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Love Letter To A Record: Drapht On Snoop Dogg’s ‘Doggystyle’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Drapht – Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle (1993)

Dear Doggystyle, seriously, where has all of this time gone?

When I first became aware that you existed, it was over twenty years ago now and off the back of some time that you had spent with my sisters and their friends. Everyone spoke so fondly of you, you were the matter of the moment and the life and soul of every party.

I was just a quiet teenage boy going through the motions of trying to find myself within a world that didn’t quite feel built for me. We were worlds apart, but there was something within the way that you carried yourself that I related to more than anything I had stumbled across before. It could have been the angst within your overall sound, the charisma in your delivery, or just the sheer confidence to say the sort of things I would never dream of speaking out loud, let alone on a record available to millions upon millions of people.

I would walk with you in my Discman every day, to and from school. You could hear me reciting every word of the ‘Gin and Juice’ chorus – “rolling down the street smokin’ endo/ sippin’ on gin and juice/ laid back, with my mind on my money/ and my money on my mind/”. I couldn’t really handle smoking in any form back then (……Plus I was too fearful of my mum’s slipper and thought of being grounded), but my money from my weekly milk-run was most definitely at the forefront of my mind each week, just so I could go halves in a bottle of bourbon with one of my best mates, while you played in the background. There was just always something so cinematic about each experience with you, never a dull moment, like I was living within a Tarantino film. I think it was a combination of your arrangements, the animation of your skits, the perfect pitch and placement of your backing singers and the track-list of friends of your own that you had featured. It just truly felt like everyone was at home, and it was one big family affair.

Goddamn, what an exciting time it was to be alive. To this day your drum sound is a sound I try to emulate as close as possible. The funk and soul-inspired production of DR DRE still stands up against the test of time, and is as relevant now, as it was those 25 odd years ago. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but you actually inspired my friends and I to produce beats of our own, which, in turn, eventually gave us the confidence to find our own voice and release music that carried our own stories and experiences here in Australia. You put me on to some of my biggest influences in the years that followed from Nas to Biggie Smalls, to Eminem. I remember our time like it was yesterday. And I know I will revisit you and play your songs to new and old friends for many moons to come.

From the West Coast of Australia to the West Coast of the US. I thank you.

Drapht x

Drapht is back today with new album Shadows and Shinings. Listen here. Then, head here for his regional WA tour dates. Snoop Dogg, too, has just announced his first Australian tour in more than eight years.

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