Tha Dogg Pound: Death Row Presents Tha Dogg Pound 2002

Tha Dogg Pound: Death Row Presents Tha Dogg Pound 2002

-
Album: Death Row Presents Tha Dogg Pound 2002
Label: Death Row
-
Album: Death Row Presents Tha Dogg Pound 2002
Label: Death Row

Community Grade

  • A
  • A-
  • B+
  • B
  • B-
  • C+
  • C
  • C-
  • D+
  • D
  • D-
  • F
?

Your Grade

?

Since defiantly Crip-walking his way through classic Death Row releases like Dr. Dre's The Chronic and Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle, Kurupt has established himself as the gangsta rapper's gangsta rapper, alternately beloved and hated for his dedication to the genre's nihilistic code of ethics. Although originally from Philadelphia, Kurupt zealously took to the hedonistic life of a West Coast thug, representing his turf, gang, and clique with the belligerent, cocky sneer of a James Cagney antihero. For all his swaggering nihilism, Kurupt has become incredibly popular within the hip-hop community, where his offbeat flow has graced countless albums and singles. Kurupt called in plenty of favors for Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey, his third solo album. In addition to the usual suspects (Snoop Dogg, Daz Dillinger, Nate Dogg, Soopafly), he also tapped ringers like DJ Lethal, Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst, guitar-strumming troubadour Everlast, and Natina Reed of Blaque. Reed also happens to be Kurupt's fiancée, which helps explain her presence on the album's inconceivably saccharine first single, "It's Over," a toxic piece of commercial fluff that wouldn't sound out of place on a Rugrats soundtrack. At least "It's Over" is an anomaly. Space Boogie is otherwise devoted to unapologetic gangsta rap in the proud West Coast tradition, with executive producer and chief beatsmith Fred Wreck playing Dr. Dre to Kurupt's insouciant Snoop Dogg. But a little Kurupt goes a long way. The rapper is usually at his best on guest appearances, where he's able to make a quick, striking impression without wearing out his welcome. At album length, Kurupt's gangsta orthodoxy can be deadening and monomaniacal, although Wreck's Dre-styled beats keep Smoke Boogie consistently listenable, if seldom remarkable. Kurupt also constitutes half of Tha Dogg Pound, whose 2002 is the latest in a series of Death Row releases featuring artists who left the label under less-than-favorable circumstances. (In other words, just about everybody it ever signed.) Like Snoop Dogg's Dead Man Walking, 2002 consists largely of material left over from Dillinger and Kurupt's Death Row days, along with some new and remixed material. As with many recent Death Row releases, 2002's patchwork mixture of new and old results in more than a few jarring, seemingly paradoxical moments, as when Snoop Dogg is dissed for being a snitch on "Living The Gangsta Life," then turns up on both "Every Single Day" and "Smoke." Similarly, 2Pac puts in an arbitrary, Notorious B.I.G.-disparaging posthumous appearance on "Don't Stop," only to have B.I.G.'s best friend Jay-Z pop up and pay tribute to both slain rappers on the "Change The Game" remix, which would be a highlight if it hadn't already appeared on DJ Clue's last album. Overall, 2002 seldom transcends its origins, but it does have its moments. "Smoke" and the Wreck-produced "Gangsta Rap" recall the blunted heyday of Death Row, while "Feels Good" is uncharacteristically sweet, upbeat, and propulsive. Such moments are few and far between, however, and 2002 is generally as fruitless and unrewarding as it is creepy and exploitative.

More Music Review