Tha Dogg Pound – Cali Iz Active

Tha Dogg Pound - Cali Iz ActiveThe Dogg Pound has a long history behind them. The group was introduced on Dr Dre’s The Chronic and Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle before dropping Dogg Food in 1995. When 2pac was shot and killed, and Suge Knight put in prison, the group broke up. Kurupt left Death Row while Daz stayed. Snoop, who isn’t really a member of the group but a very close affiliate, also left the label. A few years later Daz left Death Row and Kurupt went back to Suge. Disses were exchanged before Kurupt left Death Row and Snoop brought the duo together again for this album, Cali Iz Active. I’m not sure if Snoop is an official member of the group now or not, but he’s not listed as a feature so I guess he is.

Both Kurupt and Daz used to bring energy to a song. Nowdays, Daz provides the energy while Kurupt has settled with a more laid back style than he had in his early years to many fans disappointment.

I’m not expecting Cali iz Active to be the classic Dogg Food was, but I do expect a very tight album.

1. Cali Iz Active (Produced by Battlecat)
Cali Iz Active, produced by Battlecat, is the first single. Kurupt, Daz and Snoop spit one verse each on the track and Snoop do some singing(?) at the end of the song. When Battlecat produces a song you know you’re getting a West Coast banger. This is no exception. Kurupt used to be the lyrical member of the group, but he’s outshined by Snoop AND Daz on this cut to me. Solid single. Check out the video if you’ve got the chance to.
2. Kushn N’ Pushn (Produced by L.T Moe)
Kushn N’ Pushn has a funky 70’s influenced beat. Kurupt is spitting the first verse and if you compare his flow with any song from Dogg Food you can tell his flow changed a lot. His wordplay is pretty cool sometimes but his lazy flow makes it sound more like random rhyming words. Daz comes in for the second verse and makes a solid impression as always. Snoop isn’t featured on the track. Instead, Kurupt does a third verse that leaves me with a better impression than his first. All in all it’s a solid track but nothing special. The funk-factor of the beat saves it.
3. Sittin On 23’z (Produced by Swizz Beatz)
I’m no big fan of Swizz Beatz and this song isn’t even close to making me a supporter. In other words: The beat’s wack. Daz and Kurupt tries to save it but I bet you if an underground producer would’ve produced this track it wouldn’t have made the cut. On the other hand, Kurupt and Daz makes a real good effort and Kurupt sounds like the good ole Young Gotti are got used to hearing. An other thing I like about this track is that it’s not divided into one verse per group member as if one was featured on the others track. The Doggpound is doing it like a group, with overlapping bars. No Snoop on this cut either. This is the first singles b-side. I hope an other song is selected for the second video because this one’s a sure flop.
4. Stop Lyin (Produced by Battlecat)
An other Battlecat production. That means an other tight West Coast beat and as a West Coast fan I appreciate that. I’m not sure all the East and South heads will though… Oh well too bad because this is the type of shit that made the Doggpound. One thing some people has criticised Doggpound of in the past are songs without a meaning and I tend to agree to that criticism. I think it would’ve bothered me more if I had expected it from them to begin with tho. The hook on this song is taken from an expression used by many artists: You ain’t got to lie to kick it. Solid track.
5. It’s Craccin’ All Night feat. P Diddy (Produced by J-Dubs)
P Diddy and The Doggpound? Snoop, who makes an other appearance on the album here, has done songs with P. Diddy before, but The Doggpound? Shit, I guess it’s all about being World Wide Connected, but still… Feels real weird to hear Diddy with Tha Pound. I’m sure a lot of people are going to call them sellouts after this one, but I won’t take it that far. The beat’s kind of dark with a fat bass tone and I don’t know if it’s Diddys addition or Snoop’s unusually tight verse, but this track has that lil’ extra to make it an aspiring banger.
6. Slow Your Roll (Produced by Soopafly)
I guess Soopafly isn’t an official member of The Doggpound anymore because this is his first appearance on this album and it’s on the production. After Cali Iz Active, this is probably the tightest beat this far on the album. While the other tracks have been kind of slow, this is more up-tempo and it’s making Daz and Kurupt spit some tight shit. There’s not much more to say… don’t sleep on this track.
7. Heavyweights (Produced by Ryan Leslie)
Heavyweights is an other one of those funky songs. Honestly, the funky type of beats is more suitable for Snoop than they are for The Doggpound. At first, I thought this cut had a guest on it not mentioned in the credits, but then I realized the dark raspy voice belongs to Daz. I guess he had a little too much to smoke that week… The Doggpound are, just like they are on most of the tracks on this album, repping DPG hard. I’m definately feeling this track. Mainly for the G-Funkiness of it.
8. Keepin’ It Gangsta feat. Lady Of Rage (Produced by Soopafly)
