In the summer of 1993 I spent a lot of time listening to The Chronic. Over the course of the next year, with those various amateurish videos released for the most radio-friendly songs from the album, I really believed that Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's lives were filled with low-rider trips to endless barbecues where bikini tops were removed from girls with Double-Ds and the dude handling the meat had a handgun always tucked into the back of his pants and where girls in slinky dresses who didn't appreciate the compliments of gentlemen callers would end up getting sprayed by shaken-up forties.

So I'm sitting at my mother-in-law's house and I find these videos from the 1995 Death Row Records Christmas Party (from a DVD documentary) and as I watch them my jaw drops. The cameraman follows that creepy-voice Me'chele or whatever (the one who had babies with Dr. Dre and Suge Knight) as she talks in that creepy voice to various artists on the label (Dre, Tupac). What captivated me about this video is how NORMAL this party is. I've seen Bar Mitzvah videos that looked more like those parties portrayed in the Chronic videos than this one does. Everyone is so well-dressed and well-mannered. Tupac even looks a little awkward and nervous. There are white guys in suits who tell jokes that make Dre laugh. Shouldn't he be looking at them with contempt and thinking of rhymes about performing crude sexual acts on their corpses? The party is in one of those ugly tents and the food looks like bad wedding fare. It looks like every boring event or party I've ever attended.

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