Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Snoop Dogg's Canine Persona

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!


  1. I agree with what you said about the created persona, but I also believe Snoop Dogg is creating the persona of a rebel as well. The fact that he was a dog who ran into a park with a no dogs allowed sign, shows his rebellious behaviors. And funny enough, Snoop Dogg is also creating the persona of a dog, in his video by transforming into one, and his career by naming his self Snoop Dogg.

  2. I see the persona of being a dog within the music video; however, I don't find that Snoop Dogg is a violent kind of person. Obviously, this is a persona he is creating, but his personality isn't very aggressive.

    I also find that there is a lot of irony in the fact that he personifies himself as a dog considering the fact that his name is Snoop Dogg. It is very creative and it is portrayed very well in the music video.

    I also agree with Tia that there is a rebellious side of Snoop Dogg in the video, but it could also relate to Kyrsten's point about being above the authorities. He thinks he is better than the authorities so he can do whatever he wants to do rather than follow the rules.

  3. While the music video portrays Snoop Dogg transforming into a dog, the lyrics do not indicate such adaptations. Words such as "Dogg" and "Dogg pound" exist, but every time these words are used, "dogg" is spelled with the letter g twice. This suggests a reference to Snoop Dogg as he spells his name in this manner, rather than to the four legged animal, "dog".

    This song is of the braggadocio style. Snoop Dogg says, "Follow me, but don't lose your grip...and niggaz can't mess with that shit that I got cause you know it don't stop." Throughout this song, Snoop Dogg discusses his greatness, saying that no one else has the ability to keep up with him. Further boasting of his sexual expertise and toughness exists for the song's duration.

    Additionally, "Who Am I" creates a rebellious persona of Snoop Dogg, one that is above the authorities (however not in the sense of a dog in a restricted area). Snoop Dogg alludes to being on parole, but instead of staying quiet, and out of trouble, he strolls up with his crew. Further saying, "I never hesitate to put a nigga on his back." In all of these instances, Snoop Dogg is represented as rebellious, and as above the law, yet throughout the song, he retains his humanity.


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