Tha Dogg Pound
Last night, the Observatory was packed like it was a continuation of the A$AP Ferg show the night before or the back-to-back Travi$ Scott and Young Thug tour-stop last weekend. However, it wasn't a Kanye West-affiliated rapper or another popular star of hip-hop's current generation putting on a sold-out show. It was Tha Dogg Pound, a Snoop Dogg-assisted pairing between Long Beach legend Daz Dillinger and verbose rap veteran Kurupt that's been in various forms of activity for over 20 years. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the pair's classic debut album, Dogg Food, the duo took the stage at The Observatory to celebrate and perform the album.
Aided by an army-like entourage and animated mascot dressed as a crip-walking dog, Tha Dogg Pound took the main stage at the Observatory to play a laundry list of songs from their formidable career. From album cuts made during the Death Row era to a timeless, California favorite off Dr. Dre's The Chronic 2001, the gangsta rap heroes took on a wide range of songs.
See also: Five Overlooked Dogg Pound Jams
Starting with a more low-slung, insular spitting session from Kurupt, the concert began by showing signs that it'd be a clinic in the sort of acrobatic, lyrical athletics that earned the act's debut its status as slept-on classic 90's rap. Once Kurupt launched into a performance of his chart-making Streetz Iz A Mutha hit and Daz collaboration "Who Ride Wit Us," the show's feel and sound was pretty much decided on the spot. Though more intricate, early career salvos such as "Respect," "Dogg Pound Gangstaz," the sobering "Reality" and Snoop Dogg's vicious, menacing "Serial Killa" were performed to bar-to-bar perfection and with nimble cadences matching the tracks' studio formats, Dogg Pound's anniversary celebration of Dogg Food was just that: a celebration.
Understated champions of the old-school west coast sound such and Dogg Food collaborators such as RBX and Lady of Rage were brought out to put on spirited performances. The recently reunited Eastsidaz took center-stage to perform a couple street classics. His westside majesty, Magic Don Juan lurked from the sidelines, sparkling pimp-cup in hand.
Enough tag-alongs and friends of the group and their affiliates to set up their own crowd filled the immediate area behind the performers. This was basically a backyard barbecue crossed with an over-the-top house party, just with a near-over-packed audience in attendance. Concertgoers reciprocated the performers' approach as well, the whole crowd nearly shouting in unison to Kurupt's verse on Snoop Dogg's instantly-recognizable "Ain't No Fun" and reacting best when the songs played were the most light-hearted and party-friendly.
Mid-way through their show, Tha Dogg Pound shared some advice Snoop Dogg shared with them: this whole rap career thing isn't too fun unless you, well, have fun. And, with their performance last night, that's just what the group and their crew did. Dogg Food isn't a "Top 100" listicle worthy piece of music because of its ability to generate impromptu parties the moment you press play, but its celebration was less of a purist-friendly song-for-song reenactment and more of a vehicle for everyone to enjoy what Tha Dogg Pound have to offer as a live act and toast to the duo's once-in-a-lifetime career.