Dr Dre ft Snoop Dogg – Still D.R.E. – The father of rap is back

Gangsta-rap songwriting

Dr Dre ft Snoop Dogg – Still D.R.E. – Lyrics

Intro – Snoop Dogg

Yeah nigga
I’m still fucking with ya
Still waters run deep
Still Snoop Dogg and D-R-E, ’99 nigga
Guess who’s back
Still doing that shit huh Dre?
(Oh for sho’, check me out)

Verse 1 – Dr Dre

It’s still Dre Day nigga, AK nigga
Though I’ve grown a lot, can’t keep it home a lot
‘Cause when I frequent the spots that I’m known to rock
You hear the bass from the truck when I’m on the block
Ladies they pay homage, but haters say Dre fell off
How nigga? my last album was The Chronic (Nigga)
They want to know if he still got it
They say rap’s changed
They wanna know how I feel about it
(Snoop Dogg: If you ain’t up on thangs)
Dr. Dre is the name
I’m ahead of my game
Still puffing my leaves
Still fuck with the beats
Still not loving police
Still rock my khakis with a cuff and a crease
Still got love for the streets, reppin’ 213 (For life)
Still the beats bang, still doing my thang
Since I left ain’t too much changed, still

Chorus – Snoop Dogg + Dr Dre

Snoop Dogg: I’m representing for them gangstas all across the world
Snoop Dogg: Still hitting them corners in them lo-lo’s, girl
Dr Dre: Still taking my time to perfect the beat
Dr Dre: And I still got love for the streets, it’s the D-R-E

Verse 2 – Dr Dre

Since the last time you heard from me I lost some friends
Well, hell, me and Snoop, we dippin’ again
Kept my ear to the streets, signed Eminem
He’s triple platinum, doing 50 a week
Still, I stay close to the heat
And even when I was close to defeat, I rose to my feet
My life’s like a soundtrack I wrote to the beat
Treat rap like Cali weed, I smoke ’til I sleep
Wake up in the A.M., compose a beat
I bring the fire til you’re soaking in your seat
It’s not a fluke, it’s been tried, I’m the truth
Since Turn Out the Lights from the World Class Wreckin Cru
I’m still at it, after-mathematics
In the home of drive-bys and ak-matics
Swap meets, sticky green, and bad traffic
I dip through then I get skin, D-R-E

Chorus – Snoop Dogg + Dr Dre

Verse 3 – Dr Dre

It ain’t nothing but more hot shit
Another classic CD for y’all to vibe with
Whether you’re cooling on the corner with your fly bitch
Laid back in the shack, play this track
I’m representing for the gangstas all across the world
Still (Hitting them corners on the lo-lo’s girl)
I’ll break your neck, damn near put your face in your lap
Niggas try to be the king but the ace is back
(So if you ain’t up on thangs)
Dr. Dre be the name still running the game
Still, got it wrapped like a mummy
Still ain’t tripping, love to see young blacks get money
Spend time out the hood, take they moms out the hood
Hit my boys off with jobs, no more living hard
Barbeques every day, driving fancy cars
Still gon’ get mine regardless

Chorus – Snoop Dogg + Dr Dre

Outro – Snoop Dogg

Right back up in ya mothafuckin’ ass, 9-5 plus four pennies!
Add that shit up, D-R-E right back up on top of thangs
Smoke some with your dog, no stress, no seeds, no stems, no sticks!
Some of that real sticky icky icky, ooh wee!
Put it in the air, oh, you’s a fool DR

 

Dr Dre ft Snoop Dogg – Still D.R.E. – Lyrics analysis & meanings

Intro – Snoop Dogg

Yeah nigga

nigga: this term has become a genre marker. Only in hip-hop lyrics people call each other “nigga“, collectively repeating a racist insult. With time, it has even become a tic of writing. For the populations victims of racism, it was an important challenge to devitalize the term from any hostile content, so that “nigga” finally means “man” and is used not from a racist white person to a “colored” person, but from an Afro-American to another.

I’m still fucking with ya

1st occurrence of the wordstill“, introducing the titlechorus and theme of the song. This word will help to structure the whole lyrics.

