It sounds farfetched now, but ‘Gin and Juice’ wasn’t the first single off of Snoop Dogg‘s debut album Doggystyle. That distinction belongs to ‘Who I Am (What’s My Name?)’, a stylistic G-Funk ode to George Clinton’s ‘Atomic Dog’ and Parliament’s ‘Give Up The Funk’. An anthemic chorus coupled with Snoop’s affable cool, ‘Who Am I’ served as the rapper’s proper introduction to a national audience. By the time ‘Gin and Juice’ arrived, Snoop was no longer grasping for his identity as a solo artist. He was functioning comfortably within his pocket and doubling down on that cool. And ‘Gin and Juice’ took him to another stratosphere.
With Dr. Dre spearheading the quintessential sound that dominated the West Coast in the early 90’s, the song jettisoned Snoop from protégé to a bonafide superstar. Gone were the rumors of Snoop being a potential one hit wonder. We all know what ‘Gin and Juice’ is about: mixing your favorite gin with your favorite juice and having a great time. Snoop took this idea and spun it into the greatest late night party on record. In hindsight, it feels like a song executed to perfection: the production, the skit at the beginning, the rhyming and the video (re: those hockey jerseys!). Not to mention, the entire track is a walking quotable. It’s spawned some of the most iconic one-liners in rap history:
“With so much drama in the L-B-C/It’s hard being Snoop D-O Double G”
“I got b*tches in the livin’ room gettin’ it on/And they ain’t leavin’ till six in the mornin'”
“Now we gon’ smoke an ounce to this/G’s up hoes down while you m*thaf*ckas bounce to this”
Due to Gin and Juice’s massive success, Doggystyle sold 802,858 copies in its first week, which, at the time, stood as a record for a debuting artist. As of today, ‘Gin and Juice’ stands as an unshakable pillar in rap’s pantheon of classic material. The track has also been credited with popularizing G-Funk production, which shifted the West Coast sound from N.W.A’s controversial in-your-face style to a more melodic feel. Without that transition to mainstream and the song’s success, chances are we don’t get recent new-generation classics like To Pimp A Butterfly and Still Brazy. It’s been 24 years since the song’s release, so pour up a drink today in honor of Snoop, and revisit the ‘Gin and Juice’ video below.