It's a dog-eat-dog throw down between two of rap's most notorious stars. Both were among the top stars of their eras, both had classic debut albums that almost overshadowed their musical careers and, sadly, both now are caricatures of themselves. Whose bite is worse than their bark?
Album covers: Doggystyle's cartoonish cover is one of the most iconic images of its era. I'll level with you - the cover always kinda freaked me out. Something about cartoon Snoop about to fondle that unsuspecting poodle seemed kinda creepy. That mean ol' dogcatcher in the background is kinda weird too.
It's Dark And Hell Is Hot (what does that even mean?) features DMX looking scary. That's about it. It still works, as it's a visual telling of the grittiness that followed on the album.
Snoop Dogg 1, DMX 0
Album quality: Although some may argue for Dr. Dre's Tha Chronic, I believe 1993's Doggystyle is the crown jewel of the heralded G Funk era and solidified the West Coast's reign of hip hop dominance. Not only does it feature unforgettable tracks - I bet even your grandma knows "Gin and Juice" and "Who Am I (What's My Name)" - it served as a springboard for other West Coast artists like Lady of Rage and the Dogg Pound AND helped launch Snoop into pop culture immortality. You can't get much better than that.
It's Dark And Hell Is Hot was just as influential in its time period. It served as the definitive end to Puff Daddy's "shiny suit" reign of terror and made it cool to be gritty again - at least until Cash Money came out. Anyway, this album had its share of classics, too. "Ruff Ryder's Anthem" was inescapable in the summer of '98. The energy of tracks like "Get At Me Dog," the introspection of "Let Me Fly," the creativity of "Stop Being Greedy" - it was the total package. I think that gives X the slight edge.
Snoop Dogg 1, DMX 1
Sales: Both of these albums were sales juggernauts. Doggystyle has sold more than 7 million copies. It's Dark has sold more than 4 million copies. Today rappers are lucky if they sell 7,000 ringtones.
Snoop Dogg 2, DMX 1
Dog speak: While he didn't invent the term, Snoop popularized the dreaded izzle suffix, which was cute for 5 minutes in 2000 but became annoying as crap soon afterward. When politicians start using it for cheap laughs, it's time to call it a day. Thankfully, I haven't heard much izzle'ing lately. I hope it now resides in the great slang graveyard with "slap me some skin" and "jive turkey."
DMX - a nearly 40-year-old man, mind you - is best known for barking, growling, howling and whimpering like a puppy. I hope he also gets shots.
Snoop Dogg 3, DMX 1
Embarrassing quotes: We could be here all day with this one. Here are just a couple of gems from Bigg Snoop:
"I keep hearing about muthaf***ing Harry Potter. Who is this muthaf***er?"
"Britney would make a better prostitute than Christina. She's thicker."
Oh, it gets better. From X:
DMX: "What the f*** is a Barack?! Barack Obama. Where he from, Africa? ... Ima tell this n**** when I see him, “Stop that bulls***. Stop that bulls***” [laughs] "That ain’t your f***in' name.” Your momma ain't name you no damn Barack."
Interviewer: So you’re not following the race. You can’t vote right?
DMX : Nope.
DMX for president in '12.
Snoop Dogg 3, DMX 2
Dog fight: OK, so I'm standing in a dark alley and Snoop comes shuffling my way. Could I take him? Seeing that years of puffing that Mary Jane has probably screwed up Snoop's stamina - and the fact that he walks around wearing those big ol' King Henry XVIII robes - I'm sure I'm quicker than him. If he starts swinging his pimp cane I'll just pull his Superfly hat over his eyes and yank on his pigtails. I got this.
So, I'm back in the alley and DMX comes barking my way like the Wolfman. I could try to distract him with a can of Alpo, but that probably won't work. My best bet would be to go for his choke chain, but if he's off the leash you might as well write my obituary.
Snoop Dogg 3, DMX 3
Legacy: As I said earlier, you can ask the oldest, most unhip man in America (John McCain?) and you can bet he knows Snoop D-o-double-g. Between his albums, TV shows and public exploits he's become as American as apple pie and violence in public schools.
DMX is more infamous than famous. He'll probably be more known as "the crazy barking guy who kept getting arrested" than one of hip hop's top stars in the 90s.
Snoop Dogg 4, DMX 3
It's Snoop by a nose in a close dog race.