Back in the 90’s, Snoop and his Dogg Pound Gangstas were reppin’ LA and breaking ground with classic records. Sadly, those days came to a halt when friends became enemies and the crew dismantled. After years apart, the DPGC is back on Bigg Snoop Dogg Presents : Welcome To Tha Chuuch: Tha Album.
Guests are abundant on this album; Nate Dogg, Kurupt, Daz, Lady of Rage, RBX, Tiffany Foxxx, Soopafly, and others all join Snoop Dogg for this reunion. It’s a nice little trip down memory lane for old DPGC fans who have longed for a gathering like this to take place. Tracks like “Real Soon” and “We West Coast” show that the Clique hasn’t truly lost its touch. Hearing old veterans like Lady of Rage and RBX rocking along with them is just a nice touch of nostalgia for fans of the old Death Row. But the trip down memory lane has its potholes, some of the new members just aren’t as pleasing to hear.
“Shake that Shit” by Tiffany Foxx is an example of how not to rap. Taking a page from many other female rappers with a hardcore sexual draw, she tries to seduce the listener but it comes off as a trite (and dirty) attempt at popularity. “I’mma throw it in his face! You know I’m a big tease…Gave him a tip drill, now he handin’ over keys.” The shtick is old, and tired. So is the generic R&B track “Remember” where James sings: “I know you remember me…I’m the guy that bought you Crystal and Hennessey.” The track is not memorable and neither are most of the other R&B tracks on the album.
Nevertheless, the group is strong as times. Snoop uncharacteristically starts off this LP with a powerful revolutionary cry for unity and peace on “Sisters & Brothers.” With lyrics about harmony and a compelling message about global poverty, love and hope, the track makes its mark. Snoop goes against doubters who claim he doesn’t tackle difficult or deep topics. On this album, he starts things off discussing freedom, education, malnourishment, poverty in third world countries, religion, negativity in Hip-Hop, the war in Iraq and his own mishaps and triumphs. “Real Soon” offers us a great view point on various aspects of prison life. The track reads like Nas’ classic “One Love” as a letter those locked up. With Nate on the hook and DPGC on the verses, it’s classic West Coast with a melodic gangsta twist.
Knowing Snoop, one has to figure comic relief is coming and it does. Snoop and his new comedic R & B group, the 9 Inch Dix appear throughout with “Just the Way You Like It” and “Smokin’ All The Bud.” Although the joke gets old, it’s still a nice relief from the rest of the album.
The production comes from Battle Cat, Jelly Roll, Soopafly, LT Hutton and others. The line-up of producers is able to create mellow, smooth and funky West Coast rhythms. Unfortunately, not all the tracks are dazzling. Some mishaps include “Shake that Shit” which seems like an imitation of various club bangers that have already been released. Overall, the production cannot match the old Dre tracks. Sure, no one was expecting something of such excellent caliber, but with a DPGC reunion, you kind of wish Dre was manning the boards. Instead, it seems like they simply settled for the beats they got.
This album has some bright spots. Sadly, one has to comb through a lot of filler in order to get to those ill moments. Welcome to the Chuuch doesn’t do Snoop or the Dogg Pound justice. It doesn’t have enough firepower and it doesn’t have enough great tracks to fully enjoy. While a more conscious Snoop is commendable, and the DPGC reunion is well-received, the rest of the group really needs to step it up.