Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound : From Dogg Food To Doggystyle… Urban legend #2…
I can remember listening to Dr. Dre’s – The Chronic and Snoop Dogg’s – Doggystyle when they were first released and I was blown away. Truly, just stunned at how captivating they were. These were brutal skills on display, and despite all the controversy, it was and still is a reflection of the dreams or lack thereof…and realities of inner city minorities in overcrowded cities of the US. The E Funk or aptly rebranded West Coast G Funk Era introduced a whole new generation to the melodies and beats, to the pioneering legacy of the artist George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic and many others who had come before. The main difference, besides sounding timeless, was the resulting crossover to white and latino audiences first in the US and then around the world.
One need not look far to find groups like N.W.A and Pubic Enemy, rappers such as Ice T, and farther back to Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, Dj Cool Herc, and Africa Bambaataa. How much influence they had on the genre as a whole is undisputed but as to their individual influences on the artists who were at that time on Death Row Records is unclear. With that said all the artists mentioned here set in place the ground work for all of the hip hop and a lot of the popular culture that we see today.
When I was living in San Diego, San Francisco, or traveling to Los Angeles or the world touring, I spent a lot of time with friends in San Clemente and San Pedro. I cannot remember which town I heard the urban Legend in, and at the time did not pay much attention to it but I think it was San Pedro. The story went that during the recording of Tha Dogg Pound’s 1995 multi platinum selling album Dogg Food on Death Row Records “dog whistles” were used in some of the tracks. Sounds silly I know, and I’m still not sure I believe it to this day but we all had a laugh at the time at the ramifications of doing such a thing. What would that be? Obviously nothing major, except for the fact if you had dogs in your house going bonkers to the music whenever it was played.
When I first heard this about the album Dogg Food, it actually had not been released yet and I remember the story being told to a group of friends in the context of heavy anticipation for the record. Anyway when it was released I remember walking down to Tower Records in San Diego and brought it back to my place and put it in the player and began to groove…I loved it right out the gate. As I was listening to it very loud something strange happened as I was lying on my bed I noticed that there was a lot of dog barking coming through the music. At first I thought it was random samples on the album but with further listening I noticed that they were not swinging to the beat or completely out of time with the music.
I remember I got up of the bed and walked over to one of the windows in my bedroom and opened it. I loved that window because right outside set against the backdrop of houses and the setting sun were a few palm, blood orange, and kumquat trees. Breaking the silence was all the neighborhood dogs going absolutely nuts with their aim right at the window I was standing in. In that moment the rumor about dog whistles in the music came right back to mind. It was not just two or three dogs but I imagine as much as twenty that I could directly see and more barking in the distance. Shit was this real? So my first instinct was to stop the music and see what happens. Right after I shut off the music the barking began to stop and I watched for about five minutes to see the dogs reaction. It was obvious they went back to doing whatever they were doing before. After that five or so minutes, I turned the music back on full blast and within five seconds the dogs were losing it again. It’s like they had gone rabid, I could not believe it but there it was right before my eyes.
So I turned the music on and off several times and the same thing happened. I remembered also hearing that Snoop Dogg had a lot of Pit Bulls at his place so I wondered if he ever had experienced this. If “the dog whistle” rumor was true he had to know about it as he is featured on the album. In my opinion it would be a funny gag to pull to have the dog whistles on the tracks but I also know that in the style of all the West Coast Death Row albums there are a lot of crazy sound effects with lots of high and low transients on the recordings that are not supposed to be within the realm of human hearing range. Really that is what I still attribute it to, but who knows. I would think Snoop, Daz, or Kurrupt…would definitely know. Whether they would tell us is another story…having an urban legend about someone probably would not be a good idea to clear up if it was not negative, as it would continue to contribute to the myth about the music and the artists as well.
So if I ever find out I will post it here. Try it out for yourself but use the CD because if you use a compressed format or someplace like youtube you will not be getting the same sound that I had and furthermore as we know compressed formats remove a lot of the sounds that we ‘supposedly’ cannot hear. No need for me to go into a diatribe about that as you all know how I feel about lossless formats. Cheers!
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