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"R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece" came as the sixth proper album released by Snoop Dogg and came in 2004, in what can be considered to be the second album with Snoop going into a new phase in his career, as he had parted with No Limit Records and so finds him working with a range of fresh talents and producers that could move his sound on as he shows how far ahead he can get of the game (just as he was when he calmed everything down in the Hip Hop world with his 1993 debut).
1. "I Love To Give You Light" (Intro)
2. "Bang Out"
You find that as he comes off the introductory track, he soon moves on into the straight-forward Gangsta Rap material. Personally, I felt that it was a rather weak one to get the release off to as you find that he gets down to one where JR Rotem provides some beats that sound far too 'East Coast' and quite unlike the kind of thing you expect from him and so it doesn't seem to quite work here; making for a weak starter.
3. "Drop it Like It's Hot"
This was Snoop's first platinum-selling single and a track that simply kills it when it comes to club bangers as he ensures that alongside some of the best in this field (Chad Hugo and Pharrell Willimas of the Neptunes on the beats - where the latter them does some guest raps) you have a fly tune where he shows how he can get down to the mainstream side of things and still appeal to his core fan base with his fresh approach on the sort of innovative production tha people tend to expect of The Neptunes.
4. "Can I Get A Flicc Witchu"
Taking things into an expected direction, you see that here you have a tune where the artist turns his attention towards the girls and is seen to just have fun with it as he gets to work with the bassist and vocalist Bootsy Collins (one of his idols) for a tune that isn't particularly engaging, but over time it seems to improve as you have a rather irregular structure, but you can get to feel it after a few listens.
5. "Ups & Downs"
Sampling a little something from The Bee Gees, this one finds Snoop Dogg getting down to one where he addresses a variety of issues tha have go him down in recent times and also things that have helped him hold thing together through the positivity in it. It is a fly one, and the funkiness of the production prevents you from bringing brought down by the darker things that he comes to discuss.
6. "The Bidness"
With Soopafly on the beats, you see that here you get a track where he is given some authentic West Coast backing to take from the peak years of that end (at the time of his breakthrough) but with a modern twist to match new trends. It is a big one and the breaks that the producer comes up with are just too much, and it s a shame he only holds them for a couple of seconds (but it means it does lots of damage as he lays down the throwback sections.
7. "Snoop D.O. Double G"
This is a classy joint from the artist and one that seems to take things new a new place as you find that with this one he comes through strong with an eponymous track to let people know just what he is about (if they didn't already know). The beats are engaging and draw you towards the laid=-back flow that Snoop persists with and still doesn't seem to have lots of effect of such an alterantive approach.
8. "Let's Get Blown"
This one came as the second single from the album and one that really did well to represent the album and effectively give an understanding of the laid-back nature of the artist and where he has come from with his music. It gives The Neptunes a chance to modernise weed raps and they certainly made it work as they do this lazy track that sounds as if they really didn't try, but came out with something great.
9. "Step Yo Game Up"
Here you get an unexpected appearance from Lil' Jon on the production and you know that with this you are going to get a straight Crunk track and this is the case here as after Lil' Jon has given the listeners some chants to go ff on, he hands things over to the LBC artist, who shows that you are able to come out with some tight rhymes with such a hyped production set and not lose it as others may tend to.
This one has the beats provided by The Neptunes again, and so you get your typical Pharrell feature, and also a little something from Charlie Wilson too for an extra lift as you find that Chad and Pharrell use the kind of summery beats that they really made blow up around this time in a sort of attempt to bring back the atmosphere of 2002's "Beautiful", but it doesn't quite seem to match te same feel or quality.
11. "WBALLZ" (Lude)
12. "Fresh Pair Of Panties"
Here you get a sensual track from the artist and one that, in hindsight, sounds to be a move towards the type of thing that came on the album after with "Sexual Eruption", but with this one having him rap, rather than sing, in this case. However I felt that this experimental one wasn't rally than experimental, although it may have helped him find where he needed to take it for later material (which he did).
13. "Promise I"
Detroit's Mr. Porter takes care of the production for this one and I felt that, although he isn't really from an area that you would typically associate with Snoop material (but since he had a bit of a phase in the Dirty South, a little Mid0West Swing wouldn't hurt him) so here you get a nice little two-stepper of a track where he just has a party and gets loose to act as a bit of a break, and to develop what came on the track prior to it.
