Tag Archives: Snoop Dogg

Song Review-Figure It Out by Wiz Khalifa produced by Sledgren & Cookin’ Soul

Song Review-Figure It Out by Wiz Khalifa produced by Sledgren & Cookin’ Soul

by Dan-O

I love Wiz Khalifa’s first album Show and Prove released in 2006. He was a 19 year old kid spitting fire and I loved his bars. It was not always an easy process watching him become this generations Snoop. By Kush and OJ I’d figured it out like everyone else but I still miss hungry Pittsburgh Sound Khalifa.

It might be weird to write about him now, a lot of important critics have probably pronounced his latest album Laugh Now, Fly Later another Khalifa album to ignore. I like it. It is the first post-monoculture Khalifa album. Laugh Now, Fly Later accepts that the spotlight he was trying to get back isn’t even there anymore. At this point he just needs to do what Curren$y does and focus on keeping his fans laced; the rest is what it is.

Songs like Stay Focused and City of Steel are back in any fans comfort zone. My favorite of all is Figure It Out. I am a documented Cookin’ Soul nut (don’t sleep on Sledgren either).  This beat feels like a Caribbean beach. Not only is Wiz in Rolling Papers form when singing the chorus, but it’s about something. The chorus is


“Sometimes things ain’t gon work out
How you think you want it to go
Sometimes you gotta keep going
When you think you can’t no more
Sometimes you can’t depend on
Who you think you can no more
Sometimes you gotta try, gotta try and
Figure it out”

He masters the tone of determined faith and energy while maintaining a meditative level of chill. You can hear him getting mad at people trying to derail him and letting go of that anger. Lyrically you can see it in the end of the second verse. “Goals, set em, achieve em/ Joints smoke em and leave em/ Ten toes, no matter the season/ Hot tub with my feet in/ Living comfortably cheesing.”  Figure It Out is the Wiz we need.  Every generation needs it’s Snoop; someone to buck the traditional RA-RA chest beating cadence and give you something to ride the speed limit to. For Wiz he’s at his best when he can give you the mood and some verses that mean something to him. I hope he’s building to that place and he can give us his own variation on Blue Carpet Treatment.


Mixtape Review-Jugg King by Young Scooter

Mixtape Review-Jugg King by Young Scooter

by Dan-O

From afar I like Young Scooter. When I think about how much trap has changed and how much Scooter’s new mixtape Jugg King is right in the pocket of F.B.G. The Movie mixtape from 2013 my overactive mind wanders. Does Scooter see these new happier trappers and see them as a disservice? Does he look down on them appropriating dealer culture while clearly not having the experience in it (by their own admission)? Is Scooter going to see my review and respond to me on twitter? The answer to all these questions is no, a firm no.

Scooter came into rap with beautiful hooks and a hypnotizing flow dedicating every word to dealing and being independent and he is the same today. If you listen to the title track this isn’t one of those rappers who had a fire in his belly when he started and has become jaded. Jugg King’s hook declares it “I do what I want, you do what you can.” How could he be jaded? He never fell underneath Gucci or Future’s wing, never took a spot on a deep roster of MC’s clamoring for number one. He just forged good relationships and maintained them which is why you still see Metro Boomin and Zaytoven on the production list after all these years. This is why you haven’t heard from him in a while and he drops a mixtape featuring Young Thug, Meek Mill, Young Dolph, and Future.

You can listen to Jugg King front to back a few times without picking out favorite songs.  Nothing throws Scooter off his spot, every verse is dope money and deceivers eating his dust.  You can just press play and drive. Even surprising turns fade into comfort; Cassius Jay takes Gin and Juice and flips it into a trap beat for Young Scooter who makes OG Snoop an absolutely weird joy. On Cook Up Young Thug’s purposely distorted voice clicks into synergy with Scooter’s cocksure Juvenile sense of melody, that is the group album that should grow out of Jugg King.

Scooter is great with guests but does not need them. Streets on Fire is a straightforward hi hat first beat produced by Stack Boy Twaun and Scooter deals like it is life’s greatest joy “Jugghouse on a one way, I got four in a row I sold more pounds than Boston George, motherfuck Diego I just stuffed a thousand pounds in a Winnebago” I tip my hat to anyone who can bow out of Jugg King on moral implications. If you don’t want drug dealing to be glorified and Jugg King is too much of an advertisement for the wrong message I get it. Scooter is just too much of a snake charmer for me to let go. He knows how to sway with his tone in subtle softer ways like on Life which gets somber and mixes in anger, pride, shame, and parental joy.

