When Snoop Doggy Dogg first asked us to creep with him as he strolled through the scene in 1992, we were introduced to a man who would become one of the genre’s most recognizable figures. More than 17 years after first appearing on “Deep Cover,” Snoop’s still supplying the game with songs that have “Gangsta” in the title. Sure, it may not be the same now as it was then but some things have remained. The Doggfather is still the charismatic and compelling figure he’s always been and he’s still the clever entrepreneur. Recently, he’s juggled a rap career, a television show, a football league, various Doggy-fied products and a family. With the release of Malice N Wonderland, his tenth album to date, he hopes to maintain his position as one the game’s favorites.
We all know his rhymes are not complicated. His topics aren’t very thought provoking and his titles aren’t particularly creative (check “Pimpin’ Ain’t EZ” and “Gangsta Luv”). Still, the slim G with the tilted brim carries the presence of a Rap titan on the mic and thus stays engaging throughout. With his patented laid back flow, Snoop glides through nearly every track with ease keeping his flow intact on street driven anthems (“2 Minute Warning”) and radio friendly joints for the ladies (check The-Dream assisted “Gangsta Luv”). For the most part, the album is consistently average but the main standout cut here is “Special,” which features Brandy and Pharrell, a sign that Snoop can still churn out a hit or two.
Much like with his last couple of releases, it’s not all commendable. The Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em-assisted “Pronto” and the dismal “That’s tha Homie” are definite low points. While songs like “I Wanna Rock” and “Different Languages” are exceptional instrumentals, tracks like “Upside Down” and the aforementioned “Pronto” and “That’s tha Homie” stand out for other reasons. Another gripe would be with some of the guests. Sure, Jazmine Sullivan and Kokane make valuable contributions but others like Soulja Boy, Nipsey Hussle and Problem bring the quality down a notch. It’s not that Snoop doesn’t make up for some of this; it’s that he shouldn’t have to.
Overall, the album could be stronger but Snoop carries on smoothly as always. One can’t blame The Doggfather as he runs with a formula that’s made him the life of the party for years, not to mention a few millions. While it may no longer be innovative and while it’s definitely not as influential, Snoop can still deliver when he has to. Malice N Wonderland doesn’t strengthen the D-O-Double G’s legacy but it does nothing to damage it.