Foreign Gists

How ‘Atomic Dog’ helped Snoop Dogg


Snoop Dogg is a one-off and undoubtedly also one of hip-hop’s most beloved characters. Rising to prominence by the side of Tupac Shakur and Dr Dre on Death Row Records, the rapper (real name Calvin Broadus) is loved for his unique tone, funky West Coast style and laidback delivery that leaves his listeners feeling relaxed. Known as music’s marijuana maestro, Snoop is definitely one of the greats. 

Broadus made his first musical impact in 1993 when he released his debut album Doggystyle. Produced executively by Dr Dre, Doggystyle was met with critical acclaim upon its release and, with The Chronic, is still considered one of the integral albums of G-funk.

Doggystyle birthed many classic hip-hop tracks, including the iconic ‘Gin and Juice’. However, one of the most renowned cuts from the album is ‘Who Am I (What’s My Name?)’. This number was the world’s formal introduction to Snoop Dogg as a career artist, and after the single’s release, everybody became familiar with Snoop Doggy Dogg. 

Produced by Dr Dre as a G-funk record, ‘Who Am I (What’s My Name?)’ contains a sample from George Clinton. Throughout the era, Clinton was heavily sampled by Dre, and he was effectively a passive pioneer of the G-funk movement.

Clinton is known as the creator and pioneer of what many refer to as P-funk. A true genius, Clinton made funk music with a sci-fi aesthetic, the outlandishness of glam rock, and the psychedelia of the 1960s then fused it with a bit of electronic music. As the frontman who spearheaded Parliament-Funkadelic, Clinton is lauded as one of the foremost innovators of funk music and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 alongside other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

As one could infer from its name, P-funk fused with hip-hop spawned a new sonic that would go on to become G-funk, and this is where ‘Atomic Dog’ and Snoop Dogg cross paths. Released in 1982, ‘Atomic Dog’ was a single for the Parliament-Funkadelic album Computer. Produced by George Clinton alongside Ted Currier, the single was the collective’s last to reach number one on the Billboard R&B Charts.

Although the single was not a massive hit upon its release, due to sampling, it has become a culturally significant piece of music that has grown to become a classic within the African-American music community. Aside from ‘Atomic Dog’, the track also samples Funkadelic’s ‘(Not Just) Knee Deep’. Below you can hear ‘Atomic Dog’, ‘(Not Just) Knee Deep’ and, of course, 1993 classic ‘Who Am I (What’s My Name?’ by Snoop Dogg.