Snoop Dogg - Ego Trippin

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Snoop’s first album Doggystyle was such a seminal genre-changing release that almost every one of his releases since that point has paled in comparison. That was 15 years ago and besides the odd tune off one of his nine studio albums, his musical allure has been somewhat tarnished. That being said, it is not Snoop’s music which makes him so popular, it’s his personality. Locally, this is what made him the surprise spliff-smoking hit at last years Good Vibrations. Internationally, his rather amusing tangential explorations into the adult entertainment industry, reality television and Hollywood comedy cameos have seen sporadic success, but nothing like that which came with his early Death Row collaborations with Dr Dre.

So it was some trepidation and a little bit of hope that I put his ninth studio album Ego Trippin into the long player. Teddy Riley, the Rnb producer made famous for his work with Michael Jackson in the nineties, produces several tracks and well, makes them sound like Rnb tracks from the nineties. The liberal use of chimes and synthesised voices on SD Is Out do not help the track at all. Snoop’s voice adds some credibility but the beat takes liberal inspiration from the productions of Pharrel on Snoop’s very own Drop It Like It’s Hot. It’s not a bad song, it’s just that it seems like a mishmash of different sub-genres that were once popular but now are not. The result is an indistinct song that is largely unremarkable.

DJ Quik adds some credability with Press Play which features tight production and a sexy brass solo. The Neptunes’ ongoing collaboration with Snoop thanks to the Geffen label continues with Sets Up. However, it lacks the pop cross-over likability of their past work, but still packs a punch with some interesting percussion and the odd piece of vocal gymnastics.

You’ve probably all heard Sexual Eruption which sounds like the love child of booty bass and an R Kelly album, although I should probably never put child and R Kelly in a sentence again. But I digress. Much of the album was no doubt designed as background music for making the beast with two backs. However, Snoop dedicates My Medicine to “his main man Johnny Cash: a real American gangsta”. I haven’t quite worked out if it’s a piss-take yet. I imagine it seemed like a good idea at the time but it sounds more like a stoned junkie swallowed a country & western jukebox and then stumbled into a Coen brothers film.

After saying all that, Ego Trippin is probably one of the better albums Snoop has released in the last decade. Allegedly he was going to have no other artists feature on the album as he wanted it to just be his, hence the title. But there was always going to a bevy of superstar producers so that was never going to happen. Yet somehow this album retains some of the old Snoop that we loved. Perhaps it is the heady RnB flavour throughout or the lashings of funk, but I think if Snoop released this album in the eighties or the nineties, it may well have been a hit. However, for the here and now, it is too little hit and too much miss, or trip as the case may be.

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