interview THA DOGG POUND - Dogg Food | Review By: Saga

Compare how Kurupt and Daz, or Tha Dogg Pound, have fared in 1995 and 2002. It’s a bit of a sad comparison. This year, as we all know, DPG no-longer exist. Kurupt has become a shadow of his former self lyrically, resorting to sticking together random long words that rarely make sense and stupid “bitch nigga” raps that don’t do his reputation as one of the illest lyricists alive any favour's. He’s also pulled an Ice Cube, seemingly focusing more on movies than rapping. Daz is still soldiering away in the underground, still putting out a decent product, but rarely making his influence on a larger audience than his loyal fan base. And they’re sadly separated, as again, we all know.

In 1995, things were just a bit different. Having just illuminated West Coast hip-hop with their respective performances on “The Chronic” and “Doggystyle”, as well as the classic single “What Would U Do?”, Daz and Kurupt couldn’t go wrong. They were both at the start of their careers in the industry, with a lot of critical expectation surrounding them. It was these circumstances that created “Dogg Food”, the duo’s classic debut album, released on the infamous Death Row Records. Any Westcoast fan, as most dubcnn readers will know, will probably agree when I say that sadly DPG never reached the same heights as found on this album.

Track Listing

1) Intro
2) Dogg Pound Gangstaz. (*****)
3) Respect. (*****)
4) New York, New York. Feat. Snoop Dogg (*****)
5) Smooth. Feat. Snoop Dogg (*****)
6) Cyco-Lic-No. Feat. Mr. Malik(*****)
7) Ridin', Slippin' and Slidin'. (****)
8) Big Pimpin' (interlude)
9) Let's Play House. Feat. Nate Dogg & Michel'le.(*****)
10) I Don't Like to Dream About Getting Paid. Feat. Nate Dogg (*****)
11) Do What I Feel. Feat. Lady Of Rage. (****)
12) If We All. (***)
13) Some Bomb A**. Feat. Snoop Dogg. (*****)
14) A Dogg's Day's Afternoon. Feat. Nate Dogg. (*****)
15) Reality. Feat. Tray Dee. (*** ½)
16) One By One. (****)
17) So Much Style. (***)

It is not brain-science as to why “Dogg Food” is quite so good. Here we have two separately talented artists: Kurupt with his Top-10 lyricism, Daz with his funky production and decent rhyming: but as we all know, the two DPG’s are best when placed together. Chemistry is the operative word here, and it is evenly distributed throughout the album. Let’s get cracking… to be quite honest, “Dogg Pound Gangstaz” is arguably the best song that DPG have ever recorded. Daz’ beat is simple and dark in tone, with eerie synthesizers, paranoid keyboard keys and various vocal chants lending some real fright-night atmosphere to the track. Kurupt then proceeds to absolutely destroy his long verse with some disturbingly dark battle rhymes:
“It's easy to find MC's to execute / Chances of survival too small to compute / Recognize, like this was Samuel Sneed / I grip the microphone continue with my devilish deeds / Cause all I see, in my M-I-N-D / Is D-P-G, for L-I-F-E / And all I see, on the M-I-C/ Is another mangled MC opposing me.”

Daz then drops what I would count as one of his finest ever verses lyrically, dropping some hot lines: “Till I die, Dogg Pound for life / Show me a hoe and I'll be fuckin that bitch by midnight (but see) / It ain't nuthin nice, shakin these niggaz like dice / I told you once, so I ain't sayin it twice”.

What this anthem establishes is quite clear. During “Dogg Food” Kurupt and Daz are primarily battle emcees with a gangsta twist, the majority of their lyrical content is based on battle principles with an O.G. tint. What helps this LP is that the duo instead switches it up and change styles with differing types of songs lyrically. While “Respect” features truly standout production from Daz: with stupidly catchy falsetto vocals and really good support from Prince Ital Junior (yeah, remember him!?) underpinning a sparkly, upbeat bassline, it’s the lyrics that impress. Departing from the usual gangsta influenced, battle rap lyrical content, Kurupt and Daz delve into introspective lyrics, by narrating the difficulties they have overcome to get to the top of the rap game. “I Don’t Like to Dream About Getting Paid” has, again, dope production from Dat N---a Daaz, with a banging bassline and truly soothing, descending synthesizers melodies. Nate Dogg drops by with a LEGENDARY hook and Kurupt / Daz drop tight introspective rhymes about living on the grind. Daz shows some remarkable maturity:

“My lifestyle switched a bit / But my attitude didn't / I told all my old bitches good riddance/ cos when you got money hoes come automatically / and no hoes don't do nothing but cause some static, see/ I went from khakis to guess braids to a fade / I'm not Special Ed, but I had it made / livin tha life of a baller care free / havin bitches dyin to sleep wit me ya see / But I went bankrupt from all the spending and gambling / business was gettin slow / and I wasn't handlin / mines tha way I was supposed to”.

