|Snoop Dogg - Tha Last Meal|
|Music Disc Reviews Audio CD|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Tuesday, 19 December 2000|
No Limit, 2000
| Performance 5 | Sound 8 |
Back in the day when he was known as Snoop Doggy Dog a.k.a. Calvin Brodus, Snoop Dogg, aided by the production skills of Dr. Dre, released Doggystyle, one of the most entertaining rap albums ever. Everything that has come from Snoop since has seemed pale in comparison. He has collaborated with a handful of artists, including Lil Bow Wow, Eminem and even Rage Against the Machine. He’s never fallen out of the public eye for too long, but nothing that he has done has surpassed his first album.
Unfortunately, Snoop Dogg’s Tha Last Meal is another mediocre album that is a mix of good songs and throwaway tracks. Snoop hardly digs into the Parliament Funkadelic bag for his beats and choruses on this album. The original music that Snoop, Dr. Dre and the rest of his songwriting partners have come up with just don’t stick in your head the way you might expect compositions from this crew to do. Even after three or four complete listens, there isn’t a song, or even a particular hook, that resonates in my head after the album is over. When Snoop and Dre parted ways, there was talk that Snoop could put out an album as good if not better than Doggyste if he would get back together with Dre. Well, the two of them are back together, but they haven’t been able to better their past effort yet.
Like most rap records, this album is very long, clocking in at over 77 minutes. With 19 tracks, I assumed that there would be a few cuts that were just filler, with skits and comedy sketches. Believe it or not, the only track that falls into this category is the incredibly unfunny People’s Court spoof "Game Court." The People’s Court theme is such a dope jam that this could have been a great track, but the skit doesn’t even have Snoop on it and just falls flat. On the intro to the track "True Lies," Snoop interviews Bill Clinton about the Monica Lewinsky scandal, using sound bites of the then-President’s testimony intercut with Snoop’s voice. This topic is referenced several times on Tha Last Meal, but it’s been so long since the actual incident that it makes the album sound dated.
Like Shaggy with his schtick calling himself "Mr. Lover" and saying his own name at the beginning of each track, Snoop Dogg has a particular trademark of his own that he over-uses on this record. That trademark move is finding creative ways of spelling his name and using it as a chorus. Snoop, okay, we got it, S, N, double O, P. On the first track "Intro," as well as the third track "Snoop Dogg," Snoop and his bevy of backup singers give us a spelling lesson, then proceed to drill it into our brains.
Guest rapper Kokane sounds like a dead ringer for George Clinton and is featured on eight tracks. Other guests include Ice Cube, MC Ren and The Lady of Rage on one the album’s better tracks; the Timbaland-produced "Set It Off." Timbaland’s production style features herky-jerky syncopated rhythms and short staccato drum patterns. Ice Cube’s hard vocal style is the polar opposite of Snoop’s laid-back style and this change in sound is the first moment when the album steps up a notch. The next highlight comes with Nate Dogg’s vocal on the Dr. Dre-produced track "Lay Low." Nate Dogg’s track is the most memorable moment and I was disappointed that his appearance was so brief on Tha Last Meal.
The recipe is all here for a great rap album, but overall, this record left me disappointed. It’s better than 1998’s disaster of an album Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told, but that isn’t saying too much. Snoop hasn’t even had his thirtieth birthday yet, so there is still hope that he can release something that lets us all remember why he became of one the biggest names in rap in the first place.