Deep Cover
by Dr. Dre (featuring Snoop Dogg)

Album: Deep Cover soundtrack (1992)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the theme song to the movie Deep Cover, which stars Laurence Fishburne as a cop who goes undercover to infiltrate a drug cartel. The song is based on the movie, from the perspective of the bad guys, out to do their business and blow away anyone who tries to stop them, including an undercover cop.
  • This was Dr. Dre's first release after the breakup of his group N.W.A. Issued on Epic Records, it was part of the Deep Cover soundtrack, which also includes "Mr. Loverman" by Shabba Ranks. Around this time, Dre was setting up his Death Row record label, which he used to release his first solo album, The Chronic, later in 1992.
  • "Deep Cover" was the first released song to feature Snoop Dogg (known at the time as Snoop Doggy Dogg); it was also his first appearance in a music video.

    Gangsta rap was dominated by loud, aggressive rappers, but Snoop had a surprisingly mellow flow and didn't rely on volume to get his point across. His style is what got the attention of Dr. Dre, who signed him to Death Row and introduced him on this track. Snoop's star turn was on The Chronic, where he was on several tracks, including the hit "Nuthin' But A G Thang." Snoop's first solo album, Doggystyle, was one of the most widely anticipated releases of the '90s. Produced by Dr. Dre, it debuted at #1 when it was issued in 1993.
  • Dr. Dre produced the track and wrote it along with Snoop. According to Snoop (as told to Michael Rapaport), Dre hated the song and didn't want to perform it.
  • Snoop's hook in the chorus is "'Cause it's 1-8-7 on a undercover cop." "187" is California police code for murder, so he's talking about killing an undercover cop. He referenced it in his solo hit "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)" when he called himself "Mr. 1-8-7 on a motherf--king cop."
  • This was released in April 1992, around the same time Ice-T's hardcore band Body Count released "Cop Killer," a song that generated tremendous controversy when it was condemned by police groups. "Deep Cover" has the same subject matter but didn't face the same scrutiny because it was written for a movie. This brings up an interesting point: Ice-T and Snoop Dogg were both taking on the voice of characters in the songs - neither was personally going to kill a police officer. So why are rap songs assumed to be dangerously provocative while movies are considered entertainment? Snoop and Ice-T both spent a lot of time making this case.

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