Still waters run deep

Still waters run deep is a proverb of Latin origin now commonly taken to mean that a placid exterior hides a passionate or subtle nature. Formerly it also carried the warning that silent people are dangerous” (wikipedia)

2nd occurrence of the wordstill“.

Still Snoop Dogg and DRE, ’99 nigga

3rd occurrence of the wordstill“.

Guess who’s back

This question is asked by Snoop to Dre, but we can understand that it is also asked by Snoop and Dre to the audience.

Still doing that shit huh Dre?

4th occurrence of the wordstill“.

(Oh for sho’, check me out)

From now, Dre becomes the lead rapper, introduced by Snoop. In the songs of NWA, Dre had precisely this role of presenter, which Snoop hold for example in THE NEXT EPISODE.

 

Verse 1 – Dr. Dre

It’s still Dre Day nigga, AK nigga

DRE DAY: song written by Dre against Eazy-E, to which Eazy replied with REAL MUTHAPHUCKKIN G’S.

AK: the automatic Kalashnikov that has become mythical in rap lyrics, as a genre marker made to sound “authentic”. (Still, it’s so easy and cheap to get a fake AK to play with in lyrics: like, look, I have four: AK-AK-AK-AK. It is not a weapon, it’s only 2 letters.)

Though I’ve grown a lot, can’t keep it home a lot

I’ve grown a lot: stared since 1988, Dr. Dre has accumulated experience in the years 1988-1999, he has had ups and downs, great successes and also some tragedies like the death of friends and colleagues, he will talk about it later.

can’t keep it home a lot: the expression seems polysemic, thanks to the “it” which can designate:

  • Dr. Day, which has a double meaning, is Dre’s day of honor, and a day of nightmare for his enemies: that day, Dre can not keep it for himself
  • the AK that has just been mentioned: Dre will not keep it at home, it’s made to be used…
  • feeling which has not been expressed, but is in the air, and which the singer ignores by modesty: it could be his pain and sorrow, and also his pride, to come from this violent world and to have succeeded: that feeling, Dr. Dre is not going to keep it for himself, he will share it – in this track.

‘Cause when I frequent the spots that I’m known to rock

Since he can not stay home, he goes out, he frequents spots. This movement is consistent with the theme of the song: Dr. Dre speaks of himself, shows himself, asserts himself. So symbolically, he goes out of his house, his conscience, to show himself, and since he is a musician, he shows himself through music.

You hear the bass when I’m on the block

This line does not really have a double meaning, but it plays twice:

  • it simply continues this scene where Dre left home to listen to his music, so we are in a fictitious scene with symbolic value,
  • but moreover, more concretely this sentence makes sense in the context of its hearing by the public, since as soon as we hear this song, we do hear the bass. If the public listens to it from a car in a ghetto, the effect is even more realistic.

when I’m on the block: the expression is connoted, these “blocks” can designate the projects, a type of habitat that Dr. Dre has in fact left for a long time, but the American expression “To be on the block” means “to be for sale“, often auctioned. So you hear his bass when he visits your shitty neighborhood, or when he sells his albums.

Ladies they pay homage, but haters say Dre fell off

He gives a certain image of the reactions of his audience: the young ladies would pay him homage – boasting macho – but he would have enemies who would slander him – perhaps out of jealousy.

How nigga? my last album was The Chronic (Nigga)

nigga: these haters are nigga. Maybe rivals from the rap world?

THE CHRONIC: Dr. Dre’s 1992 album, best-seller of rap.

Dr. Dre uses the prestige of this legendary album as an argument of authority, while acknowledging implicitly that he has not released another since.

They want to know if he still got it

They: we do not know who they are – probably the haters, or more generally all those who would not like it.

They say rap’s changed

We do not really know what they mean, saying that rap has changed: better, worse? Are they satisfied with these changes, or skeptical?

They wanna know how I feel about it

It is a way of pointing out: it is me that they consult on this subject, that they consider as an authority whose opinion matters. It’s clever to put such a compliment in the mouths of his detractors.

(Snoop Dogg: If you ain’t up on thangs)

This ironic intervention by Snoop Dogg may be discreetly alluding to Dre’s tube, NUTHIN BUT A G-THANG.

