Many hip-hop artists use personas to express the often darker and more destructive sides of themselves in their music. In the song “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?,” Snoop Dogg takes on a violent and aggressive persona. This persona is evident in lines such as, “Cuz I never hesitate to put a nigga on his back,” where Snoop Dogg uses his persona to present himself as fierce and ruthless. This persona can also be seen in much of the profanity and violence of the second verse:
Like I said, niggaz can’t fuck with this
And niggaz can’t fuck with that
Shit that I drop cuz ya know it don’t stop
Mr. One Eight Seven on a mother fuckin cop
Tic toc never the glock just some nuts and a cock
Robbin mutherfuckers then I kill dem blood claats
Many rappers use personas in their lyrics, but what stood out to me about Snoop Dogg’s persona in this song is how he depicts it in his music video. In the music video, Snoop Dogg and his friends transform into dogs. This wordplay with the name “Snoop Dogg” not only goes along with the lyrics of the song but also provides a visual representation of Snoop Dogg’s persona. Snoop Dogg transforms into a Doberman Pinscher at the beginning of the video because Dobermans are considered strong and masculine dogs, thus representing Snoop Dogg’s aggressive persona. Throughout the video, Snoop Dogg’s canine persona is seen attacking a man and destroying his yard and entering a park where dogs aren’t allowed in order to ruin a picnic. These behaviors again demonstrate the aggressive demeanor of Snoop Dogg’s persona, meanwhile representing the human behaviors of stealing and killing described in the lyrics of the song. There are also various scenes in the video where the dog catchers run after Snoop Dogg but ultimately fail to catch him. This may represent how Snoop Dogg can escape from the cops and how he considers himself to be above the authorities.
Overall, I thought this was a unique representation of persona in hip-hop. The video is also really entertaining. Watch it and let me know what you think!