His grand sense of DIY means I don’t even have to ponder his next move. He’s signed to his own label (Black Migo Gang). He’s the Xzibit of trap music. The same way X could jump on Snoop’s album, get Dre to produce for his album and never have to sign to any of them is how Scooter navigates between Freebandz (Future) and 1017 Brick Squad (Gucci) while never losing anyone’s respect. It’s impossible to even watch him sweat under the lights. He’s still smiling.

Stream or download below:


Song of The Year-Super Crip by Snoop Dogg produced by Just Blaze

Song of The Year-Super Crip by Snoop Dogg produced by Just Blaze

by Dan-O

I’m not going to waste any time trying to convince you that Snoop Dogg’s new album Coolaid is remarkable and one of the best albums of 2016. If you’re reading this it’s likely that your image of Snoop is very close to Flavor Flav and just can’t be changed. I grew up under him. My Dad came in my room and warned me to never mention Snoop to my mother. She saw the news and he was the most dangerous rapper alive. Dangerous like the Stones had been for him. Snoop Dogg cds had been steamrolled and he was officially every parent’s nightmare. The warning was too late.

He taught me who Slick Rick was along with the dangers of violence. So his wacky BS goofy albums (looking at you Bush) actually make me angry while younger generations chuckle at silly ol’ Uncle Snoop. Who do you think wrote The Chronic?! That mind is still in there underneath that profitable persona. Coolaid is the return of that Snoop I love, the Top Dogg Snoop, the Blue Carpet Treatment Snoop where funny business is at a minimum.

On Super Crip he’s focused. Just Blaze served him the sharpest, cleanest, samurai sword of a West Coast banger and he reasserts himself “creepin’ through the fog and steppin’ through the smog” to do what Raekwon did with Cuban Linx 2; go out the way you came in; at your best.

The real exciting thing about this song is it upholds my hypothesis that Just Blaze is having the best 2016 of any producer. He’s not oversaturated by any means but he hasn’t been playing the background either. Freedom from Beyonce’s Lemonade (featuring Kendrick Lamar) is one of the years five most important beats (songs probably) and while Snoop’s Coolaid enlists a powerhouse cast of producers that includes Timbaland, Jazze Pha, Swizz Beatz, Daz Dillinger, J Dilla, Cardo, Notz no one gives Snoop a better beat. Super Crip is a gorgeous listen and much credit goes to Snoop for waking up from his giggly pimp cup stupor but it was probably the beat that woke him.


#ThrowbackThursday album review-R.A.W. by Daz Dillinger

#ThrowbackThursday album review-R.A.W. by Daz Dillinger

by Dan-O

The first rap album you ever heard…maybe it was Kanye or Jay if you were young, maybe it was The Chronic or something if you’re my age…doesn’t matter. The real question you should be asking; what was the first rap album you owned that you KNEW was independent. When did you first make the choice to buy outside the system?

My answer is Daz Dillinger’s album R.A.W. you see by the time No Limit was putting out independent hit albums I was buying them but with no idea they were independent. I knew it was platinum I knew it was good but the specifics didn’t register. 2015 has been full of talk about the big names using smaller names; Kanye using Travis Scott, Drake ripping off people for hits. Lots of imagery is being evoked like vampires and parasites because the musical public only really see’s the outcome and they don’t know who made what.

Daz did a lot for Death Row records. When Dre didn’t want to walk into the gladiator pit that was Death Row Daz would produce so he gave us hit after hit for Pac, Snoop, and produced his own Dogg Pound collaboration album Dogg Food with Kurupt. All the while Dre’s name was everywhere(in the largest print imaginable) as if he was masterminding it all. I never heard Daz complain. Not before R.A.W.

It really begins (sorry Super Cuz) with one of the most memorable gang documentary sampled introductions in rap history called Street Gangs. The interviewer’s subject speaks about the strength and fearlessness of surviving gunshots, having taken the worst you can take & your still there. This is exactly how Daz felt after the Death Row diaspora that sent Dre to found Aftermath and Snoop to No Limit. It left virtually no place for the heart of the batting order: Bad Azz, Soopafly, Kurupt, and Daz. So instead of doing the interview circuit and circulating feelings of being left behind (looking at you Beanie Sigel) he founded his own label DPG Recordz and sold over a hundred thousand copies of R.A.W. with NO publicity.

