Who Am I? (What's My Name?)

Album: Doggystyle (1993)
Charted: 20 8
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  • Snoop Doggy Dogg, who later truncated his name to Snoop Dogg, introduces himself in "Who Am I? (What's My Name?)," his first single as a lead artist. We learn where he's from (Long Beach), who he hangs with (Dr. Dre), and what he's into (smoking weed, making money).

    Most of us already knew about Snoop, though, because he shows up all over The Chronic, Dr. Dre's G-funk masterstroke, released the previous year. Snoop raps on all three Chronic singles - "Nuthin' But A G Thang," "Dre Day," and "Let Me Ride" - and also appears in the videos.
  • When this song was released in October 1993, Snoop was up on murder charges from the shooting of a rival gang member in a Los Angeles park just two months earlier. His bodyguard pulled the trigger, but Snoop was driving the Jeep he was standing in to fire the shot. The incident bumped Snoop up in the headlines and drove even more demand for the song and his debut album, Doggystyle, which went straight to #1 when it was released in November.

    In the song, Snoop makes it clear he's armed and dangerous, which certainly didn't help his court case, but he had a not-so-secret weapon: lawyer Johnnie Cochran, who was working the O.J. Simpson case at the same time. As with his O.J. defense, Cochran showed that the LAPD mishandled evidence, and was able to convince the jury that Snoop and his bodyguard acted in self-defense. When the case finally came to an end in February 1996, both were found innocent.
  • The song borrows elements from George Clinton's seminal funk track "Atomic Dog," with Snoop turning the "A-tom-ic Dog" chorus into "Snoop Dog-gy Dog."

    Snoop also lifts the "Bow, wow, wow, yippy-yo, yippy-yay" bit from "Atomic Dog," something he did on Dr. Dre's track "Dre Day" from The Chronic.
  • In a Pandora Stories feature, Snoop talked about how this song came together. "Me and Dr. Dre used to hang out together every day," he said. "I would ride with him every day in his Benz. Wherever I was staying, he would pick me up and we would go on a rendezvous, and then from the rendezvous we would end up in the studio. That ride from the rendezvous to the studio was usually me in the passenger's seat with a cassette tape controlling the music. One day George Clinton is on, 'Atomic Dog,' and when they get to the 'A-tomic Dawwwwg,' I started singing, 'Snoop Doggy Dogg.' I said, 'We're recording that as soon as we get to the studio.'"

    "My lyrics were like an MC," he added. "I was trying to be a rapper on that song, not a gangsta, because I was trying to show style and cadence."
  • Hip-hop tastemaker Fab 5 Freddy directed the music video, which finds Snoop morphing into a doberman to escape the angry father of the girl he's with.


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