Dr. Dre is the name

Allusion to Snoop Dog’s lyrics“If you ain’t up on Thangs, Snoop Dogg is the name, Dogg Pound’s the game”

This line responds to previous concerns. Before, Dre summed up the skepticism of his enemies. After, he no longer listens, he asserts himself as the king of rap, here is his opinion!

I’m ahead of my game

The game is the name of the world of rap, as if it were a game that artists want to win. Here it’s not even the game, it’s my game, don’t touch it!

Still puffing my leaves

We guess he does not smoke only chestnut tree leaves. He smokes leaves that make him puff – cannabis leaves of course.

Still fuck with the beats

A pretty expression to say that he makes music.

Still not loving police

Not loving policeallusion to the tube of NWA FUCK THA POLICE.

Still rock my khakis with a cuff and a crease

These “khakis” are mentioned in countless lyrics of American rap. It designates the poor, ghetto-style clothing that the American textile industry spread from the 1980s.

Still got love for the streets, reppin ‘213 (For life)

Still got love for the streetsallusion to Dr Dre and Tupac’s tube, CALIFORNIA LOVE, where they sent love to all of California.

213: postal code of a good part of LA County, and name of the band 213 formed by Nate Dogg, Warren G and Snoop Dogg.

Still the beats bang, still doing my thang

Still doing my thangallusion to Dre’s tube, NUTHIN BUT A G-THANG.

Since I left ain’t too much changed, still

This verse confirms that all the above was a reply to “they say rap changed, they want to know how I feel about it“: Dre concludes that no, nothing has changed, since he is still at the top of his art. It is a voluntarily proud and arrogant reply!

 

Chorus – Snoop Dogg + Dr Dre

Snoop Dogg: I’m representing for them gangstas all across the world

This very clear chorus marks the will of the authors to surf the gangsta-rap wave and to be recognized as the kings of the genre. To win this place, just take it!

Snoop Dogg: Still hitting them corners in them lo-lo’s, girl

Corners: street corners in the US are also corners of drug-dealing.

Lo-lolow-rider cars, modified to bounce – like the cars in the STILL DRE music video!

So the line means: still hitting street corners in their fancy cars.

Dr. Dre: Still taking my time to perfect the beat

Dre resumes on the previous theme of his artistic excellence, and claims to be a beat-maker, which is true, since it is known to be his specialty in his collaborations, more than his vocal performances or his lyrics, which are correct but not the best.

History since 1999 has shown that Dre really took his time to perfect the beat. From 1988 to the time of the writing of this book in 2018, Dre has only released 3 albums. On the other hand, he has collaborated on dozens of bestselling albums by other authors, as a producer and musician, sometimes also a singer.

Dr. Dre: And I still got love for the streets, it’s the DRE

This line confirms the turning point of CALIFORNIA LOVE, to send love, especially to the ghetto, rather than hatred. NWA represented the hatred of the ghetto expressed in the face of the white world. But CALIFORNIA LOVE expressed the love of enriched rappers towards their origins, towards California and their lifestyle. Dre stayed on this second path, more hedonistic, more optimistic, happier (and he did well, since he survived and flew from success to success).

 

Verse 2 – Dr. Dre

Since the last time you heard from me I lost some friends

This is Dre’s second solo verse, and he will also sing the third one. This confirms that it is a very personal song, in which the theme is the author himself. We find the same logic of “the artwork is in the artist’s signature” as in the verbal graffiti of Snoop Dogg in THE NEXT EPISODE.

I lost some friends: this sentence is tragically and doubly true. Dr. Dre lost former friends and collaborators or colleagues, like

  • Eazy-E (who died of AIDS)
  • Ice Cube (who left NWA very upset after money clashes)
  • Tupac and Notorious BIG (both murdered)
  • Suge Knight (who was sentenced to 9 years of prison)
  • and probable some less famous ones, including jealous or envious people.

This hecatomb of the rap stars probably put a lot of people in the hip-hop circles in a moral crisis, raising a collective awareness: their friends, their fans, wondered what meaning these early deaths of talented artists could have.

Well, hell, me and Snoop, we dippin’ again

Nice play on sounds with well, hell then again, 3 rhyming words on 10 syllables, and me and we, which rhyme too. So half the syllables of the line echo each other, and it’s nice to hear.

