Snoop The Role Model, Guns N’ Roses’ Manson Problem, Frank Zappa R.I.P.: This Week In 1993

Not only was Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle album the first debut ever to go straight to #1 on the Billboard albums chart, it was also the first to be charted by a person under indictment for murder.

Snoop was charged in connection with an incident the previous August in which his bodyguard, sitting in Snoop’s jeep, shot a man, who the bodyguard claimed was drawing a gun. (Snoop was ultimately acquitted in the case.) While the details of his court case were off-limits, Snoop did have plenty to say otherwise.

“There’s all the drama that surrounded around me and the peoples I deal with and the way I do my thang, but the people that really know me and understand me know that that ain’t even me like that,” Snoop explained. “I mean, if a situation needs to be handled it’s gonna be handled, but as far as me being the aggressor, out there startin’ trouble, that ain’t even me. The same way I rap is the same way I am. I’m laid-back. I’m calm and collected.”

The rapper also addressed the “role model” issue.

“The kids are the future, so you gotta take time and understand me,” he said. “If your kids are into me … you take time and you talk to your kids and say, ‘Why do you like Snoop Dogg so much?’ and you find out what it is about me that your kids like about me, and you try to understand that. If you don’t have no understanding in your heart and your mind, stop getting into your kids’ music and trying to run them, because when you were growing up your parents didn’t want you listening to this type of music, you still went out and did it. So get out your kid’s mix and stop trying to be a kid again. Educate your kids. I mean, I’m not their fathers or their mothers. I’m just somebody that’s doing my thang the best that I know how. They just put me in a position to be a positive role model and I’m giving all I can, but you can’t negatively criticize me on my music when it’s from my heart.”

Guns N’ Roses and the band’s label, Geffen Records, had been under attack because of the inclusion of a track by the ’60s murder cult leader, Charles Manson, on the Guns album The Spaghetti Incident?. The GN’R camp announced this week that while Manson theoretically could stand to earn $60,000 in royalties for every 1 million copies the Guns album sold, because of a 1973 federal court ruling, all Manson income must be turned over to one of the surviving sons of one of many murder victims. In a press statement, Guns guitarist Slash said the band had no intention to glorify Manson and that he “epitomizes everything that’s wrong with human existence.”

Frank Zappa, composer, guitarist, free-speech advocate and a unique figure in American music for nearly 30 years, died at his home in Los Angeles after a long struggle with prostate cancer. He was 52.

Apart from his own trailblazing work with the Mothers of Invention, Zappa also discovered Alice Cooper, nurtured the career of his friend Captain Beefheart and was an all-around legendary figure to both his avid cult following in this country and especially in Europe, where his work was perhaps most deeply appreciated.

Frank Zappa brought a rude skepticism to the music business that never sat all that well with record executives or fans of simple love songs. From his 1966 debut with the Mothers of Invention, the self-taught composer took aim at the absurdities not only of the music industry, but at the exploding hippie, peace and love scene, and even the Beatles, whom he targeted with the “Sgt. Pepper” satire “We’re Only in It for the Money.” Zappa managed to score some actual hits over the years, such as the disco parody “Dancing Fool” and the teen-talk satire “Valley Girl,” which featured his daughter Moon, but he finally grew weary of the commercial resistance, in this country at least, to the densely layered neo-classical music to which he devoted most of his effort.

In the ’80s, Zappa became a major opponent of Tipper Gore’s campaign to force record companies to rate records.

“How could people voluntarily give up their right to choose anything, whether it’s abortion, what you read, what you watch, what you listen to?” Zappa said. “Why would any sane individual who already has freedom turn it over to a bunch of nincompoops and say, ‘Figure it out for us, put a label on it that tells us what it is.’ How do you know they know?”

Toward the end of his life, Zappa decided not to exploit his illness for sympathy but continued composing at home. Frank Zappa may be gone but he left behind enough music to last most listeners a lifetime.

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