Wednesday, July 05, 2006

the 90's just keep coming back

Tha Dogg Pound
"Cali Iz Active"

The time machine otherwise known as pop music just keeps churning out long forgotten hitmakers of yesteryear as Snoop Dogg's posse, Tha Dogg Pound gets another run for the gold with their new album, "Cali Iz Active."

Tha Dogg Pound was probably one of the most overlooked groups on the old Death Row roster (word to Lady of Rage), though their core members had as much to do with the label's success as their iconic logo. Daz produced the bulk of Death Row's non-Dre catalog, particularly in the label's heyday (1993-1995) and Kurput was easily the strongest emcee, perhaps better than the label's bread and butter, Snoop and 2Pac. Though their debut, "Dogg Food," was as strong as it could be, it was followed by a series of disappointing group and solo releases, as well as public fueding between the duo and Death Row.

"Cali Iz Active" finds Daz and Kurupt adding Snoop to their group, thus making a trio, though it should be noted that the O.G. duo still handles a bulk of the work.

When it comes to the gangsta rap genre, time typically does not side with the artist and such is the case with Tha Dogg Pound. They try their best to act has if the downtime between 1997 and 2003 never happened and as a result there are tired songs such as "It's Craccin All Nite" (which rips off Dead Prez's anthemic "Hip-Hop") and "Fakenass Hoes" are buried within the tracklisting. These songs are pretty sad attempts to show DPG's diverse sound. Yeah, right.

The best tracks, "Kushin' N Pushin," "Keep It Gangsta," and "It's All Hood," center around Daz's classic production techniques, which rely heavily on west coast soul samples. It's everything that Cube's "Laugh Now, Cry Later" wasn't.

"Cali Iz Active" describes the strengths of the album best; while Daz and Kurupt attempt to modernize their sound, they succeed when they brandish their blue bandanas and walk the familiar gangsta lines that made them so great to begin with.


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