He has just reported that he lost friends: by this line, he shows that he was able to make new friends, and not anybody: Snoop Dog, Eminem…

Kept my ears to the streets, signed Eminem

Saying this, he is consistent with his words in the chorus: he has love for the streets, he listens to them, he promotes their music.

Eminem: one of these new friends, who emerges thanks to Dr Dre precisely in 1999 after 1 year of collaboration on THE SLIM SHADY LP.

He’s triple platinum, doing 50 a week

He’s triple platinum: note the affirmative character of this formulation that makes as if Eminem was totally described by the expression “triple platinum“.

Triple platinum: in the US record industry a platinum record certifies the sale of 1 million albums. Triple platinum is three million.

Doing 50 a week: we can not really guess what is the unit of this figure, 50 what? 50 thousand, 50 million? dollars or units sold? We don’t have to know, the figure is given to make us dream and admire, and to show he has the details while we don’t.

Still, I stay close to the heat

So, we can decode: he does not let himself get far from the heat by success, and the heat is that of the streets.

And even when I was close to defeat, I rose to my feet

This confession of weakness is touching in the mouth of an arrogant and proud macho.

We do not know what part of Dre’s life this line evokes, he gives no precise details on those moments when he could have been close to defeat. Maybe when he his friends died, Eazy-E, Tupac?

My life’s like a soundtrack I wrote to the beat

Beautiful, stylish and appropriate comparison. Dre continues to characterize himself as a beatmaker, he will repeat it again in two lines.

Treat rap like Cali weed, I smoke ’til I sleep

Another nice metaphor: he smokes rap like boo until he sleeps, and smoking has the double meaning of smoking tobacco or weed, or killing someone. So, smoking his grass all day long, is how he makes some rap that kills.

Compare with what could have been written to give exactly the same information: “I smoke cannabis and rap from morning till night.” We notice that it is much better formulated in the form of a funny and lively metaphor! So, when you see super-poignant lines written very flatly like what I just wrote, consider replacing them with clever, compact, intense, spectacular metaphors. It does not matter if, as Dr. Dre, you do not have much to say, it’s all about style!

Wake up in the AM, compose a beat

The previous evocation of Dre’s lifestyle continues in a narrative mode. This is rare enough to be noticed: in general rap lyrics say a lot of things on a speech mode, they do not tell.

This micro- narrative illustrates the fact that Dre is a true professional musician, totally involved in his art.

There is an implicit provocation in the fact that he claims to be a daily cannabis smoker and, at the same time, a good artist. This double affirmation contradicts the repressive cliches of the ignorant general public, for whom smoking or taking drugs is illegal and bad, even though this general public adores and esteems the artworks of many drugged artists (like Jim Morrison, Bob Marley, Curt Cobain…) You can be a smoker and get up early to work well. And, cop, if you do not like it, it’s the same, fuck you.

I bring the fire til you’re soaking in your seat

I bring the fire literally translates as “I bring fire“, which makes one think at the same time of the old Greek myth of Prometheus who brought fire to humanity, or in a less noble way to a criminal arsonist, as at the time of the L.A. riots during which many stores and cars were burned, or the fact that Dre lights joints all day long.

The two lines mean: “I make music at home and it is then sent very quickly to you, public, straight from the producer to the consumer”, and also “the music is like cooking, I am the cook and you public you are the cooked dish”.

It’s not a fluke, it’s been tried, I’m the truth

New assertion of arrogant supremacy, made to prevail.

Since Turn Out the Lights from the World Class Wreckin Cru

Turn out The Lights: a song by the World Class Wrecking Cru.

World Class Wreckin Cru: name of the first band Dre belonged to. On their first album cover, Dre has a feminine style, which Eazy-E dissed.

By mentioning this band lasting from his youth before his involvement in rap, Dr. Dre assumes an artistic legacy that other rappers like Eazy-E have made fun of.

I’m still at it, after-mathematics

Allusion to Aftermath, Dre’s label, after his departure from his Death Row label.

So the line means: it’s mathematical, it’s logical, I’m always there because it’s my nature – and by the way let me introduce my new label Aftermath – the one that produces the new rap star of the moment, Eminem – so it’s also a nod to the world of commercial music, they know who to ask if they want good rap

In the home of drive-bys and ak-matics

This “home” is the Dr. Dre’s home, California, and by extension the United States, a society of millions of cars and weapons on open sale.

