First Hit #1: December 11, 2004
In a lovely coincidence, we get to end a year as we end a year. So, as we reflect on 2013, we can also reflect on 2004, which ended with Snoop Dogg and Pharrell releasing a single that doesn’t really work as a radio single.
Let’s be clear here, I’m not against using lyrics that are not appropriate for all audiences. But, when you have to censor seemingly every single word, it has a certain jarring effect on the track. Drop It Like It’s Hot still has the slightly warped beat and the strangely catchy chorus, but the verses have so many muted words on the radio edit that it might as well not have lyrics. They don’t make any sense, sounding sort of like the stereo is malfunctioning rather than any deliberate choice.
But let’s ignore how the song doesn’t work on radio, does it work in an ideal environment? It does, mostly because of how incredibly weird it is. Snoop Dogg has always had a bizarre relaxed flow, and the Neptunes’ production embraces that, making a bizarre relaxed beat with mouth clicking and odd ’80s guitars showing up. It’s strange, and the descent that defines the chorus is equally weird. It’s just a strange combination of elements, making for a song that sounds like it’s going down a giant drain as it continues. With the full lyrics, it’s a decidedly strange and compelling hip hop track that tries to take the genre into interesting places. With the radio edit, it sounds like that same song sent with poor reception.