SNOOP DOGG – ‘Paid Tha Cost to be Tha Bo$$’ – Capitol/Priority 2002 Snoop Dogg in letting his feelings run and actually declaring his affections for the fairer sex shocker? Now that can’t be right, but it’s all true. For all his pimp manoeuvres, bitch-slapping and putting his foot in the crack of they ass, Tha Boss shows a rarely shown side of humility to prove he’s a gangsta with a heart. And yet when he’s not robing himself in the flyest pimp threads, he’s still ripping open old wounds and calling the likes of Suge Knight a bitch. With a beat from the unavoidable Neptunes finding regular favour on music channels as well, this isn’t so much as Snoop adopting the title of renaissance man but probably finding himself in a position healthier than he’s ever been in recent years. One look at the production roll-call that includes Hi-Tek, Premier and Just Blaze – and of course those pesky producers-by-the-pound Chad and Pharrell – and Snoop cannot really fail with a hunger drummed up from Tha Last Meal. Naturally the sceptical will say this is the same album he’s been making all his life, but with the backing and the pleasantly surprising lull in ferocity, this is clearly not the case, and all the better for it. Of the cuts that serenade the woman in his life that are bound to cause fractions within his following, I Believe in You is an early r&b outcome with an obligatory Hi-Tek seal of quality. Snoop sings the praises of his nearest and dearest, even ignoring advice of homies when choosing his path and probably getting heads thinking whether some sort of lobotomy has taken place. Beautiful shows further boo commitment, almost a lighter, airy guitar of the one used in The Neptunes-penned Like I Love You. Both are a million miles away from the Knight-cursing and very late in the day Pimp Slapp’d, a savaging that even a welcome return from EZ Dick of the J
ack-off Hour cannot dilute. Xzibit and Kurupt are also dropped into conversation, and having seemingly done a U-turn with his promises of faithfulness to women, it’s reassuring to know Snoop can still attack, even at the very last minute, when he gets the scent of blood in his nostrils. Ever keen to throw one remake of classic into the mix and seeing how it fares, just as he did when revamping Slick Rick’s Lodi Dodi and P-Funk’s Atomic Dog, Snoop goes about a pretty pointless update of Eric B & Rakim’s Paid In Full. Right down to the gut-wrenching bassline and nearly word perfect, Snoop’s blesses the cut with a birthmark that prefers a favourite dish of chicken wings shared with Warren G, rather than Rakim’s plate of fish alongside his DJ. The use of the Batman theme tune on the Premo-constructed Batman and Robin is another puzzler, digging out RBX and Lady of Rage to help keep the filth out of Gotham as Dogg clearly revels in the role of Bruce Wayne. Both Premo and Snoop fit the billing on The One and Only, both in command of a wicked mix of sideline and boss guitars smarting from cuts for days as SD recalls his fledgling years looking skywards that forced the transition from Calvin Broadus to Snoop Doggy. Never straying too far from the funk going from P to G, Stoplight is a seriously heavy pimp strut, fast, furious and getting under the skin in no time, and of the more adventurous flirtations, Jelly Roll beams down the demented You Got What I Need. Beats and chords are catapulted left right and centre like a couple of Martians playing Ping-Pong. Lollipop gives the funk a real licking as Just Blaze fires a fondling flute beneath Jay-Z, Soopafly & Nate Dogg for alcohol-impaired hoe hunting. Misogynistic to the extreme, but by the time that’s discovered your ass is shaking into freefall. More guest power comes as Redman breathlessly calculates the distance From Long Beach 2 Brick City, a superb
near-4/4 groover with disco funk in abundance and Nate Dogg supplying the subtle soul as only he can. And just to prove how seriously he takes the pimping game, Suited N Booted is the obvious clothes-horse guide to how to look your finest, Snoop rocking ‘gators on your feet, six-piece outfit’ and staying ‘g’d up from the feet up’. He remains one of the most distinctive voices in hip hop and it wouldn’t be surprising if Paid Tha Cost became Snoop’s biggest seller to date. On the surface, pimp and hoe tales-by-numbers. In reality, one of the scene’s most prominent stepping up his game big time…
