Tha Doggfather

Snoop Dogg

Death Row Records, 1996

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's been a tough two years for rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg - first being tried and acquitted on murder charges, then losing labelmate Dr. Dre in Dre's dispute with Death Row head Suge Knight, and losing Tupac Shakur when he was gunned down in Las Vegas in 1996.

Snoop's problems carry through in his second album, Tha Doggfather, a weak effort in comparison to his debut effort Doggystyle.

The first problem hits the listener in the face almost immediately - Snoop's vocals, already low because of his soft-spoken delivery, are almost non-existent in the mix if you have your bass blaring. For most of the tape, adjusting your bass to midrange works... but not always. The mix of this album is atrocious.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I blame part of the problem in the mix on Dr. Dre - rather, his absence from this album. Dre's studio mastery helped add a special touch to Doggystyle, and his influence is sorely missed on this release. If anything, the fact that there are more than five producers credited to Tha Doggfather could be a sign of trouble without ever popping the tape into the deck... too many cooks, you know.

The second problem is with the additional rappers on the album. You may have read here before that I am not crazy about rappers bringing in "guest artists" for many tracks - it takes away from the power of the original rapper. There are some tracks on Tha Doggfather with so many guests, I don't even think Snoop gets a turn on the microphone! Who did I pay to hear, Snoop or Nate Dogg? Here's a hint: check the spine of the CD for the answer.

And then, there is the music. While Doggystyle had catchy melodies with catchy rhymes, such as tracks like "Gin 'N Juice" and "What's My Name," on Tha Doggfather, there is none. Even the first single, "Snoop's Upside Ya Head," is weak.

There are a few redeeming moments on Tha Doggfather - namely, the title track and "Up Jump Tha Boogie" - but these are too few and far between. Ironically, the best moment of the entire tape comes on a filler - "When I Grow Up," where Snoop admonishes a young man for wanting to follow in Snoop's footsteps. Possibly a warning to the youth of today - as if Shakur's murder wasn't enough - that the gangsta life isn't as glamorous as the rappers make it out to be?

Another good track is "Vapors," a piece which seems to trace the histories of young black men who people thought would never amount to anything. These men, of course, turn out to be Snoop and his friends. But, the message is a positive one, and the track is well performed.

Many artists hit what is known as the "sophomore slump", where their follow-up albums pale in comparison to their first works. Snoop Doggy Dogg proves that rap is not immune to this slump. Snoop is a very talented artist and will undoubtedly rebound to produce many great records, but Tha Doggfather isn't one of those.

Rating: D

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1997 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Death Row Records, and is used for informational purposes only.