Tha Dogg Pound gets a leg up

By Theoden Janes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

On Oct. 25, 1994, an obscure music reviewer wrote, "Just as the Above the Rim soundtrack made Long Beach rapper Warren G a star, the newly released Murder Was The Case soundtrack is destined to put Tha Dogg Pound on every rap fan's most wanted list."

When Billboard releases its next Top 100 chart at the end of the week, that prophecy will be complete.

Originally scheduled for an August release, Tha Pound's debut album, Dogg Food, finally was released on Tuesday. That's nearly two full months of delays. Speculation is that it will enter the charts at No. 1, but the question everyone is asking each other now is: Do you think it was worth the wait?

Packed with Daz's funky, rhythmic beats, Kurupt the Kingpin's drawling, fierce-but-lazy, smooth-yet-rugged lyrics, and appearances by established artists such as Snoop Doggy Dogg and George Clinton, the answer is an emphatic, "Sure, for the most part."

On the surface, Dogg Food delivers what is essentially a series of finely intertwined raps that have an almost therapeutic feel. Daz's playful emceeing complements the cutthroat antics of Kurupt, who almost always comes off like he's freestyling.

But unfortunately, at its core, the album possesses neither the originality and diversity of Dr. Dre's The Chronic nor the relentlessness of Tha Pound's earlier foray, "What Would U Do?," which appeared on both the Murder Was The Case and Natural Born Killers soundtracks.

Instead, Tha Pound bounces back and forth between violent streaks like the ones it hits in "Dogg Pound Gangstaz" and "A Doggz Day Afternoon" and sexy, pulsating cuts like "Smooth" and "Some Bomb Azz Pussy." The latter features what has now become a Death Row trademark a mock sexual encounter rife with male chauvinism and orgasmic squeals and moans (e.g. Dr. Dre's "The Doctor's Office").

In "Let's Play House," the sexism lies beneath a soulful veil provided by the gliding rhythm and Michel'le's soothing, upbeat voice, which somehow finds a way to blend infallibly with Kurupt's crassness. The first verse, in part, goes: "Speaking of house, let's play a game of it/are you with it, I go get it, I betcha love it baby/I play the daddy and you can play the momma so we can get down on the living room floor."

When they're not waxing philosophic about the joys of murder or womanizing, Daz and Kurupt are dropping songs about well, about being Daz and Kurupt. "Ridin', Slipin' (sic) and Slidin'" recounts a day in the life of Tha Dogg Pound, backed up by a jazzy bassline that combines '70s flavor with a crisp, airy sound that gives the track a distinctly fresh new feel.

In all, Dogg Food contains 17 tracks more than 70 minutes of music and delivers 16 actual songs, and wastes only minimal time performing silly skits (another Death Row trademark).

Overall, Dogg Food sounds and feels a lot like Doggystyle, and is the best rap/hip-hop album since. But the anticipation for Tha Pound's album was so great, and the wait was so long, that for many fans, there will be a degree of disappointment no matter what.

Read Next Article