Various Artists - Snoop Dogg pres. The Big Squeeze
Mon 21st May, 2007 Music Reviewsin
If there was one survivor of the East Coast/West Coast feud of the 90’s it’s no surprise that it would be Snoop Dogg, rapper, actor, director and all around hip hop icon. After bursting onto the scene on Dr Dre’s seminal album The Chronic, Calvin Broadus Jr released his debut album Doggystyle in 1993, the first ever album to debut at number 1 on the American charts. Despite being responsible for some of the most notable tracks in hip hop history, including Who Am I (What’s My Name)?, Gin and Juice and The Next Episode, his musical career stalled a bit during the late 90’s.
In 2000, his first foray into the world of pornographic films for Hustler, Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle, went on to win Top Selling Release of the Year at the AVN Awards. In 2002, he teamed up with Pharrell Williams to revive his musical career with the worldwide smash Beautiful. In the mean time, Snoop also got back into acting, starring in Malibu’s Most Wanted, Old School and Starsky & Hutch. 2006 saw him release The Blue Carpet Treatment, widely considered to be his best work in years. Never one to sway far from the headlines, he was recently denied entry into Australia where he was to host the MTV Australian Video Music Awards. Here he has gathered together a selection of upcoming and established artists to deliver Snoop Dogg Presents The Big Squeeze, which he raps on and produced under the name Niggaracci.
With a seemingly endless supply of West Coast artists at his disposal, Snoop enlists the help of upcoming artists Westurn Union, The Warzone, Terrance Martin and Azuré, alongside more well-known acts such as The Dogg Pound, Kurupt, Ray J and JT tha Bigga Figga. This is a different side of Snoop that we see here. It’s clear that he is relishing his role as beat maker, but a lot of the time it seems a little too derivative. There’s nothing here that matches his previous work, although that’s not to say there aren’t any decent tracks. 31 Flavours, featuring Kurupt, sounds like Snoop may have learned a thing or two from The Neptunes. Be Thankful has a slower beat, and is probably one of the better cuts on the album. Get Your Body Movin features Uncle Chuck on vocals in a track almost like a throwback to the Luther Vandross days. Damani spits hard on All About Damani, and treads the fine line between confidence and arrogance. Some people pull it off, some people don’t, Damani I think just manages to make it sound listenable. However it’s when Snoop has a catchy hook to work with that makes you think there is a career for him in producing beats. Pop Pop Bang! is one of the catchiest songs on the album, and is very reminiscent of Snoop’s earlier work, making it one of the stand outs here.
All in all, it’s a decent effort, but nothing to write home about. I guess a lot of people will get this record simply because it’s Snoop to the D-O-Double-Gizzle. There’s a lot to listen to on here, with about a 50/50 split between throwaway and decent tracks. Despite this, it’s Snoop, and no one can deny him his place in hip hop. He’s done the hard yards and he’s earned it. Just don’t expect this to be anything overly spectacular. Take it for what it is, part filler, part experiment to see if Snoop can hold down some beats and wait for his next solo album if you want some real quality.