Album Review: Snoop Dogg’s new album needs old sound

Is Snoop Dogg the hip-hop version of Madonna? Ok, hear me out; Madonna has been known to change styles and reinvent herself to change with the times and the same can be said about Snoop, who has survived Death Row, served in the "No Limit" army, "paid the cost to be the boss" and is back with songs for the club with his ninth album, Ego Trippin.

The album features 21 tracks, heavily influenced by artists like the Ying-Yang Twins and Akon. Ego Trippin sounds like it was intended for hip-hop lounges; to be played in the club in between the "club bangers." The songs aren’t "slow jams" by any means, but there is a smooth rhythm and blues feel to Snoop’s rap. The album’s first single, "Sexual Eruption" (or "Sensual Seduction" as the radio-edit is called), is evident of his recent influences, resonating like an Akon B-side.

"Life of Da Party" injects some much needed energy into the album, but being the seventh track of the record, it may be too far down the playlist to keep a fan’s attention focused on Snoop’s 90s material. "Cool" takes you back to the disco era of music, while "Sets Up" sounds like it came from across the border. This is not the same Snoop who challenged the entire east coast at the BET awards in the 90s.

Snoop briefly returns to form with "Deez Hollywood Nights," a laidback tale of Snoop’s celebrity status and his famous friends ("I just stepped in for a quick cameo me and Leonardo DiCaprio") over a beat that makes fans remember the days when Dr. Dre produced him.

The experimenting works on some tracks like "Why Did You Leave Me," an emotional song that shows that there is more to Snoop than the "shizzles" and representing Long Beach. "My Medicine," which is dedicated to Johnny Cash, has a country flare and mixes rock and roll with hip-hop in a way that is acceptable (unlike Limp Bizkit). Snoop pulls off the experimentation when his personality and rhyming skills are allowed to shine, but not when they are buried under beats.

Changing styles to conform to what is "hot" at the moment reeks of (there is that phrase again) "selling-out," but is it really selling out or is it adapting to the musical environment? Maybe Snoop has been listening to more modern music, and Ego Trippin is sure to spawn a lot of singles and MTV hits. Still, it would be nice to see the old Snoop Dogg; the one who partnered with Dr. Dre to write west coast anthems that took the rap world by storm and shifted the balance of power from east to west coast.

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