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Meaning of the song ‘Who Am I ?’ by ‘Snoop Dogg’

Released: 1993At its core, this song is a boastful acknowledgment of Snoop’s journey from the depths of the streets in Long Beach, California to the heady heights of hip-hop stardom, laced with a fierce proclamation of his undying connection to his roots. There are nods to gang life, his prowess in the rap game, and his distinct swagger, all wrapped up in the iconic Snoop Dogg lyrical style.

Starting from the first verse, “From the depths of the sea, back to the block / Snoop Doggy Dogg, funky as the…The D.O.C”, Snoop declares his emergence from the harsh reality of the streets, hinting at his past involvement in illicit activities with his line about serving ‘caine. But don’t get it twisted, he ain’t shy about his early days, he wears it like a badge of honor. Moving on, “Nine-trizzay’s the yizzear for me to fuck up shit”, Snoop is referring to 1993, the year of the song release, making it clear his intention to take over the rap scene.

When he says, “I got five on the 20 sack”, he’s talking about going halves on a $20 packet of weed, hinting at the recreational drug use common in hip-hop culture. He dives into gangsta vibes with “Cause I never hesitate to put a nigga on his back”, asserting his tough-guy status. Snoop is all about the unapologetic honesty and braggadocious swagger, maintaining his realness in his transition from the streets to the studio. The refrain of “What’s my motherfuckin’ name?” is not just a signature catchphrase, but a display of his newly cemented status in hip-hop.

The second verse opens with “It’s the bow to the wow, creepin’ and crawlin'”, painting a vivid image of his smooth but assertive style. His collaboration with Dr. Dre is referenced, giving merit to the legendary team that revolutionized the industry. Snoop then calls himself “Mr. 1-8-7 on a motherfuckin’ cop”, using the police code ‘187’ for murder, metaphorically ‘killing’ the competition with his lyrics. The dialogue between ‘who?’, ‘what?’ and ‘Dogg’, serves to reinforce his audacious persona.

The third verse, “just throw your hands in the motherfuckin’ air / And wave the motherfuckers like ya just don’t care”, is a timeless crowd call-to-action, a bid for unity and hype in a concert setting. He boastfully states “roll up the dank, and pour the drank”, indulging in cannabis and alcohol, while warning his listeners to “watch your step”, asserting his dominance in the music scene. Snoop’s growth and success are highlighted in “My bank roll’s on swoll”, and “My shit’s on hit, legit”, showing his climb from the streets to stardom.

The line “With The Dogg Pound right behind me / And up in yo’ bitch, is where ya might find me”, he’s repping his crew, The Dogg Pound, and not so subtly reminding us of his popularity with the ladies. With the line “He is I and I am him, slim with the tilted brim”, he establishes his unique identity as a stylish and unabashed character in the rap game.

“Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” is a cornerstone of Snoop Dogg’s career; an ode to the streets that raised him, a high-five to the life that awaited him and a toast to the ‘Dogg’ that made him. Snoop’s iconic delivery, coupled with his raw honesty and unassailable swagger, ensured his name is forever synonymous with hip-hop royalty.

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