interview SOOPAFLY - Bangin' Westcoast | Review By: Eddie Gurolla

Release Date : February 2007
Label : Independent Download
Rating: 3/5


Dub Quotable: This overdue return falls a bit short of its full potential, but will satisfy those fans desperate to bang Soopa's re-imagined West Coast.

With only one solo album in his catalog, fans of rapper/producer Soopafly have been anticipating this sophomore effort for years now. Prior to this, the long-time DPG affiliate had restricted himself to the odd guest appearance and production. After inconceivable delays, his latest, “Bangin’ West Coast,” is finally being released, albeit in a download-only internet format. While the album generally delivers, poor sound quality makes it unlistenable at times.

It seems as though Soopafly was trying to reinvent his sound during the making of “Bangin’ West Coast,” and this is evident from the experimental, off-kilter production on offer here. Replacing predictable snares and synths are creatively placed, 'everyday' sounds, giving the album an uncanny, industrial feel at times. The jolty, irreverent tracks are still suitably “West Coast,” and still evoke thoughts of sunshine, relaxing, and partying. Nonetheless, Soopa went out of his way to broaden the scope of what defines West Coast music. The album is liberal with the use of soul samples, a nod to the trend in Hip-Hop made popular by Kanye West. Fusing traditional Western production with this refined sound is no easy task, but, by and large, Soopafly pulls it off.

His new style, both behind the boards and on the mic, floods the first half of the album. Over the pleading old school whines of the opener “That Way,” the Dogg Pound's resident pimp gives listeners an inside look into the entire path of his career: “I take myself back in time when I smoke on weed/ I remember dinner with Pac the night he got free.” This insightful lyricism is a welcome surprise, but that’s not the only improvement showcased. Soopa has also drastically altered his flow, dominating tracks like the fast paced “Say It Again” and the internationally-influenced “Talented,” featuring Snoop Dogg. Microphone commandeering continues on the King Tee-sampled “Ready,” where Soopa viciously spews, “Niggaz cut em with the switch – blade/Niggaz is bitch made/Get – played like a fuckin piano/Check my pimp grade.” 'Fly swiftly outshines old Dogg Pound cohorts Daz and Kurupt on this cut.

Fans of the earlier Soopafly sound are not left out to dry either, especially during the album's latter half. “Number 1,” featuring the DPGC collective, and the return of DJ Eazy Dick, is a Dogg Pound track in vintage fashion. This is down to its slumped, smokey instrumental and smooth, blatant 'pimp' raps. Another standout is “Smacc Yo Ass,” a melodic track with a heavy dose of renowned West Coast flavor. With a prime beat backing him, Soopa glides over the sultry funk with ease, and leaves a cleverly placed D’Angelo sample to handle the hook.

With a running time of over an hour, the limited subject matter (representing DPG, smoking, and pimpin’) does get mundane. Furthermore, the multi-layered, unconventional beats can take a few listens to appreciate. Sadly, the drawback that ultimately cripples this album is not the music itself, but the poor sound quality. Largely, the quality is tolerable, but on tracks like "Crazy” and “Bacc It Up,” it detracts from the listening experience. Hopefully this album will attract the TLC it deserves, and be released in stores with better quality mixing and mastering. As it is, this overdue return falls a bit short of its full potential, but will satisfy those fans desperate to bang Soopa's re-imagined West Coast.


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