Just a few days after being mourner-of-honor at the funeral of former associate Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg hogged the hip-hop limelight once again by releasing all the tracks of his much-awaited album Doggumentary two days before the official release via moribund social network oddity MySpace.
10. Past the halfway mark, this is really an old-school funk album with some rapping on it. Snoop namechecks Frankie Beverly's MAZE, and that sound is all over the joint, all the way down to epic closer "Cold Game." Your grandma will love this Doggumentary, and she might get a little verklempt with all these sounds of the late '70s/early '80s. (Things do get a little hectic on the track "My Fucking House," featuring Young Jeezy--a temporary lapse of trapness where Snoop evokes the Seven Dwarves of Crack).
9. "My Own Way" is a nice, uplifting soul track anchored by the righteous soul stirrings of D-12 veteran (aka Kon Artist) and Dre co-producer Mr. Porter. Slightly mournful and the perfect counterpoint to Snoop's tired "Huggy Pimp" persona. This track stands out and brings the soul. Chuuch.
8. Fuckin' MySpace will force you to sign up to listen to full tracks and then will play you ads for weight loss (we thought it was a skit from the album at first).
7. The pre-release version leaked on MySpace has the censored version of his Prince William stag party track "Wet." Yup--the Cataracts-produced track (a Pharrell knockoff that nobody's really gonna drop cause it's not that hot) is called "Sweat" here and it's just as disappointing as when the video came out a while back. "Take U Home" should have been the advance single, and not only because it shows why Too $hort still can pull off that Old Black Pimpin' Magic.
6. Original Snoop Dogg inspirational figure Bootsy Collins (he who started the whole shizzla izzla business) is featured once again, doing his vintage fey thing on throwback tracks like "Toyz N Da Hood" (is Snoop even on that one?). Roger Troutman, MAZE, Bootsy. You get the idea. He even gets Wiz Khalifa in the Zapptastic mood with "This Weed Iz Mine."
5. A track with greatness potential, "Platinum," featuring godlike genius-level strange person R. Kelly, is ruined by cheesy Lex Luger production, "shimmering" rainfall sound thing and all (although, on second thought, it might be a very oblique reference to R. Kelly peeing on you--Platinum Showers, anyone?). The Kanye/John Legend track, "Eyez Closed," fares, of course, much better (hi, hater).
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4. Homeless producer Scott Storch is baaaaack, stealing Heidi Montag's thunder by sampling Yaz's nostalgia synth monster "Situation," again.
3. The opening track, "Gang Bang Rookie" features relatively obscure pint-sized MC Pilot. New Lil Bow Wow alert? A cursory trek around YouTube reveals the usual cherubic charism of many lil' proteges. Only time will tell if this Pilot is gonna soar on like a Weezy or be ejected into Reality TV hell like Ray J.
2. The tracks that namecheck Cali and El Lay, unfortunately, are not among the highlights. Sorry, we're gonna have to wait till the next episode for another "Gin N Juice."
1. Willie Motherfuckin' Nelson. Talking some shit about carpal tunnel syndrome, weed and Superman. Snoop and he go for the country blues and (almost) pull it off. Loose and high, just like we like those two.