Snoop Dogg was old school before there was old school, and certainly before it became the commercial force that it is now. His initial partnership with Dr. Dre was characterized by, among other aspects, the duo’s profound appreciation for the ’70s funk music popularized by people like George Clinton. However, Snoop’s Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss, an album with more funk than almost any other hip-hop effort recently, displays a new level of preoccupation with that foregone era.
After listening to the record, one gets the sense that were he able to, Snoopy D-O-double-gizzle would gleefully spend his days in a blaxploitation, Dolemite realm. No less than nine of the album’s 17 tracks are explicitly reminiscent of the ’70s funk and R&B that Snoop so clearly admires. Whether he is sampling Parliament on songs like “Stoplight,” emulating the sensual R&B of a Minnie Riperton on “I Believe in You,” or recreating “wa-chicka,” Isaac Hayes-bass sounds on “Lollipop,” Snoop makes Paid an eclectic, unique musical venture.
However, this record is not a complete anachronism. While many of the tracks borrow ’70s styles, they present updated versions of those sounds instead of completely recreating them. Additionally, tracks like the smooth “Bo$$ Playa” are firmly based in the present and continue the ’90s-era G Funk sound that Snoop helped pioneer.
The album’s best track is “The One and Only,” which is an appropriate song for an album so keenly aware of music’s past. On the track, while sampling many of his previous works, Snoop details the turns that his career and personal life have taken. The beat was made by super producer DJ Premier, a man whose name alone should account for the song’s quality. The track works so well because the beat remains interesting without co-opting the listener’s attention, allowing Snoopy’s words to remain the focus – a DJ Premier trademark.
Other notable production contributions are made by DJ Hi-Tek and the now-ubiquitous Neptunes, who of course lace the track “Beautiful” with Pharell’s signature falsetto crooning. Snoop also receives vocal aid from a bevy of friends, and Nate Dogg reaffirms his position as hip-hop’s most welcomed guest. Unfortunately, certain collaborations, like the atrocious “You Got What I Want,” don’t work and detract from the album. Yet, Snoop has returned with a fine effort that will delight his fans while exposing many to a different hip-hop sound. Glory B, da funk’s alive.