14. "Oh No"
This one gets beats from Ron Broz (known later for his singing and rapping for tunes such as "Jumping Out The Window, "Pop Champagne" and earlier for being behind the beats for Nas' "Ether") and here he decides to go for beats that reflect the mood of the later track as instead of the hyped club work, he decides that its time for some dingy material as 50 comes so they can do a East/West link-up Gangsta Rap cut.
15. "Can U Control Yo Hoe"
LT Hutton comes trough with the beats here and provides something to reflect the early Naked Funk years with his funky keyboarding and it seems to perfectly suit the direction of Snoop's work as he seems to take on the persona of someone from the seventies as f he is in a Blaxploitation film as he talks of how to take care of 'hoes' who just don't seem to know their place; singing throughout to a nice effect.
This was one of the biggest singles to come off the album and one that you can't really deny the power of as you find that there is a massive collaboration of talent as he not only gets the R&B singer Justin Timberlake performing on the hook and assisting in whatever ways he can on top of the funky beats, he also has Charlie Wilson come to help (just as he did on "Snoop's Upside Ya Head" to represent his Gap Band (who get sampled).
17. "I'm Threw Witchu"
Here you get another of the low-quality compositions from the artist and one that shows that the album prior to this one "Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$" came as a bit of a fluke as he performs a song with Soopafly and tries out a little weak Soul material to pretty much flop as a result of going out of his comfort zone. It wasn't as very comfortable listen and doesn't really get much participation from Snoop himself.
18. "Pass It Pass It"
The Neptunes come through with their futuristic beats here to direct the listeners and give them some sort of idea of exactly where he is at as he gets down with this one. It is a rough joint from the rapper and one that I felt stood out as The Neptunes don't attempt to change up their sound at all (as they did for "Let's Get Blown" and "Drop It Like It's Hot" and it still works incredibly well without apparent force.
19. "Girl Like U"
With this one you get Snoop working with St. Louis' Nelly for a bit of a change to things, but with Nelly coming in at a time when he thought he was on top of the world (after dropping a double album) he sounds far too confident than what his lyrics are exerting and so it means that he ruins the flows that Snoop seems to build up of the light, floaty production set from LT Hutton as attention turns towards the females.
20. "No Thang On Me"
The album ends with another feature from Bootsy Collins (which can only be a plus) and in addition to this you also get more of the Mid-West flavour from Ohio's Hi-Tek as he comes in with some fly beats to assist as the majority o the thing has Snoop sings his way through in Bootsy style as the former Parliament-Funkadelic and JBs member brings adlibs and added extra details to take it up a level to save it at the final stage.
Based upon the quality of the singles that dropped off the album, I expect a much more funky set coming from this and with it also coming off the back of the best album since his "Doggystyle" debut, it seem like a rather lifeless one and little more than the single do much for it, leaving it to be an average one from him.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 (Intro) I Love To Give You Light - Snoop Dogg
2 Bang Out - Snoop Dogg
3 Drop It Like It's Hot - Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams
4 Can I Get A Flicc Witchu - Snoop Dogg, Bootsy Collins
5 Ups & Downs - Snoop Dogg, Bee Gees
6 The Bidness - Snoop Dogg
7 Snoop D.O. Double G - Snoop Dogg
8 Let's Get Blown - Snoop Dogg
9 Step Yo Game Up - Snoop Dogg, Lil Jon, Trina
10 Perfect - Snoop Dogg, Charlie Wilson
11 WBallz (Interlude) - Snoop Dogg
12 Fresh Pair of Panties On - Snoop Dogg
13 Promise I - Snoop Dogg
14 Oh No - Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent
15 Can You Control Yo Hoe - Snoop Dogg, Soopafly
16 Signs - Snoop Dogg, Charlie Wilson, Justin Timberlake
17 I'm Threw Witchu - Snoop Dogg, Soopafly
18 Pass It Pass It - Snoop Dogg
19 Girl Like U - Snoop Dogg, Nelly
20 No Thang On Me - Snoop Dogg, Bootsy Collins