Ego Trippin' is a subdued comeback from this once hot rapper.
It may seem strange to label someone who’s pursued as many successful career avenues as Snoop a “wasted talent” but, given the large volume of mediocre music he’s churned out since his stellar 1993 debut Doggystyle, it’s tempting to do so. The creative chemistry he drummed up with Dr. Dre on that record, and Dre’s own 1992 album The Chronic, has never been matched since, save for a smattering of terrific singles.
Snoop still has one of the best hip-hop voices around: a rich, beguiling sneer that positively drips with badboy charm. But, despite continued commercial success, Snoop’s ninth record proves to be every bit as forgettable as seven of its predecessors; Ego Trippin’ contains 22 tracks and, predictably enough, is absolutely laden with filler.
Still, Snoop’s rapping is such a luxurious delight that it’d be foolish not to give props to the good stuff. ‘A Word Witchya’, for instance, has an easy, relaxed groove that will put many listeners in mind of the rap legend’s golden G-funk years.
Neptunes production ‘Sets Up’ is a characteristic mixture of tribal African rhythms and smart programming touches, which provides further evidence that Pharrell and co. are more likely than anyone else to tease brilliance from Snoop. ‘Deez Hollywood Nights’ has a sing-songy chorus and rinky-dink piano hook that call to mind Jay-Z’s terrific ‘Hard Knock Life’.
But overall, this record is a disappointment. Respectable sales may convince Snoop that he remains relevant, but this Dogg’s bark has been considerably sharper than his bite for some time now.
Key Track: ‘Sets Up’
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