic from Uncle Snoop.
4: “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?”
Doggystyle was one of the most highly anticipated debut albums in music history. After his standout contributions on The Chronic, the expectations of a Snoop Dogg solo album were through the roof. When Doggystyle was released, he didn’t disappoint. The first single, “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?,” interpolating George Clinton’s ”Atomic Dog”, was the catalyst that pushed Doggystyle to sell over 800,000 records in his first week of release. Snoop’s flow and Dre’s production was the perfect match to launch Snoop as hip-hop’s newest star.
3: “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (featuring Pharrell)
Pharrell’s Midas touch was on full display with one of the best Snoop Dogg songs of the 00s: “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” Released as the lead single from the R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece album, it remains Snoop’s biggest hit to date and his first No.1 on the Billboard 100. The Neptunes’ minimalist production was the perfect sonic landscape for Snoop’s laidback delivery, and the track boasted one of the catchiest hooks ever, making it a ubiquitous hit in 2004. Recognizing the enormity of the track, “Drop It Like It’s Hot” was named the most popular Rap Song of the decade by Billboard.
2: “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” (Dr. Dre, featuring Snoop Dogg)
“One, two, three and to the fo’/Snoop Doggy Dogg and Dr. Dre is at the do’…” arguably one of the most well-known intros in music history. As the first single from Dr. Dre’s classic The Chronic, ‘Nuthin’ But A “G” Thang’ personifies 90s West Coast G-Funk. While Dr. Dre was already a star, the track catapulted Snoop Doggy Dog (as he was then known) into superstardom. Sampling “I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You” by Leon Haywood, the song would mark Snoop’s first entrance into the Billboard Top 10 and was eventually selected by the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as one of the 500 songs that shaped music. Without question, “Nuthin’ But A “G” Thing” captures Snoop and Dre at their best.
1: “Gin and Juice”
“Gin and Juice” is the quintessential Snoop Dogg song. As the second single from Doggystyle, it’s his official calling card. Exploring the theme of an impromptu house party over Dr Dre’s sample of “I Get Lifted” by KC And The Sunshine Band, “Gin And Juice” was not only one of the best Snoop Dogg songs, it gave liquor connoisseurs a popular cocktail of choice while displaying Snoop’s extraordinary storytelling skills as he narrates life in the LBC. With another memorable visual and catchy hook that became a part of the pop culture lexicon, “Gin And Juice” peaked at No.8 on the Billboard 100.
Best Of The Rest
Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg – California Gurls
Snoop Dogg has never had much trouble adding a bit of flavor to straight-ahead pop music, and this feature on Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” is no exception.
Snoop Lion feat. Collie Buddz – Smoke the Weed
Snoop Dogg, the Long Beach rapper, turned into Snoop Lion, the reggae toaster, in the early 2010s. This song, a collaboration with Collie Buddz, is one of the highlights of his short time embedded in the reggae scene.
7 Days of Funk – Let It Go
The funk-focused collaboration between Dam-Funk and Snoopzilla (as he was known at the time) pays tribute to the sound of Los Angeles before gangsta rap took hold.
Snoop Dogg – I Wanna Rock
Paying tribute to the iconic rap track “It Takes Two,” this song is one of the finest cuts from Snoop’s 1999 Malice N Wonderland.
Snoop Dogg feat. Xzibit – Bitch Please
Snoop, of course, is well-known for his work on Death Row Records, but he had plenty of albums on other record labels. In the late 90s, he hooked up with No Limit for three albums. This song, taken from No Limit Top Dogg, was one of the best from this period.
Article originally published on uDiscoverMusic.com.