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The Story of Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot"

The Story of Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot"

Who: Snoop Dogg f. Pharrell

What: “Drop It Like It’s Hot” 

When (was it released): 2004

Where (was it featured): Snoop Dogg’s R&B (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece album

Why (did the song happen): After a successful run with Mater P’s No Limit Records in the late 1990s, Snoop Dogg stepped out on his own as one of rap’s most in-demand talents. The Long Beach rapper teamed with The Neptunes for two singles from his 2002 LP, Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$. “From Tha Chuuuch To Da Palace” was a charged tune that made waves, but it was the smash single “Beautiful” that opened up new lanes for Snoop Dogg. With pro-female lyrics, a vibrant beat, and a colorful video filmed in Brazil, Snoop enjoyed the biggest radio hit of his career. He also showed that he was more than just a gangster rapper. Now, Snoop Dogg was an artist who could crossover without selling out. For his next project, Snoop Dogg signed to The Neptunes’ Star Trak Entertainment and industry juggernaut Geffen Records. 

How (it became iconic): R&B (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece features Snoop Dogg’s work with a number of producers, including Lil Jon, Hi-Tek, and the Alchemist. But it was an outside the box collaboration with The Neptunes that made the album a sensation. Built off of a skeletal sound collage that included tongue clicks, intermittent keyboards, and a low-key drum track, “Drop It Like It’s Hot” is one of the most distinctive-sounding songs in rap history. After Snoop leads with the chorus, Pharrell drops a hardcore verse that belies his typically good-natured and all-inclusive persona. Rather, Pharrell boasts of his connection with killers, delivers unethical advice for women, and flaunts his status as a tough guy. For his part, Snoop uses the atypical beat to drop gangster rhymes highlighted by tough-talk and some izzle-highlighted wordplay. It’s an unusual combination on many levels, but it worked, showing that Snoop Dogg’s collaborations with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo were among the most exciting in rap. The “Drop It Like It’s Hot” black-and-white video was similarly striking in its simplicity, with Snoop Dogg and Pharrell performing in a white room that occasionally gets accented by everything from a car to Hugo. In a career highlighted by some of rap’s most memorable material, Snoop Dogg delivered one of his biggest and most unconventional hits with “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” Expect the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show performance to include a rendition of this smash.

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