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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Somehow, against the odds of the one-hit-wonder factory that dominates the current hip-hop marketplace, Snoop Dogg has pushed on through to a 16-year career. And while his lazy cohort Dr. Dre has only managed to throw us two albums in as much time, Snoop is still relevant on his ninth opus, "Ego Trippin'."

First, let's cut to the chase. Snoop has not had a great album since his 1993 debut, "Doggystyle." His foray into No Limit Records in the late '90s was awful, but luckily his most recent works have been of a higher caliber, if not overly bloated with tracks. "Ego Trippin'" is more of the same: several standout songs are buried in a mess of 21 tracks, with at least seven or eight being completely disposable.

What stands out most on the album is the emphasis on '70s and '80s R&B funk by artists like Prince and Roger Troutman, with many songs featuring synthesizers, brass arrangements and the talkbox, which makes the singer sound robotic (for the young readers, think T-Pain). The hilarious "Sexual Eruption" and a cover of The Time's "Cool" manage to sound fresh and would fit perfectly at home at the skating rink.

"Ego Trippin'" also features some of the best G-Funk since the Death Row Records days, with "Press Play," "Neva Have 2 Worry" and "Let It Out," with Snoop's silky-smooth flow weaving out of funky bass lines and vibrant saxophone solos.

Unfortunately, the remaining majority of the album is boring and contrived, with "Life Of Da Party," "Whateva U Do" and "Staxxx In My Jeans" rehashing the same West Coast club sound in use since the late '90s.

Worst of all is the painfully out-of-place "My Medicine," a country duet with Snoop Dogg and Everlast paying tribute to Johnny Cash. Huh?

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