While his Death Row album Revenge, Retaliation, and Get Back from 1998 (R.A.W. is 2000) has a gorgeous cover of a demon and an angel in a chess game as exactly the same person (you need to see it if you haven’t https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retaliation,_Revenge_and_Get_Back#/media/File:Daz_Dillinger_-_Retaliation,_Revenge_%26_Get_Back.jpg ) R.A.W. is just shirtless Daz staring with naked frustration into the camera. The thing that really educated me circa 2000 ,in the art of being independent, is how much R.A.W. sounds as brazen and top shelf as anything in the Death Row catalog. This iz Not Over Til We Say So is a rider song worthy of All Eyez On Me disc one. When Ya Lease Exspected starts with Daz yelling “Motherf#$% CHA-POW!” and seethes with the kind of perfectly sung chorus and cool kid in class menace that defined the Dogg Pound arm of Death Row. It was the first time I understood the brand doesn’t make the music… the people do and they can make it just as well without the brand.

Relistening to R.A.W. is always eye opening. It doesn’t star the kind of super hero Rambo gangster a lot of 90’s rap treaded on. He makes you feel the lump in his throat and nervousness as someone approaches on Who’s Knocc’n At My Door. He’s smoking and thinking about his life and then that sound comes…is it the police…a customer….a friend? The beat is noticeably soulful and personable; he wants you to understand. Later on when he’s cavorting w/ Soopafly and Mac-Shawn to knock boots with other people’s girlfriends(on Your Gyrlfriend 2) you realize that it connects; the sense of violence and constant loss makes it difficult to connect in a real relationship so it’s better to treat sexual encounters like fast food; just get it and go. While they seem cocky and cackling about it, you can hear the defense mechanism. On Itz All About The Money he starts with “It’s another bad day in the hood….” He’s exhausted at a certain point. The album title stands for Ready And Willing. The title track is hands down the hardest, nastiest cut and Kurupt is very excited to jump on it. This album was partially for Kurupt, selling him on going independent, getting a larger slice of the money and control. Kurupt eventually went back to Death Row and the evil you know rather than the evil you don’t. He would definitely regret it. Kurupt is not one of the top five or ten greatest MC’s or rappers of all time because he is a weapon. He may steal the verse but Daz composes the song, creates the hook, figures out the sequencing of the track. Being the best rapper is not just about bars. I guess nobody ever wondered why Kurupt’s best work is always with Daz.

On some songs the weight of being the guy in the shadows gets directly addressed. I’ve listened to What It Iz countless times where he spits betrayal but not in the safe wholly vague way. The insinuations are for Death Row and for Snoop, stating emphatically in the last verse “That pimp sh_t don’t impress me nor phase me…all that f#$#% work I did for ya’ll and ya’ll can’t pay me?! Simple as I can say it F@*^ ya’ll.” His pessimism is spiritual. He flips the hook of What It Iz into the song Baccstabber with Mark Morrison and Tray Dee where Morrison (yes Return of the Mack Morrison) says over and over “Thought you were my brother, but you ain’t no brother…” Daz has a clear solution to the problem, they stab my back I stab them back. Which makes it fitting that the album carries a song called I’d Rather Lie 2 Ya (Kurupt and Tray Dee feature) with the hook “I’d Rather Lie 2 Ya Than Sell You Hope,” While the landscape is stark this isn’t depression. This is still a young man feeling his powers who believes he can take over the world and if he fails…he’ll still be able to say he tried.

That’s what R.A.W. means. Ready for anything, willing to do anything to survive and the violence is a real backdrop but also professionally symbolic of the environment a left behind genius is forced to traverse. I think about it a lot. Especially when a new artist is faced with a post OVO, post GOOD music, post whatever-goliath-machine-you-want-to-insert career. I always root for them to go R.A.W.

BUY or sample R.A.W. below:


Mixtape Review-Prohibition by Berner & B-Real

Mixtape Review-Prohibition by Berner & B-Real

by Dan-O

Mixtapes give upcoming artists a chance to put together something that purely reflects them; not vetted by record executives and plotted for the radio. It also gives the major and middle class artists a chance to drop something cool out of nowhere. Prohibition falls into the second category. Far from a tear-soaked confessional Berner and B-Real come together for a merry celebration of legalized marijuana (in Colorado and other places).

If you need proof this is an A-list event just look at the track listing. Features include Devin The Dude, Snoop Dogg, and multiple stuck in your head hooks from Wiz Khalifa (not to mention a production credit from Harry Fraud).

Berner has been a commodity for a while. His flow moves at a trudge but he knows what good rap sounds like (evidenced here by co-production credit on Faded). His slower assured flow finds a perfect fit in front of B-Real’s pinched voice and faster pace on Prohibitions first song Shatter. Berner is one of those perfectly self sufficient dudes who makes a great musical accomplice. Not only is he used to doing it all himself but his sound is big enough to welcome just about anyone comfortably in it. On Faded (which samples my favorite Jay-Z beat) Berner ends the first verse with a cool tip of the hat to B-Real “sh#t I burned my first joint to…Cypress Hill” acknowledging that you will likely listen to this for B-Real and he’s fine with that. He is the Arn Anderson to B-Real’s Ric Flair (#prowrestlingreference).

