December 8, 2009 | 1:21pm
What's to say about Long Beach native Snoop Dogg
that hasn't been said already? The last decade has afforded him the kind of mega-watt celebrity that seemed unreachable even when he reigned as California's favorite, fresh-off-the-block, gangsta rapper in the '90s. While his ever-expanding popularity will always afford more things to say about Snoopy de-oh-double gee, they won't exactly be "new" things. Judging by his latest album Malice n Wonderland
, the Doggfather seems content to deliver more of the same slick, club-banging joints that put him on the map as an undeniably universal MC in recent years.
The album title itself sounds a little cliche, though interviews with the rapper reveal Snoop's alternating mentality (i.e.hardcore gangster and happy, do-right family man) at various points on the album. All it took was a little bit of pop to glue the whole album together.
You may have already heard tracks like "Gangsta Luv" and "I Wanna Rock" (featuring a chopped and screwed hook, sampling Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two") burning up your radio speakers. With an undeniable penchant for tapping into what's current, both of these tracks are a fair barometer of what you can expect from the album. If there's one thing you can trust, it's that the ability to stay relevant in radio recquires producing a durable club jam. In that respect, Snoop's long time producers Timbaland, Teddy Riley and Terrance Martin help him do just that on songs like "That's Tha Homie" and "Upside Down". At certain points on "1800", produced by Lil' Jon, you'll find yourself licking some palpable southern fried flavor off your fingers.
Malice also packs a trio of notable R&B singers (The-Dream, R.Kelly and Brandy) that manage to slightly overshadow the role of the featured rappers (Soulja Boy, Nipsy Hussel and Problem). Other artists on the album include Jazmine Sullivan, Kokane and mega producers Pharrell and Lil Jon.
Though most of the record lacks that undeniable West Coast style that first made Snoop a star, there are some shards of the old master on Malice n Wonderland (i.e. "Different Languages", a laid-back ode to his loving wife Shante, and his Zapp-tastic track "Secrets," featuring a sample of The Romantic's "Talking in Your Sleep."
Chances are, most people are going to enjoy this record. That's because it's made for "most people". No one's saying that's a bad thing, but old-school devotees beware, the low-rider artwork on the front cover doesn't exactly reflect the music that's under the hood.