Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Snoop Dogg

"You had Snoop Dogg, who just brought a whole nother, style to rap music". This was mentioned on the "Welcome To Death Row" documentary, and it was definitely a true statement. Prior to the classic song "Deep Cover", the laid back, smooth, "pimped out" style and sound that Snoop Dogg brought to hip hop was an unheard of thing, and pretty soon, you had other artists trying their hands at this same style (and those artists were largely from the West Coast, some from the South). Snoop has endured quite the solid, lengthy career, with multiple changes along the way (more on this later). When it comes to his discography, most tend to say "it's Doggystyle, then there's everything else". Let's take a look at his albums shall we.

From my "top 10 favorite albums of all time review"

5 favorite songs- Pump Pump, Gin & Juice, Serial Killa, Doggy Dogg World, & Murder Was The Case

Wayne's Words- This album features Snoop Dogg as his absolute best, especially from a lyrical standpoint. After "The Chronic" made him a star, he embarked on this historic debut album journey, becoming the first hip hop artist whose very first album went number one. Once "The Chronic" was finished, Snoop said "we through with The Chronic, it's all about you Snoop, you the hottest thing comin out of the West Coast in a long time, and Dre gon produce it, and when Dre producing it from top to bottom, you can't lose" Very true. Another good point that was mentioned was Snoop did bring another style to hip hop, and with the exception of possibly Big Daddy Kane, no one was rocking the mic with such flair, style, and grace (and a touch of gangsta, lol) like Snoop, and this album embodies that.

1996 was essentially the end of Death Row Records as a powerhouse/influential/feared record label, and I guarantee you that there are many who have all but forgotten about this release just as much as there are those who remember it. This is definitely the (unfortunate) case of the sophomore jinx, but to be fair, at the time, Snoop was still reeling from the murder trial he was on (and acquited of those charges), things behind the scenes at Death Row were in complete disarray, Dr. Dre had no input in this project, 2Pac was killed, plus Snoop's heart wasn't into this release due to so many things that were going on in his life, and it's reflected here in spades. It's not wack, it's not excellent, just merely decent for the most part.

Rating- 3 stars (which may be generous)

Favorite songs- Freestyle Conversation, Vapors, & Snoop's Upside Ya Head

 In what is the equivalent to Busta Rhymes joining YMCMB, Snoop (now going just by Snoop Dogg) joined Master P's No Limit Records in 1998. I remember reading a new issue of The Source Magazine in mid 98, and when I saw this album cover, I couldn't believe it. It was clear to me (and others) that Snoop was TOO laid back for the rowdy antics of the Miller Boyz and the crew, but with hindsight being 20/20, this decision may have effectively saved his career after leaving Death Row Records, while at the same time being the worst decision of his career. At the time, it was said that Snoop recorded this album in three weeks, and it showed. Just about all of the songs featuring No Limit artists were all but forgettable, as well as "Gin & Juice II".

Rating- 2 stars

Highlights- Still A G Thang (the best song on this album), Don't Let Go, and Show Me Love

Now THIS is what I'm talking about right here!! Snoop released this album (his fourth) in 1999 to great results. Snoop hadn't sounded this inspired since "Doggystyle", and reuniting with Dr. Dre ("B**** Please", "Just Dippin" & "Buck Em"), plus linking up with DJ Quik, Ant Banks, Meech Wells, and Raphael Saadiq brought out the best in him on the mic. Even a couple of the No Limit tracks weren't too bad, as "Down 4 My N*****" featuring C-Murder & Magic became a very popular song (much like "B**** Please" featuring Xzibit) and it still receives play today. I can't say the same for the "Symphony" remake featuring No Limit artists (Mystikal, Mia X, the God awful Silkk Tha Shocker, Fiend, & C-Murder) and Goldie Loc. What saved this one is the verses from Snoop, Loc, and Fiend, as well as KLC's updated version of the classic Marley Marl track. Excellent album and possibly his second best album after "Doggystyle".

Rating- 4.5 stars

5 favorite songs- Buck Em, B**** Please, My Heat Goes Boom, Just Dippin, & Down 4 My N*****

Snoop's last album on No Limit Records, in promotion of this album, I remember him saying "this was the last time record labels are gonna eat off me". To this day, I'm not sure what he meant by that (it may have been a subliminal message to Master P), but either way, he did go out with a bang, still hooking back up with Dr. Dre (one year after "No Limit Top Dogg" and Dre's classic "2001" album), with names like Scott Storch, Timbaland, Jelly Roll, Battlecat also contributing. Not quite better than "No Limit Top Dogg", but it's still very good.