Cozmo and Maxwell Smart keep things moving with big screen production that pulses and pounds like a speaker avalanche. All the hooks are super catchy and everyone knows what Prohibition is supposed to achieve. Fun. Beyond the excitement of big names and sweet hooks over car rattling beats its great to have B-Real back.

It was Method Man who said once when you are dope your always dope you don’t lose that. I don’t agree. If you don’t move, your muscles turn to mush and if you don’t spit dope verses….you lose your place in the process of creating them. It takes time to get it back and a lot of veterans don’t ever get it back. Over the last few years B-Real has been WORKING. His guest verse on the Curren$y track ET was remarkable when compared to low points on Stoned Raiders. I don’t think new school artists like Khalifa, Curren$y, and Berner are propping the old dog up. It’s the opposite. B-Real is determined to be dope. He sounds right at home on the Taylor Gang pimptastic anthem Breeze. He can still rip through a hardcore beat but he doesn’t need too. He’s adept enough to adapt without sounding corny. This is still the B-Real that spit smoker verses from your old boom box into the smoke clouds of your cold garage. For proof listen to him on 1 Hit “I got a dab on the nail…inhale. Got the flavors flowing outta my lungs when I exhale. Man I’m riding on a cloud hovering over the crowd…” that could have been from the Friday soundtrack. All that Prohibition achieves it does in only 8 tracks with the title track being a skit. It’s a concise love letter to not only weed but the weed song and all the surreal lushness of its landscape. I’ve never smoked marijuana in my life but man do I love a weed song. The high points of Prohibition are enough to cause a contact high.

Stream of download Prohibition below:

Song Review-Bab​y Come Around by IZA produced by Snoop Dogg

Song Review-Bab​y Come Around by IZA produced by Snoop Dogg

by Dan-O

I could probably get you interested in the mixtape Flower In The Jungle by IZA with a simple tagline. Polish singer does a DJ Skee mixtape produced entirely by Snoop Dogg. Those components alone would make a lot of rap fans press play just to hear what comes out.

It’s weird to think about but few rappers know R&B, Soul, or Funk as well as Snoop does. I know that Snoop collaborates across most musical genres; reggae with Snoop Lion and country collabs with Willie Nelson but this is a dude that name dropped Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes on an interlude on his first album (and worked with The Dramatics on the same album). So he produces this under the thesis that by powering up his time machine for 1977 and taking his hip hop knowledge back to disco the outcome will fit.

The Lean On Me cover is weird the Let’s Wait Awhile is even weirder but I like it. Snoop never tries to produce outside of his capabilities. He keeps it funky while her vocals remain clean and crisp and warm. Lyrically the songs have mobility and can talk about love at an upbeat hit-the-dancefloor pace without seeming awkward.

Flower In The Jungle seems like it was fun to make. You can imagine Snoops mostly closed eyes and silly smile, bobbing his head, as this track plays back for the first time in the studio. That fun is infectious and makes this collaboration one of 2014’s real gems.

Song of The Year-The Imperial featuring Action Bronson, Royce Da 5’9 and Black Thought produced by Statik Selektah

Song of The Year-The Imperial featuring Action Bronson, Royce Da 5’9 and Black Thought produced by Statik Selektah

by Dan-O

The most popular DJ albums fall into one of two categories. The first is the super-producer putting the most popular artists together to line up as many radio hits as possible. If even one record breaks in a big way the DJ gets a new car. Not trying to run down this approach. I need great radio singles like everyone else.

The second kind is the massively well respected producer, underground or on the popular border, who uses his great beats to gather all the most interesting guests together. Statik Selektah and maybe Marco Polo fit into this category. Statik’s new album What Goes Around is absolutely fantastic in terms of track chemistry; Snoop Dogg raps with Ransom on a song, Noreaga, Reks and Termanology share the track Drunk and High. At first you might look at the tracklist and ask why Bun B and Jared Evan are on a song together but you can always trust in Statik Selektah.

Not only is this the kind of producer who never stops working (even to sleep) but his ear for MC talent is as good as his ear for song construction. He not only got Action, Black Thought and Royce together on a track, he got hungry top-of-his-game Black Thought. This is the Black Thought who ran side by side with Pun on Capital Punishment. Is it the catchiest song of the year? Does it have Jhene Aiko singing seductively? No and no but if you are walking around yapping about the lack of lyricism in rap this might sink your battleship. While this song is definitely on a higher level because of the collection of talent all the songs are formed with hard as nails wordsmiths and gritty, jazzy boom bap minimalism.

If the trashy rap makes you feel gross this is your hot shower.