When Snoop Dogg--one of the decade's biggest-selling rappers--decided to cast his lot with Master P's phenomenally successful No Limit label for his new album, he was acquiring not only marketplace muscle, but a very particular musical approach that has made No Limit the biggest hip-hop success story since Snoop's former label, Death Row.
Although Snoop is the first No Limit artist with a proven track record and a sound that's familiar to millions of listeners, it hasn't deterred him from collaborating with No Limit's crew of producers and artists to create an album that dutifully conforms to the latter's sonic criteria.
For Snoop, that means departing from the depth-charge beats and squiggly synth sounds that powered his biggest hits in favor of a dense fusion of R&B; vocals, spare rhythm tracks and electric keyboards tossing off swatches of melody. For the most part, it makes for a good fit; Snoop's heavy-lidded raps are compatible with Master P and Co.'s laid-back grooves.
But while the No Limit crew may have tinkered somewhat with Snoop's sound, lyrically it's still the same old song. Snoop continues to be obsessed with money, power, women and his own royal Snoop-ness, and it gets a bit tedious over 21 tracks. Still, for those who may have written off Snoop as an irrelevant gangsta rap holdover, this album proves there's still some bite in him yet.
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