Rating- I initially gave this album 4.5 stars, but I may settle for 4 stars at this point.

5 favorite songs- Set It Off, Snoop Dogg (What's My Name Pt. 2), Lay Low, Wrong Idea, & Hennysey n Buddah

2002 marked the first of many Snoop collaborations with the Neptunes (I actually predicted this would happen too), and their chemistry was very good as well. Snoop continued his string of very good/excellent albums with this release, and he also started to add a few more guests along the way (Jay-Z, Pharrell, Nate Dogg, Charlie Wilson, Redman, Ludacris, etc). The list of producers on this album was impressive too, as in addition to the Neptunes, Snoop enlisted Just Blaze, Hi-Tek, E-Swift, Battle Cat, Jelly Roll, and a first ever collaboration with DJ Premier ("The One And Only"). Good stuff here.

Rating- 4 stars

5 favorite songs- From tha Chuuuch to da Palace, Lollipop (NOT to be confused with the horrible Lil Wayne song of the same name), From Long Beach 2 Brick City, Pimp Slapp'd, & The One And Only

One of 2004's best singles was "Drop It Like It's Hot", a Neptunes produced banger that would still light up a dancefloor to this day (the remix featuring Jay-Z was equally great, but sadly not included on this release). Snoop took what worked on the previous album and brought it to this one. Still more of the same, but definitely a good album. It may be his most underrated, but that's challenged by the previous album and possibly the next album.

Rating- 4 stars

5 favorite songs- Drop It Like It's Hot, Oh No, The Bidness, Girl Like U, & Let's Get Blown

Album number 8 for Snoop and one of the best albums of 2006. He hooked back up with Dr. Dre ("Boss' Life", "Round Here", and "Imagine"), as well as familiar names like the Neptunes, DJ Pooh, Timbaland, Nottz, etc. Pretty good all around (with the exception of "I Wanna F*** You" featuring Akon, never cared for that song), and it's probably his last very good album, as it was essentially downhill from there (in a way).

Rating- 4.5 stars

5 favorite songs- Boss' Life, Imagine, Candy (Drippin Like Water), Get A Light, & Crazy

Now here's where "modern day Snoop" begins, as well as the lack of anticipation for his albums. It also didn't help that he admitted that some, if not all, of the songs on this release were ghostwritten. Largely forgettable overall, with the sole highlight being "Sexual Eruption". This is his second worst album.

Rating- 2 stars, which is largely for "Sexual Eruption".

Despite a HOT Scoop Deville produced single in the form of "I Wanna Rock", there was literally NO buzz surrounding this album and I honestly didn't find out about it till a read an issue of The Source in late 2009. Either way, this album was a notch above "Ego Trippin", but that's not saying much at all. I only listened to this album once, and that was when I bought it. The highlights on this album are "I Wanna Rock" and "Different Languages" featuring the talented Jazmine Sullivan.

Rating- About 3 stars

I bought this album the day of its release (along with Freeway and Jake One's "Stimulus Package" album), and although this included five additional songs, four remixes, and a "movie" (more or less videos), the sole highlight of this project with the hot "I Wanna Rock" remix featuring Jay-Z. Other than that, nothing to (re)visit here, and I'm probably the only person I know that bought it, lol.

Oh GOD, don't get me started on this release. I bought this one when it first came out, and I don't know why I went into this album thinking I was going to get something great, and I obviously didn't. This was one of the worst albums I had heard in a long time, and it's possibly worst than "Ego Trippin" and "Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told" combined, not to mention having even LESS buzz than his previous album. To think that he was initially going to call this album "Doggystyle 2" still boggles my mind. There is NOTHING on this album that worth a listen, and "Wet" is quite possibly one of his worst songs ever. 

Rating- 1.5 stars

NO favorite songs on this album

After the atrocity in the form of the "Doggumentary" album, Snoop released an EP last year titled "Stoners", and I didn't even bother to check it out, and I'm sure I didn't miss anything. Snoop recently rebranded himself as "Snoop Lion", which is due to one influence courtesy of Bob Marley. I'm not crazy about the "reincarnation" and needless to say, I'm not anticipating his next album or anything that he releases quite frankly, and that's being honest. When it's all said and done, Snoop will go down as a West Coast legend, as well as being best known for "Deep Cover" with Dr. Dre, his contributions to "The Chronic", the classic "Doggystyle", and his longevity in hip hop music.


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