The Story Behind Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s Iconic “Still D.R.E.”

When looking back at Dr. Dre‘s career as a rapper, there are a few key moments and lyrics that should immediately come to mind for hip-hop fans. Along with his opening line Now let me welcome everybody to the Wild Wild West from his “California Love” hit with Tupac and his You are now about to witness the strength of street knowledge intro on N.W.A’s “Straight Outta Compton,” one of Dre’s most memorable vocal contributions is certainly on “Still D.R.E.,” where he and Snoop Dogg deliver the now-legendary, back-and-forth hook.

I’m representin’ for them gangstas all across the world(Still) Hittin’ them corners in them low-lows, girlStill takin’ my time to perfect the beatAnd I still got love for the streets, it’s the D.R.E.

However, what some don’t know is that the song, which served as the lead single for Dre’s sophomore solo album, 2001, wasn’t written by him at all. And, while Snoop Dogg was also on the song, neither his nor Dre’s portions were written by either of them. Instead, the man behind the classic hit was none other than Jay-Z.

In the years following the explosive feud between the rap communities in the West and East coasts, which fizzled out after the deaths of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G., Cali natives Dre and Snoop had no reservations about hitting up New York Jay-Z for assistance crafting a banger.

“He wrote all of it. It’s about who can project the best song for the artist at that time,” Snoop said about “Still D.R.E.” in a 2012 interview with GGN News. “And anytime we worked on a project, for example like you brought up the Jay-Z situation, we was trying to write ‘Still D.R.E.’, we all took a shot at it, but we all couldn’t come up with nothing as dope as Jay-Z. So we had to take a backseat and say, ‘Okay, his shit is doper than everybody else’s shit that had done wrote something, so he’s the winner, we gonna do what he say.’”

On top of the aforementioned it’s the D.R.E. chorus, the rest of “Still D.R.E.” sees both Dre and Snoop rattle off braggadocios verses, where Dre especially flexes his muscle about how great of a musician he is.

Ladies they pay homage, but haters say Dre fell offHow? Nigga, my last album was The ChronicThey wanna know if he still got itThey say rap’s changed, they wanna know how I feel about it(If you ain’t up on thangs)Dr. Dre is the name, I’m ahead of my gameStill puffin’ my leaves, still fuck with the beatsStill not lovin’ police

Though these seem like incredibly personal and impassioned lyrics from Dre, Snoop confirmed that they were written by Jay-Z, who had a unique ability to channel the aura of the artists he was writing for.

“He wrote it in the same vein as if we wrote it because he understood what he was writing for,” Snoop continued. “He took and embodied, you know what I’m saying, the whole situation as far as writing for Dr. Dre, so we couldn’t do nothing but, you know, take a backseat and acknowledge that, and say, ‘You know what? You’s a bad motherfucker’.”

Ultimately, “Still D.R.E.” would go on to be one of the most beloved tracks of Dre’s entire solo discography, and even opened the door for Dre and Jay-Z to work together in the future on songs like “The Watcher 2” (2022) and “Lost One” (2006).

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

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