OK so I finally checked that Snoop album. Its a really strong record – “Vato” of course, but he gets all old-school lyrical on (the Impressions-sampling) “Think About It,” great smooth funk on “Crazy,” and Neptunes don’t come off to bad at all (“Vato” of course, and “10 Lil Crips”). I do kind of wish it was more smooth Cali bangers (“Don’t Stop”) and less jumping around, but really its hard to complain when the Timbaland, Rick Rock and Nottz tracks are that good (I’ll pass on Dre sampling Dido but bringing back D’Angelo makes up for that garbage). I wish MC Eiht was still sounding good. Someone should try to convince me to pick up 2006 CMW in the comments section, if there’s anyone out there who actually heard the damn thing.
90s vets keep dropping event records, though for every Kingdom Come and (probably) Hip-Hop is Dead (the title track blows in like every way) we’ve been lucky and gotten solid-to-great records from Fat Joe and E-40. Plus 90s-worshipping weirdos like Game, who’s sounded like an oldster veteran ever since he dropped fully formed from the brain of Dr. Dre, obsessed with a past he was never a part of.
Anyway the point of this post is that between Cali iz Active and the new Snoop album and the production from dudes like Soopafly, Battlecat and Daz, its hard not to think that these guys are really bringing it, making LA rap exciting again; “still the beats bang,” this badass modern Cali g-funk. I mean check Battlecat’s work on “LAX,” the way he flips and chops the vocal sample is like nu-Swizz, with Big&Puff vocals stabbing all over the track, over loose grooves with busy samples and random sound drops that suggest a serious amount of craft, even if they seem sort of conservative compared to massive aggro-Atlanta anthems, or blockbuster-sized Dre and Storch beats, or the beats we’re used to from the swizz-neptunes-timbo-mannie era of super-syncopated keyboard space funk. But that conservatism seems timely, refreshingly smooth and tasteful. Like the rap world focusing on rap again instead of being all bigger-than-rap millenial crossover artists, and very Cali, the musical equivelent of creased khakis and chucks. Classicist.
For a guy who had beats on All Eyez On Me, Daz Dillinger’s profile’s been pretty low on the production tip, although he did get some dap in Murder Dog’s year end roundup last year for his ’05 output. He’s been real consistent lately – check Kurupt’s ’06 album as Young Gotti (myspace here), or check Daz’s solo record from this year, which is hot (new No I.D.!) if you drop some of the shittier Jermaine Dupri tracks and Rick Ross – but his profile’s just gonna get higher in the next year. He didn’t have any tracks on the last DPG record but he’s producing Dogg Chit (terrible title), and it drops January 2nd. In other Daz news:
Daz is producing Khujo Goodie’s album. Keep an eye on this, its sure to be the next Gnarls Barkley.
A track that should have been on Cali Iz Active prod. by the Alchemist, and another track w/ San Quinn from earlier this year. He and Kurupt are on the Baby&Wayne album, and the DPGs are hosting the track on their site. If you haven’t heard it yet check it here, shit could not be hotter.
“Talented” is pretty hot.
Soopafly produced my favorite beat on Cali Iz Active, “Thrown Up Da C”. Uh and this post should not be read as an endorsement of any particular street gangs, obv.
Finally, Robert’s classic SMS post on the “Eat A Dicc Saga.”