“Some Bomb Ass Pussy”, is basically the follow-up to “Bitches Ain’t Shit” and “Ain’t No Fun”. Snoop Dogg unsurprisingly guests on the track, which finds the DPG’s dropping rhymes about, well, yeah you know what. “Let’s Play House” is the most ‘commercial’ track on “Dogg Food”, but it is still damn good. With a really catchy joint-hook from Nate Dogg and Michel’le, and Daz’ fun beat, this track is the perfect for a warm, sunny summer’s day.

While DPG certainly gain credit for introducing a bit of variety into “Dogg Food”, which ultimately makes it a stronger album, the battle-rap tracks are where we see the best of both artists, especially Kurupt, as witnessed on the all-time classic “New York, New York”. There’s no real pressing reason to over-describe this track, you all know how dope it is by now. DJ Pooh’s beat is appropriately simple, Snoop’s chorus is nice, but the focus should ALWAYS be on Kurupt’s absolutely magnificent rhyming:

“Gimme a couple G's, for every MC, I knocked to his knees / Verbally useless, oh you got the juice? I squeeze you juiceless / The barbaric, versatile, you're no kin to me / So how the fuck you inherit my style? / Now, out the clear blue sky, I can't deny / Not a day goes by, don't get high, don't ask why / Tonight's the night for me to rip microphones / Into bits and pieces, lyrical telekinesis”

This is his peak as a lyricist, and to any NY heads reading, this shows that a 95 Kurupt was easily on a par with the greats of the East, the Gza’s, the Nas’ etc.

Pooh drops by again and laces a buttery G-Funk backing track for the seminal “Smooth”, which finds guest Snoop dropping arguably the last TRULY dope “Doggystyle” type verse of his career. But, Kurupt is still fired up from the last and he once again absolutely lynches the mic with a mindblowing performance. “Cyco-lic-no” has a fired-up, hyperactive beat from Daz, and rapid-fire lyrics delivered aggressively by Dillinger, Young Gotti and guest Mr. Malik. “A Dogg’z Day Afternoon” has yet again a menacing, eerie synthesizer-led beat, and Kurupt steals the show on this track with amazing rhymes:

“I'm that nigga like Daz, crooked as scoliosis / S'impossible to survive, on my arrival / When I arrive, it's left to ya instinct of survival / Mashin, cashing in chips I got a loose sadistic sick mind / They define it, I’m mentally sick / And batter, it doesn't matter when ya enter it / Ya just entered in a war-zone, all alone, with ya microphone unguarded / I just started, poetical poltergeist precise and cold-hearted / Empty, tempt me, simply ta get shot / Ya forgot… I'm down to empty out my clip on ya block! / Stop, let the whole place evacuate / wait until we're face-to-face, then it escalates”

But even though the majority of hip-hop heads, and virtually every single Westcoast fan alive know the sheer class of “Dogg Food”, it still remains a fact that the duo’s debut is not thought of in the same ‘league’ as Dre’s and Snoop’s earlier efforts. Why’s this? Well Suge Knight’s decision to remove “Got My Mind Made Up”, and Daz’ decision to not have any Dre-produced tracks on the album (he removed “Can’t C Us”) has hurt “Dogg Food”. The three tracks at the end of the album are undoubtedly filler, and while I listen to damn near all of them every time, it is a bit of a shame an otherwise flawless release is slightly marred by the age-old curse of filler.

But “Dogg Food” is a definite classic from the artists formerly known as Tha Dogg Pound. This album is so good right now because it takes the listener right back to when these two permanently slept-on artists were right at the top of their game. Kurupt is in his prime here, shredding the mic with every verse he drops, and Daz drops as many dope rhymes as he does dope beats. While it certainly ain’t a heralded classic like its more illustrious predecessors, “Dogg Food” is a certified Westcoast classic. If you’re on this site and haven’t heard this album, then go and get it now!

5/5 Dubs!


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