Later, people would also recognize
D-A-Z as the producer of classic Death Row jams like “Tha Doggfather”
and “Ambitionz Az A Ridah”. Unfortunately, after swooping under the
mainstream radar following his departure from Tha Row, the West Coast
figure would become as well known for his controversial interviews and
questionable independent output as he would for his best material. With
major-backed set So So Gangsta (So So Def/Virgin), this Dogg
Pound ‘G’ has a bone to pick with anyone who dared to dismiss his
talents after leaving Suges one-time empire.
Beginning with the ominous “Thang On My Hip”, the rapper lays
waste to his lyrical adversaries over a thunderous No I.D. production
that refuses to let up on its menace. Warning the hypothetical
opposition that he keeps his weapon of choice by his side, Daz’s
subject matter harks back to the lyricism of Dogg Food, albeit not quite as fresh as it once sounded. Needless to say, many of the cuts on offer here live up to the albums
eyebrow raising title. The self-explanatory “Rat-A-Tat-Tat” works well
because Daz’s flow sounds as good here as it did in his Death Row
heyday, and another classic beat ensures some sloppy lyrics can be
forgiven. Other tracks don’t fare quite as well: haven’t we heard
enough odes to being a Dogg Pound Gangsta without another in the form
of the mediocre “DPG Fo’ Life”?
In the presence of strong company, Daz excels. “Strizap” is saved from being another
gun homage via a stellar Ice Cube verse that motivates Dillinger to
come with his ‘A’ game. On “Weekend”, meanwhile, it’s nothin’ but a
gangsta party, with an inspired JD production and the sultry vocals of
Johnta Austin combining to provide a clear standout.
Theres no question that some will be put off by Dazs relentless
gangsta persona, which is certainly beginning to show some age.
However, great production work from Scott Storch (“Money On My Mind”)
and, of course, Daz himself, coupled with the sheer energy that
pulsates through every offering, means So So Gangsta avoids the dog house. Having said that, this canine could stand to showcase some newer tricks next time he’s unleashed.