Snoop Doggs presence in the game has become an industry standard; that very same industry continues to expand and change. Now we see Snoop as a large icon who, as he has said himself is "the only muthaf***a that can do porno, coach football, and have a cooking show, and rap all at once. His newest effort Ego Trippin (Geffen) is a testament to his multitasking and the glossy persona that comes with it. The lead up "Sensual Seduction" has the 70's funk feel that is both minimalistic by today's standards, yet layered like a throwback groove. This should draw attention to what looks like another opportunity for Snoop to change the game and progress on T-Pains modulation work.
Still, this album shows the duality of Hip-Hop, and how the more branching out an MC does, the thinner his or her focus can become on the foundation of their rhyme. Snoop has even admitted to using ghostwriters on this album, justifying this with what's good for Diana Ross can't be bad for Hip-Hop. However, with these aspects in mind, there are still moments of classic Snoop, that help to salvage this album.
Sets Up" is a track that recalls the feeling created on "Beautiful" with a quicker tempo and more focused intent. There is no wooing, just pimpish productivity. The low end organs and delayed congas create a strolled feeling with Colgate cool synths over each chorus in a style only Pharrell could create.
On a more introspective note, "Neva Have 2 Worry" is Snoops account of his storied fifteen year career. He goes through his early beginnings and even touches on his problems with Suge Knight over light bass licks: Im finally out / And the critics hate on me because I went to the South / Said I wasnt going to shine, had me left for dead / Switch sides now my old boss want me dead.
"Press Play, produced by DJ Quik, has a horn feel similar to "Roc Boys" during the intro, but then moves towards a more solid soul vibe, with waves of harmonies crashing atop of the mix. The catchy "Cool" is Snoop's rendition of The Times 1981 classic of the same name, easily keeps the nostalgic vibes current.
Doggs thriving artistic ambition doesnt always succeed on this project though. Snoop dabbles with Country love ballads on My Medicine, but the result is the classic example of Rap experimention gone wrong. Even Whitey Ford on the guitar couldnt save this musical misstep.
While this album treads outside of what we sometimes expect from the Dogg, we also understand that we never really know what to expect from a man who is still changing. It's not what you would label a "maturity" album, because if we have learned anything from him, we know that every time we look to a style, he will change it, thus rationalizing why he gets respect to justify his Ego Trippin.