Twenty five years have flown by as we take a look back at one of the most epic and iconic albums from the West Coast during the golden era of hip hop.
Dogg Food was the debut album from Tha Dogg Pound – Daz Dillinger and Kurupt and it came at a time where Death Row Records were at the top of the game. The early – mid 90’s was a monumental time in hip hop from both coasts, but riding the wave on the back of some BIG releases – Dogg Food was eagerly awaited by the hip hop faithful. But, wait they would have to as the album suffered a few missteps along the way to finally being released on October 31, 1995.
The album was largely produced by Daz himself, with some assistance from key West Coast peeps like Soopafly, DJ Pooh, DJ Quik while the uber-famous Dr Dre mixed the entire project. This was the first step out of Dre’s shadow for Daz who has also been linked to (uncredited) work on The Chronic. It was a 17 track epic, clocking in at over 70 minutes (largely unheard of in these times) and features Snoop Doggy Dogg, Nate Dogg, Tray Dee, Lady of Rage etc. Dogg Food would achieve 2 x platinum status selling 2.5mil copies.
Enough about the album itself though, it’s time to really deep dive and dust off this West Coast classic and reminisce about one of the more iconic hip hop albums of the past 25 years.
‘New York, New York‘ was one of two lead singles from the album. Peep the video above for a dope trip down memory lane. If the postponement of the album release due to lawsuits and concerns regarding the lyrical content of Dogg Food wasn’t enough, the shooting (no injuries sustained) that occurred while filming ‘New York, New York’ just added fuel to the fire. Stories differ, but Snoop and Kurupt maintain Biggie had something to do with it and that the kicking over of New York’s buildings in the clip were retaliation for that. Either way, without all the notoriety surrounding it – what a classic west coast, G funk, hip hop track.
Dogg Food served as a coming out party for both Kurupt and Daz. The former had showcased his lyrical ability on The Chronic and Doggystyle as a featured emcee, but this album really allowed him to show just how elite his mic skills were. Daz on the other hand, commanded less attention on the mic (which worked really well for the dynamic of the duo and the album) but really took the west coast sound to the next stratosphere with his boot rattling bass and synth filled funk.
Revisiting this album some 25 years later, and it’s clear that the DPG were ahead of their time. While they didn’t achieve the same level of commercial success, this certainly wasn’t due to a lack of talent. The duo should be mentioned as one of the best of all time and certainly held their own against the heavyweights from both coasts during the ‘golden era’. If anything, their ‘prime’ was never realised due to the beef between 2Pac & Biggie – or at the very least, because these two titanic rap icons were everywhere, and the East Coast boom bap was making a comeback.
For me though, this album is more than just an iconic, dope hip hop release. It was a staple in the collection and a soundtrack to my youth. It was bumping in the CD player no matter what I was doing – driving, smoking, playing basketball and is still a thoroughly enjoyable listen now. It wasn’t earth shattering in it’s content, but it was a balanced celebration of beats, rhymes and life in the 90’s.