Tonight, The Observatory in Santa Ana welcomes one of West Coast hip-hopʼs most dependable duos, Tha Dogg Pound. Consisting of Kurupt and Daz Dillinger, their now two-decades long partnership (minus a brief early-2000s falling out) has proven to be one of the most consistent tag-teams in rap. With seven full-length albums together,thereʼs no shortage of Dogg Pound jams. However, when you factor in how prolific both have been in their solo career, quite a few Dogg Pound tracks have happened over the years that havenʼt fallen on any official Dogg Pound releases. While we all know and love 1999ʼs "Who Ride Wit Us" off of Kuruptʼs Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha, thereʼs a plethora of worthwhile Dogg Pound cuts that have somewhat fallen through the cracks. Hereʼs our picks for five overlooked Dogg Pound jams.
DJ Clue featuring Jay-Z, Kurupt, Daz, Memphis Bleek and Beanie Sigel - "Change the Game (Remix)" 2001
Out of an early 2000s DJ Clue-curated composition comes this remix of Jay-Zʼs "Change the Game." Already a more-than-solid posse cut with the assistance from Memphis Bleek and Beanie Sigel when it first appeared on Jayʼs 2000 Dynasty album, "Change the Gameʼs" remix here boasts entirely new lyrics and patterns from the Rocʼs brightest starts, now joined by Tha Dogg Pound for more intricate back-and-forth flows. Itʼs a really great and unexpected mix of styles and exemplifies what made those DJ Clue mixtapes so great.
Daz Dillinger featuring Kurupt and E-40 - "Gettin Money" 2007
Just as the Bay Area is hours from Los Angeles, both sceneʼs rap styles are distinctly worlds apart, despite often being erroneously lumped together by listeners who arenʼt familiar with American and hip-hop geography. Bay icon E-40 joining Tha Dogg Pound on a record in 2007 when both cities had their most conflicting styles required the planets to align for producer John Silva to lace the three of them for "Gettin Money" off of Dazʼs Gangsta Party album. All sound right at home in a venn diagram of post-hyphy digital funk.
Kurupt featuring Daz Dillinger and Snoop Dogg - "All I Need (Triple OG Mix)" 2007
A big reason why both Dogg Pound and Snoop Dogg have maintain relevancy in hip- hop for so long is that theyʼve not only kept with the times, but made it a point to always be ahead of their time as well. On the OG mix of "All I Need," which had an entirely different beat, verses and flows on Kuruptʼs The Frank and Jess Story project he did with Roscoe, Snoop and the Pound snap as only OGs can on a beat that even now, eight years later, feels like the rap world still hasnʼt caught up to it.
Kurupt featuring Daz Dillinger, Suga Free and Soopafly - "Pay Me" 2010
While Daz was unfortunately absent from Kuruptʼs 2009 duet album with DJ Quik, Blaqkout, we got the three of them, joined by the always welcome Suga Free and Soopafly the next year with "Pay Me." Produced by DJ Quik, this iTunes bonus track from Kuruptʼs 2010 album Streetlights is erratic, exciting and always engaging. Really one of the strangest records any party has been involved with, and one of the most fun.
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Daz Dillinger featuring Kurupt - "My Homegirl" 2011
One of those infectious beats that immediately conjures up images of the Los Angeles skyline the second you hear the synths, "My Homegirl" just feels like one of those slick nights at the club tracks. Kurupt and Dazʼs tales of female companionship slide perfectly into the soundscape for a track thatʼs g-funk enough for any midnight cruisinʼ mix made in the past 30 years.