The album peaked on the Billboard 200 albums chart at #166 on July 25, 1992. Apart from the soundtrack compilation, it also appeared as a single and on Dr. Dre's First Round Knock Out, which spent two weeks on the Billboard 200 starting at #52 and later on several greatest hits albums, including: Doggy Stuff and Doggy Style Hits. Like the artist indication on the original 12" vinyl says, "Dr. Dre introducing Snoop Doggy Dogg", it is the first time Snoop Dogg was featured on a record. As a single it had no major breakthrough regarding sales, but it launched Snoop Dogg's career. It samples a number of 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s funk acts, such as Undisputed Truth's "(I Know) I'm Losing You" and Sly & the Family Stone's "Sing a Simple Song", which provided the drumbeat. The single was set to be released on The Chronic, but fallout from Body Count's banned song, "Cop Killer", prevented it since this song is also about killing police officers. The film itself did not have much success, and it only received two nominations on the Independent Spirits Awards in 1993, but the song was well received. The song was featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, on the radio station Radio Los Santos. During the 2007 VH1Hip Hop Honors show, T.I. and B.G. performed this song during Snoop's honor ceremony. In April 2012 at the Coachella event in California, Snoop and Dre performed the song live.
The plot of the video resembles that of the same-titled movie starring Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum. An undercover cop goes deep in the hierarchic pyramid of the underground mafia to get the bosses locked up, and "goes deep" also by getting addicted to drugs while trying to not reveal himself. The video begins in the first scene with Snoop, marking Snoop's first appearance in a music video, Dre and a black kingpin in a smoky office in the middle of an initiation where Snoop has to decide between the pipe and being caught up. After that introduction the music starts but the rest of the video is rather cut-to-cut and is a mixture of some five seconds long takes in black and white and some pictures from the motion picture. The scenes take place in a filthy concrete bungalow with several crack addicts and a projector flashing the movie itself on the wall. The house is later raided by the drug squad. There's also a scene with Snoop and Dre wearing business suits in a car, but it has no additional meaning to the plot.
There is a remix of the song entitled One Eight Seven, later known as "Deep Cover - The Remix" on the Fuck Wit Dre Day 12" single and on the 1995 album One Million Strong, and the Death Row compilation, "Dr. Dre Chronicles: Deathrow Classics". The remix has a slightly modified sample and alternate lyrics. It is also a minute shorter. The title, which is also a part of the chorus, refers to the paragraph of the California Penal Code that defines murder. A song by Big Pun, featuring Fat Joe, called "Twinz (Deep Cover '98)", from his album Capital Punishment, featured the same beat and different lyrics. It is featured in the video games Saints Row 2, True Crime: New York City, and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, on the rap radio station The Liberty Jam. Snoop makes an appearance in the "Twinz" music video as acknowledgment for the remix. Ghostface Killah from the Wu-Tang Clan and DJ Green Lantern used the instrumental for their 'Internet Invasion' Mixtape's first song. 50 Cent used the beat along with G-Unit on their song "187 Yayo". The Game used the beat on his song "200 Bars & Running," which dissed Joe Budden, Memphis Bleek, Domination and Bang 'Em Smurf. He also had a similar-sounding beat on his song "911 Is A Motherfucking Joke (Cop Killa)". Most recently, Apathy used the Deep Cover beat on the "Deeper Cover Freestyle" track on his 2012 mixtape It's the Bootleg, Muthafuckas! Volume 3. Rapper Tyga also sampled the beat in his Hotel California album single Dope.