In 2010, Snoop Dogg is Priority Records’ #1 priority. The Long Beach superstar joins Cypress Hill as the revival acts to a legendary ‘80s and ‘90s Rap imprint that turned from cool to corporate – thanks in large part to a Ras Kass petition. After spring’s West Coast Blueprint, Snoop returns with another helping of Priority catalog songs and a token remix update to a classic. Snoop Dogg Presents My #1 Priority is a formulaic approach that has been the label’s modus operandi for the last decade.
After Ruthless and Rap-A-Lot Records found new distribution channels in the mid ‘90s, Priority Records’ bread and butter was Ice Cube and Master P. The No Limit tenure for the label is heavily chronicled here. Songs like Young Bleed’s “How Ya Do Dat” sit in the cheap seats of No Limit’s history, while Master P, Silkk The Shocker and Mystikal garner the crossover fanfare. Snoop’s inclusion of the 1997 I’m ‘Bout It soundtrack sleeper give this compilation a lot of authenticity. The same can be said of Fiend’s “Walk Like A ‘G’,” which sheds light on the lost talent of New Orleans’ Soulja Slim. With nine No Limit songs in all, it’s impressive to see Snoop go back and acknowledge a time in his life that confused many fans, and led to one of the most disappointing Rap albums of all time in Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told. Hearing C-Murder with UGK, and the raw talent of a Mac gives context of how dynamic Master P’s label really was – something that’s gone forgotten 12 years later.
Although Master P’s influences were Eazy E and Ice Cube, the No Limit music paired alongside west coast classics makes this compilation a bumpy ride. N.W.A.’s “8 Ball” undoubtedly influenced Beats By The Pound, but there appears no rhyme or reason to Snoop’s sequencing of this compilation. Moreover, EPMD’s “So Wat Cha Sayin’” sticks out boldly in an album that feels devoted more to the mid-‘90s than anything else. The album closes with Snoop covering Low Profile’s charged 1989 single “Pay Ya Dues.” 1500 Or Nothin’ keeps the rhythm of DJ Aladdin’s original masterpiece with a stripped-down, sample-free twist. Just as he’s done covering classics from Slick Rick and Dana Dane, Snoop Dogg’s charisma makes the 21 year-old track his own. The message is more topical than ever, and Low Profile is honored.
As an artist, Snoop Dogg has proven to be one of the most creative minds in Hip Hop. As an executive, Snoop’s authenticity soars above his ingenuity. At its core, My #1 Priority is a disjointed refresher on No Limit’s range, and an opportunity for Snoop to pay homage to WC. Fans have previously called for re-released albums that are deep within the Priority catalog above packaged play-lists. Perhaps something more tangible is called for if the Los Angeles label wants its past to be part of its future.