He”s at every Ann Arbor party. You”ll find him in the living room, where the furniture”s been pushed back and the lights are out. (No, I”m not talking about that one kid whose honky ass somehow shows up at every party and dances, when no one else is dancing, right in front of the speakers. That kid whom no one ever knows and who makes sure to knock into people trying to pass by whilst doing his best whiteboy wiggle. Who is that kid?!?) Back to invited guests and the one who is welcome at all parties big or small, fraternity or engineering: The one and only Snoop Dogg. (So that”s where your stash went!)

Paul Wong
Blitzstein (David Wolber), Eva (Carla Milarch) and Welles (Travis Reiff) contemplate a whole new world.<br><br>Courtesy of Daniel C. Walker/Performance Network

He usually slinks in on a DL baseline, and his easygoing style makes him at home at any party. Invariably, he”ll quickly offer a brief introduction before moving on to more important matters, like hos and endo. (An aside: Your reviewer finds it necessary to ignore a majority of this album”s lyrics so as to keep from being disgusted. I evaluate this album as a piece of art, snapshots of a lifestyle. I do not endorse its promotion of drugs, violence or misogyny.)

But what do drunken kids wearing party pants care about lyrics, anyway? They want something they can dance to and a chorus they can rap along with Snoop happily obliges.

But what he delivers on this greatest hits album (top-notch Doggystylings from his Death Row days) proves that, though the Doggfather is nowhere near as important, he is the Chuck Berry of gangsta rap. Chuck Berry a rock and roll pioneer, a guitar hook innovator has a greatest hits album as well. It”s called The Great Twenty-Eight and it contains maybe six songs. The tempos vary and the words and song titles change a bit over the 28 tracks, but the album essentially consists of about 15 versions of “Johnny B. Goode.” This doesn”t make Berry any less talented or innovative, but it does make him something of a two or three trick pony. Sure, they were important tricks and music today might be different if Berry hadn”t rolled over Beethoven and told Tchaikovsky the news, but that doesn”t mean the same old shtick doesn”t grow stale by its fourteenth repackaging.

And that”s what one finds on Snoop”s Hits, (or should I say “Suge Knight”s ticket out of legal fee debt?”) much filler and a reminder that Snoop, like Berry, was innovative and unique back in his day, within his idiom, but that he never got beyond those first few tricks. The classics like “Nuthin” But a G Thang” and “Gin and Juice” are here of course, but so are some newer remixes.

Timbaland”s remix of “Doggfather” is pretty tight, but the other remixes, like Rage Against the Machine”s attempted rapcoring of “Snoop Bounce,” don”t come together in fruitful union. In this era of Outkasts and Ja Rules, some of Snoop”s hits sound dated though nothing will ever render his few trademarks entirely irrelevant. But practically speaking, ever since Winamp replaced the CD player as the DJ of choice at college house parties, everyone who wants them already “owns” Snoop”s hits anyway.

Grade: D+

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