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Snoop Dogg

Tha Last Meal  Hear it Now

RS: 3.5of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4of 5 Stars

2000

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Tha Last Meal, Snoop Dogg's strongest album since 1993's Doggystyle, finds him sidling effortlessly into the office of player president, G'd up from the feet up with brim tilted, khakis creased and joints greased. Though not yet thirty, Snoop has evolved into a self-styled O.G. uncle, calling his comrades "nephew" and regularly slipping into a freaky falsetto. Years ago, he and Dr. Dre pillaged the Parliament vaults to launch G-Funk; now Snoop cuts out the middleman and casts himself as a Seventies don.

Luckily, the right troops are in place to sustain this fortified funk fantasy. Singer Kokane, who croaks out many of Tha Last Meal's most memorable hooks, is central to the shtick -- with his who's-the-mack presence and rusty funk moans, he sounds like he stepped directly off George Clinton's mothership and into the studio. And though Snoop is still technically a No Limit soldier, he avoids the label's Beats by the Pound production squad and leaves the behind-the-board duties to such hitmakers as Dre, Timbaland, Battlecat and Scott Storch, who strike neck-snap gold time and again.

Standout tracks include the Timbaland-crafted "Set It Off," a breathy, bouncing posse cut with jolting squeals and ready-for-lift-off energy. "Lay Low" is a classic Dre thumper that incorporates an answering-machine beep and Nate Dogg's bass bellow to maximum effect. Snoop's chronic-marinated flow, all menthol-cool and deadpan droop, sounds as smooth as ever.

Tha Last Meal isn't devoid of disappointments. There's a good fifteen minutes of unremarkable "Crip-hop" filler here, and "Back Up Off Me," the lone bow to No Limit's raucous Dirty South sound, is an awkward inclusion. The retro posturing wears thin at points, too. When referencing Blacula and toying with a Snoopy Collins alter ego, Snoop seems more like a pimpadelic caricature than the charismatic funk fanatic that he is. (RS 860)

KATHRYN FARR



(Posted: Jan 18, 2001)

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