Lupe Fiasco may have the album title to his name, but there is no denying that Snoop Dogg is truly, the cool. Throughout his long, remarkable career S-N-double-O-P has made his share of mistakes, and his share of bad music, but seldom has he ever lost his appeal. Who else can release a series of porn and still have Fortune 500 companies knock down their door to shill their products? Snoop‘s cool has often translated into his music; see the minimalist genius of “Drop It Like It’s Hot” or his cover of Slick Rick‘s “La Di Da Di.” Who else could do Ricky D‘s swagger justice but Snoop? But more often than not, especially later in the career, Snoop‘s charisma hasn’t translated into great records.
With Ego Trippin’ Doggy Dogg throws all his hats in and an LP that basically says “fuck it, I’m Snoop and I can make whatever the hell I please.” Ego Trippin’ indeed. Snoop begins with “A Word Witchya,” a rather pointless intro, especially when you’ve already got 20 songs to plow through. The real jump off is “Press Play,” a nice, triumphant jam with Kurupt supplying the hook. “SD Is Out” is the first of several tracks in which the Doggy Dogg takes it back a few decades working with the legendary Teddy Riley. “Gangsta Like Me” may not rock the vocoder on the hook, but it continues the vibe perfectly.
Speaking of T-Pain‘s career crutch, you’ve all heard the audacious “Sexual Eruption” by now. Snoop crooning dirty raps through a vocoder over 80’s R&B production? As long as you don’t take it seriously, it’s awesome. If you copped this album expecting “Tha Shiznit Pt.2” you’ll hate it, but if you’ve accepted that Snoop is never going to be the young Doberman again, then its all gravy. The same goes for “Cool,” which is Snoop singing again (minus the vocoder) over what could easily pass as a Purple Rain leftover. No Prince cameo? Snoop continues the ego trippin’ and dips into some country music with a tribute to Johnny Cash on “My Medicine.” Snoop singing about the sticky over Everlast‘s guitar licks? Again, it’s great stuff.
Snoop does do some rapping here as well, “Neva Have 2 Worry” is a dope and honest autobiography, for a veteran you just can’t go wrong with tracks like this. The latest single, “Life of Da Party,” featuring Too $hort and Mistah F.A.B. is a banging synth infused club joint that does the trick. Whether or not he wrote the verse, Snoop sounds pretty energized on the mic here. Proving their magic together one more time, “Sets Up” with Pharrell is easily one of the albums best. The quality tracks continue to roll out; “Waste of Time” with Raphael Saadiq, “Deez Hollywood Nights” and the Bay influenced “Staxx In My Jeans.”
Unfortunately, the songs just don’t stop. As much as there isn’t anything flat out bad here, the latter half of the album doesn’t have anything good enough to make you forget this joint is 21 tracks deep. Was it really necessary to include “Ridin In My Chevy” or “Those Gurlz”? Those are the songs you stick on the pre-album mixtape. To hammer the point home, “Why Did You Leave Me” sounds like a fitting closer until another song starts after it – a far less superior one at that. “Can’t Say Goodbye”, flipping the Bruce Hornsby sample yet again, features a horrible singer on the hook (dude sounds like the black Michael Bolton), and it just totally gratuitous.
In the era of the iPod, Ego Trippin’ is a real dope album; cut that joint down to 12 songs and it’s an easy one. But much like 06’s return to form The Blue Carpet Treatment, this LP is dragged down by Snoop‘s refusal to trim the fat. Fortunately, the meat of the album is incredibly enjoyable stuff with one of Hip Hop’s all-time great characters in rare form.