Let’s face it: Daz is no stranger to adversity. From his very public business and verbal beefs with the East Coast, Dr. Dre, Death Row, and even his very own DPGC brother from another, Kurupt, it’s obvious that Daz don’t run from shit.
For the last few years Daz has maintained some sort of relevance to the game through the independent scene, touring, and his production. After somewhat of a fight, Dillenger returns with his newest opus via (believe it or not) So So Def. Yes, So So Def. Linking up with JD, Daz hopes to cash in on all his hard work and ride once again.
Completely reinvigorated, Daz sounds more polished on this LP than ever before. As evidenced on the NO I.D. produced “Thang on My Hip”, Daz hits fans with sharp punches over the hypnotic piano laced back drop. The Dogg Pound Gangsta continues with the verbal gangbangin’ on the Ice Cube featured “Strizap”. The murky bass line and gunshots of the Daz production meshes well with the G’d up tales of his favorite ratchets. However, Daz is outshined by Cube with rapid fire bars like, “that shit you did should be a fell-o-nee/that’s what they keep tellin’ me/that’s that Dogg from the L-B-C/Now they wanna put him to sleep/S to the T to the R-A-P/Pull it out first, then put Them to sleep /grab that and split him in the back of my jeep/drag him to two-one street”.
Apologies to the DPGC fans, because all ain’t so gangsta for Daz considering this album ultimately is a So So Def production. Hoping to garner the club obsessed youth of today, the album is filled with tracks that scream ‘play me on the radio!’, like the gritty flute tinged “Weekend”, and the yawn inducing “Badder Than A Mutha”. Although the former is danceable while still maintaining Daz’s gangsta sound, the latter is by far the most obvious pot shot at the ladies and the aforementioned clubs.
Listeners, don’t get it twisted, for the album is NOT a complete disaster. Daz sounds completely at home amongst the Dogg Pound brethren on “DPG Fo’ Life”. The straight Left side posse cut glides smoother than a freshly tricked out rag top rollin’ through traffic on a warm Cali afternoon. The up tempo track blends perfectly with Snoops silky slick vocals, Daz’s energetic flow, and even Soopafly’s six simple bars. The song is a standout, but Daz truly shines the most with his partner in rhyme, Kurupt, on the oh so grimy “Money On My Mind”. The Scott Storch production is loaded with high pitch leads, chimes, and rugged guitar licks which provide a wonderful foundation for Tha Dogg Pound to display their back and forth delivery on the mic.
All in all, ‘So So Gangsta’ is filled with missteps throughout. Blatant crossover attempts, one dimensional lyrics, and weak hooks thwart Daz’s opportunity to smack the mainstream in the face with his own brand of Cali Hip Hop. Fortunately for those that look forward to the man’s music, the discs few saving graces alone are potent enough to make it worth copping.
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