Swap meets, sticky green, and bad traffic

These flea markets are a sign of misery, it is a popular form of economic organization; this sticky green allude to cannabis, a highly resinous plant whose sap sticks, but also to green notes that stick to the fingers when you are greedy to grab them. The bad traffic means both the delinquent traffic of drugs, weapons, stolen goods, counterfeiting, etc, and the bad car traffic, legendary and usual in California (it’s also mentioned in CALIFORNIA LOVE: “Bumpin’ and grindin’ like a slow jam, it’s west side“.

I dip through then I get skin, D-R-E

This line is obscure, I did not understand it, sorry 🙂 It seems to evoke someone who eats a chicken dish, he plunges his hand into it but only grabs the skin – except that it would be a metaphor, he would plunge into this world of shady flea markets, traffics and jams, and he would get… the skin?

 

Chorus – Snoop Dogg + Dr Dre

 

Verse 3 – Dr. Dre

It ain’t nothing but more hot shit

Provocative and two-way formulation, since the literal meaning is irrelevant except as a provocative image, the metaphorical meaning is activated: hot shit = a great thing…

Another classic CD for y’all to vibe with

This line explains the meaning of the preceding, and continues bragging on the theme of Dre as king of rap.

Whether you’re cooling on the corner with your fly bitch

The artist represents his audience, which goes along with the chorus, in which he “represents the gangsters“.

Laid back in the shack, play this track

This resumes the process of updating the content of the song in the context of the public.

It is self-referential, from the moment of its writing or its broadcast the song evokes the moment when it will be listened to, as if it were aware of itself.

I’m representing for the gangstas all across the world

Still (Hitting them corners on the lo-lo’s girl)

Nice effect: the chorus is quoted in the very heart of this verse, highlighting the perfect duo that Dre forms with Snoop.

I’ll break your neck, damn near put your face in your lap

After coolness and jokes, this sudden verbal aggression shocks the audience and authenticates the rapper’s Bad Boy side, and prepares the next line that somehow draws the conclusion of it.

Niggas try to be the king but the ace is back 
(So ​​if you ain’t up on thangs)

Another line of arrogant self-affirmation, symbol of African-American empowerment. (Michael Jackson, “King of Pop”, Prince, suddenly heir to some imaginary kingdom…)

These niggas are the other rappers, it’s a great classic of rap lyrics to go provoking all the other artists. Eminem, for example: “Rappers are hungry, lookin’ at me like it’s lunchtime“, he says in his song RAP GOD.

The pretty metaphor is borrowed to the world of card players, especially poker, in which the ace is the strongest card, stronger than the king.

Dr. Dre be the name still running the game

Dr. Dre be the name: this formula of a high level of language is borrowed from religious ceremonies (baptism), and contrasts with the slang context.

The line is reminiscent of the movie THE GODFATHER, in which a long scene of anthology shows the baptism of a baby, future Godfather, simultaneously to the murder of various enemies of the current Godfather, mixing a grand ceremony in Latin and a violent massacre.

Still, got it wrapped like a mummy

Nice pun in the phrase “got it wrapped“, literally I rolled it up, which means “it’s done“. He means that his music is so well wrapped that it looks like a mummy – and implicitly, the mummies being the first Egyptian pharaohs, it confirms the more than royal stature Dre claims for himself.

Still ain’t tripping, love to see young blacks get money

Still ain’t tripping, that means he’s still not delusional, he’s serious.

Love to see young blacks get money: Dre summarizes something that will really be a feature of his life: he has helped to enrich many black musicians by music, and he is proud of it.

Spend time out the hood, take they moms out the hood

He continues to welcome the empowerment of his friends, finally out of misery thanks to him.

Hit my boys off with jobs, no more living hard

My boys: this expression gives Dre a paternal side – like a Godfather, like a King.

Barbeques every day, driving fancy cars

This kind of Dolce vita, of easy and pleasant Californian “Thug Life” was also vaunted in CALIFORNIA LOVE and in THE NEXT EPISODE.

All this passage, where Dre boasts as a philanthropist of African-American ghettos, illustrates the fact that “Dre be the name still running the game“.