As the embodiment of '90s gangsta rap, Snoop Doggy Dogg blurred the lines between reality and fiction. Introduced to the world through Dr. Dre's The Chronic, Snoop Dogg quickly became the most famous star in rap, partially because of his drawled, laconic rhyming and partially because the violence that his lyrics implied seemed real, especially after he was arrested on charges of being a murder accomplice. The arrest certainly strengthened his myth, and it helped his debut album, 1993's Doggystyle, become the first debut album to enter the charts at number one, but in the long run, it hurt his career. Snoop had to fight charges throughout 1994 and 1995, and while he was eventually cleared, it hurt his momentum. The Doggfather, his second album, wasn't released until November 1996, and by that time, pop and hip-hop had burned itself out on gangsta-rap. The Doggfather sold half as well as its predecessor, which meant that Snoop remained a star, but he no longer had the influence he had just two years before. Nicknamed Snoop by his mother because of his appearance, Calvin Broadus (b. October 20, 1972) was raised in Long Beach, California, where he frequently ran into trouble with the law. Not long after his high school graduation, he was arrested for possession of cocaine, beginning a period of three years where he was often imprisoned. He found escape from a life of crime through music. Snoop Dogg began recording homemade tapes with his friend Warren G, who happened to be the step-brother of N.W.A.'s Dr. Dre. Warren G gave a tape to Dre, who was considerably impressed with Snoop's style and began collaborating with the rapper. When Dre decided to make his tenative first stab at a solo career in 1992 with the theme song for the film Deep Cover, he had Snoop rap with him. "Deep Cover" started a buzz about Snoop Dogg that escalated into full-fledged mania when Dre released his debut album, The Chronic, on Death Row Records late
in 1992. Snoop Dogg rapped on The Chronic as much as Dre, and his drawled vocals were as important to the record's success as its P-Funk bass grooves. Dre's singles "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" and "Dre Day," which prominently featured Snoop, became Top 10 pop crossover hits in the spring of 1993, setting the stage for Snoop Doggy Dogg's much-anticipated debut album, Doggystyle. While he was recording the album with producer Dr. Dre in August, Snoop was arrested in connection with the drive-by-shooting death of Phillip Woldermarian. According to the charges, the rapper's bodyguard, McKinley Lee, shot Woldermarian as Snoop drove the vehicle; the rapper claimed it was self-defense, alleging that the victim was stalking Snoop. Following a performance at the MTV Music Awards in September 1993, he turned himself to authorities. After many delays, Doggystyle was finally released on Death Row in November of 1993, and it became the first debut album to enter the charts at number one. Despite reviews that claimed the album was a carbon copy of The Chronic, the Top 10 singles "What's My Name?" and "Gin & Juice" kept Doggystyle at the top of the charts during early 1994, as did the considerable controversy over Snoop's arrest and his lyrics, which were accused of being exceeding violent and sexist. During an English tour in the spring of 1994, tabloids and a Tory minister pleaded for the government to kick the rapper out of the country, largely based on his arrest. Snoop exploited his impending trial by shooting a short film based on the Doggystyle song "Murder Was the Case," and releasing an accompanying soundtrack which debuted at number one in 1994. By that time, Doggystyle had gone quadruple platinum. Snoop Dogg spent much of 1995 preparing for the case, which finally went to trial in late 1995. In February of 1996, he was cleared of all charges and he began working on his second a
lbum, this time without Dre as producer. Nevertheless, when The Doggfather was finally released in November 1996, it beared all the evidence of a Dre-produced, G-funk record. The album was greeted with mixed reviews, and it initially sold well, but it failed to produce a hit along the lines of "What's My Name?" and "Gin & Juice." Part of the reason of the moderate success of The Doggfather was the decline of gangsta rap. Tupac Shakur, who had become a friend of Snoop Dogg during 1996, died weeks before the release of The Doggfather, Dre had left Death Row to his partner Suge Knight, who was indicted on racketeering charges by the end of 1996. Consequently, Snoop's second album got lost in the shuffle, stalling at sales of two million, which was disappointing for a superstar. Perhaps sensing something was wrong, Snoop began to revamp his public image, moving away from his gangsta roots towards a calmer lyrical aesthetic. He also began making gestures toward the rock community, signing up to tour with Lollapalooza 1997 and talking about two separate collaborations with Beck and Marilyn Manson. The solo Da Game Is to Be Sold Not to Be Told, Snoop's first effort for new label No Limit, followed in 1998; No Limit Top Dogg appeared a year later and Dead Man Walkin' was released in fall 2000. The Last Meal followed in December that same year.