Album: Bigg Snoop Dogg Presents… Welcome To Tha Chuuch
Label: Doggystyle Records / Koch
Rating: 1 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Despite seemingly having made a whole career out of rhyming the letters A, B, and C with the numbers 1, 2 and 3, Snoop is still one of the coolest and most popular people in Hiphop. Brought to the game by the good doctor D-R-E, Snoop has become his own musical and cultural phenomenon, appearing in movies, adverts, video games, and a whole host of other shit while maintaining his air of refrigerated misdemeanor.
Many will already be acquainted with the ‘WTTC’ mixtapes, which featured Snoop and co reworking popular hiphop tracks over several releases (they’d reached volume 11 last time I checked.) For the official album however, its original tracks all the way with featured production from familiar West Coast producers like Jelly Roll, Soopafly, and Battlecat amongst others. The main draw for the album though is the official reunification of the Dogg Pound Gangstaz, Kurupt and Daz – with Kurupt’s bolting from Death Row finally bringing the end to their messy feud, this is the first album which features the tandem back on track.
DPG aside, there is an abundance of other guest appearances, with familiar faces like the Lady Of Rage, Lil Half Dead, and RBX sharing mic time with newer faces like Tiffany Foxx, J. Black, and Mykestro. This is actually Snoop’s second attempt to create a project like this – his 2002 “Welcome To Tha House” compilation also attempted to introduce new acts from his roster but quietly flopped. Unfortunately for Snoop, this project may well do the same…
Things start off on a strange note. ‘Sisters N Brothers’ features Jelly Roll production and sees Snoop introduce his concious side as he stresses about the war in Iraq, the famines in Africa, religious intolerance, and several other important talking points. Unfortunately he sounds as uncomfortable talking about serious topics as I am hearing it from him… its SNOOP for God’s sake! His flow is monotone, rarely varying throughout the course of the whole song, and Jelly Roll’s simple piano-based beat does nothing to help support him. As for the ‘singing’ from Mira Mira and J.Black… the less said the better.
From here, the project descends into farce. Tiffany Foxx’s ‘Shake That Shit’ is a weak attempt at a club cut hampered largely by the fact that this is probably the first time Ms Foxx has ever been plonked in front of a microphone; her second attempt later on, ‘Can’t Find My Panties’ at least has an interesting beat to distract from her inane attempts at seduction. James and J. Black are the two resident crooners (obviously for those situations when Nate Dogg isn’t available), but their solo tracks, ‘Remember Me’ and ‘Sunshine’ respectively, are nowt but cookie-cutter R’n’B tracks. The fact that you could switch each of them to the other’s track with no notable differences, and the larger fact that you could drop a Donnell Jones, a Mario, a Joe, or a *insert 2nd tier R’n’B singer here* with similarly generic results shows that there’s nothing here to get excited about. Average tracks from Wendi & YN and Mykestro also do little to combat the feelings that the mixtapes are a much better investment. Mira Mira piques the interest ever so slightly with her against-the-grain performance on ‘Dinner In Bed’ – here she goes all bohemian-jazz on us over a self-produced beat… after 30 seconds though, we realise that
a) she can’t really sing
b) the world does not need a Hiphop Kate Bush.
Performances from the heavy hitters are equally disappointing. First single, ‘Real Soon’ features Battlecat’s electric guitars and synths supporting Snoop, Daz, Kurupt and Nate Dogg as they drop the knowledge on life behind bars. The fact that none of them seem the slightest bit interested in what they’re actually saying is blatantly evident… if you’re desperate for a reportage on prison life and how it affects inmates, stick to ‘One Love’ by Nas, or the Lifers Group. The later ‘We West Coast’ sounds like an offcut from last year’s 213 album… yes it has that gangsta bounce, yes it has the ‘G’ talk… but its missing that special spark to bring it to life. Elsewhere, ‘Notorious DPG’ sees Kurupt fight valiantly to keep the track together but the fact that he’s sandwiched between a sub-par performance from RBX and a Lady Of Rage who is still trying to prove that she has a place in the business makes this difficult to listen to. And although Snoop’s new ‘group’ the 9 Inch Dix impress on the bouncy ‘Just The Way You Like It’ (one of the only high points on the album), they also contribute one of the worst tracks on the entire compilation, ‘Smokin’ All My Bud’.
Even Snoop die-hards will be disappointed with this. Its too mellow, too laidback (to the point where many of the participants don’t seem to CARE how they’re performing), and too weak, and overall there’s absolutely nothing that makes this compilation worthy of further recommendation. Producing almost an entire album’s worth of filler material is not a feat to be proud of, and this is definitely not a good advert for Doggystyle Records.