Still gon’ get mine regardless

The meaning of the verse is not obvious because it is difficult to identify what this “mine” refers to.

 

Chorus – Snoop Dogg + Dr Dre

Outro: Snoop Dogg

Right back up in ya mothafuckin’ ass, 9-5 plus four pennies!

Enigma! But it easily explains: 95 + 4 = 99, the release year of this song.

Mothafuckin’ ass: well, if you do not swear in a rap song, you’re not credible.

Add that shit up, D-R-E right back up on top of thangs

Confirmation of Dre’s claims as king, master of the game.

Smoke some with your dog, no stress, no seeds, no stems, no sticks!

It’s a Snoop all spit, because it’ s full of ambiguities and double meaning, you take it as you want…

Smoke some: smoke this weed, and consume this music, both at once!

With your dog: with who you want, with your dog if it is a smoker (then, it’s a joke), or your favorite dog: Snoop Dogg!

No stress: the general public will believe that he recommends, to feel very cool, to relax? yes.. but for connoisseurs of cannabis, the same word stress means a grass of poor quality, like the one your grandmother smokes, and Snoop, a demanding consumer, does not want it, so keep your bad dope for yourself!

Some of that real sticky icky icky, ooh wee!

There, it still refers to the weed, if it is sticky it means that it has a lot of resin, and it is precisely in this resin that is the active ingredient of cannabis, THC.

Ooh wee: it is obviously a parody, by an American, of an exclamation in French imitating the Parisian bourgeois: Do you like this apple pie? Oh oui! For Americans, especially in the ghettos, Paris stands as the city of luxury.

Put it in the air, oh, you’s a fool DR

The phrase Put it in the air is mythical in clubs, in general it means put your hands in the air, it’s an encouragement to have fun, when it’s not a hold-up. But here, a pleasant way, the “it” is not your arms, but your smoke.

You’s a fool: Snoop is just fooling the public, ending up on a huge mistake, this deliberately failed conjugation, causing the instant suicide of all his former English teachers. You is stands as the basic atrocity in English, everybody knows that one has to write you are, except rappers, who practice an anti-language, and if you’re not happy it’s the same, shut up. We will see later Kendrick Lamar have fun frequently playing the role of an illiterate rapper in yet cunning songs.

 

Synthesis

STILL is a song built on little: the singer’s claim to be still there, still the same, still on top of his art.

On this theme, thin but ideologically important in rap (affirmation of worth by artists coming from worthless populations, black pride), the authors succeed in embroidering a relatively clear discursive plan:

  • Intro: Snoop announces the “still” theme, and presents Dre.
  • Verse 1: Dre evokes his critics, and contradicts them by affirming that he is still there, a great rap artist, true to himself, his origins, his dress code, his audience.
  • Chorus: Snoop and Dre confirm that Dre is the best rapper in the world.
  • Verse 2: Dre takes stock of his career, and finds that he has evolved very positively. He is the same, but better.
  • Chorus: Snoop and Dre still agree.
  • Verse 3: Dre is proud to have succeeded and helped enrich other African Americans.
  • Outro: Snoop recommends smoking, as if to celebrate Dre’s success.

The word “still ” itself is everywhere and acts like a canvas or a connecting thread:

  • Intro: 4 times.
  • Verse 1: 6 times.
  • Chorus: 3 times.
  • Verse 2: 2 times.
  • Chorus: 3 times.
  • Verse 3: 4 times.

Which makes us a total of 22 repetitions of the word “still“.

Yet these repetitions are enriched by nuances, because this word is polysemous: it means “always“, in the sense of “I’m still here” and “quiet“, in the sense of calm, solid, even irremovable – as in the expressionto stand still“. So that throughout the song, one way or the other or both is activated:

  • Still doing that shit huh Dre?
  • Still ain’tt tripping, love to see young blacks get money
  • Still, taking my time to perfect the beat

Still in pole position in the great game of rap, from his first hits with NWA to his 1999 hits in duo with Snoop Dogg, Dre later confirmed along his career this position of choice, which will be found in particular in our analyzes of songs by Eminem, 50 Cent and Kendrick Lamar, Dre will actually remain the “father of rap“.

 

Gangsta-rap songwriting