I guess The Doggpound aren’t the only old Death Row inmates reuniting on this album. According to herself, she’s “not a Dogg pound gangsta crip”, but she’s “that chick from the Dogg pound gangsta click”. To me, most female rappers are wack. The Lady Of Rage is one of a few exceptions. Daz, Kurupt and Snoop were all outshined. Kurupt are mixing solid verses with tight flow with wack verses consisting of random rhyming words. Julio G makes an appearance on the outro.
9. Hard On A Hoe feat. Nate Dogg & RBX (Produced by Rick Rock)
A West Coast classic is almost guarantied to have Nate Dogg doing the hook on atleast one song. According to the credits, Nate’s on Hard On A Hoe. Considering he kidnapped his ex girlfriend and tied her up in the basement I guess it’s a fitting song for him to feature on. Unfortunately he just does some background vocals behind Snoops hook. Other than that disappointment, the track’s real tight. RBX makes a tight appearance for the first time on the album. Rick Rock has made a simple beat for Dogg Pound to do their thing on and they do it well. Still, I’m missing a hard hitting banger from the group.
10. It’s All Good feat. Ice Cube (Produced by Battlecat)
You know how I feel about Battlecat by now (NO HOMO). This isn’t one of his best beats but it’s tight and The Dogg Pound bring it up a notch. It’s like you were in a time machine when you hear Snoop. His style on this cut is angry and much rawer than we are used to hearing him nowdays. Daz does a tight verse as he has on every song on the album, and even though Kurupt is nowhere near his Dogg Food days, he does a pretty tight verse. Ice Cube doesn’t do a verse on this track. He’s just doing a part of the hook. I was looking forward to Cube spittin’ some hot shit but oh well. It’s still a tight track.
11. Fakna** Hoes feat David Banner (Produced by David Banner)
The Dogg Pound on a David Banner beat? That’s something you don’t hear every day but it’s actually working out real well. David Banner gets crunk and we know Daz and Snoop can handle that type of shit from previous solo tracks and features, but I never heard Kurupt on a track like this before… even though his song with Bootleg on Against The Grain kind of reminds me of this cut. I’ve been going hard at Kurupt in this review, but I think it’s time to stop comparing him to the old (young?) Kurupt. Young Gotti used to be a lyricist and now he’s a solid rapper. If you compare the two it’s obvious that you’re going to be disappointed. If you take it for what it is you can still find Kurupt tight. His style is just a little more laid back nowadays. With that in mind, all rappers spit some hot shit on this cut making it one of the best tracks on the album. Putting David Banner on the album was an excellent idea. This is single material.
12. Don’t Sweat It feat. Nate Dogg & RBX (Produced by 1500)
One thing I like about this album is that The Dogg Pound rep the West Coast hard. You haven’t really heard a lot of that shit in the mainstream lately. Don’t Sweat It starts off with Snoop saying “Did somebody say the West Coast?”. Other than that, it’s not one of the highlights of the album. The beat’s not bad but my expression of the track is that it just doesn’t do it for me. The highlight is RBX spitting a real raw verse. His voice fits real well to the beat. I don’t know why Nate Dogg is credited here though. Could be him saying “Ohhh” real low in the background of the hook but it might as well be any random person.
13. Make that P**** Pop feat. Paul Wall (Produced by Shondrea)
I think the cover art may be wrong on Don’t Sweat It. Nate Dogg was probably meant to be listed as a feature onMake That ***** Pop… Unless that’s someone else with a similar voice doing the hook. Other than the somewhat catchy hook, the track isn’t that good. Paul Wall makes a solid appearance but it’s not exactly going to show up on his greatest hits album. It’s an average track and to me a filler.
14. Throwin’ Up Da C (Produced by Soopafly)
Finally a faster type of track! A faster beat forces Kurupt to go back to his old style and it fits Daz perfectly. Daz often disappears from the limelight when Snoop, who is not on this track, and Kurupt do tracks with him, but he’s right now the best rapper of the group in my opinion. Soopafly laced a real tight beat making this one of the highlights of the album.
15. Face 2 Face (Produced by Battlecat)
Face 2 Face has a real weird beat and even though I’m a fan of Battlecat I think this track could’ve been left off the album. Kurupt, Snoop and Daz does their best but the beat’s just too weak. Skip this track.
16. She Likes That (Produced by Jazze Pha)
Ladies and gentlemen… This is a Jazze Phizzle Produzzle. If I got a buck every time I heard that… Kurupt, Daz and Snoop has all taken the turn to speak on hoes on every other track. This one’s basically about hoes sucking dick and how Dogg Pound likes *****. Even though it’s not very original, it’s a solid track and nice way to finish off the album.

 

This album is very hard to grade. Tight tracks are mixed with real weak performances. Kurupt disappoint me every time I hear him nowdays, but like I mentioned before we should probably not compare him too much to his old style. The change of style makes me appreciate Daz more than I did on Dogg Food. Daz is now the best rapper of the group to me even though Snoop sometimes wakes up and spit real hot shit.

With a three man group, there’s no big need of guest appearances. Still, the guests on this album add something you wouldn’t have gotten without them even though Ice Cube and Nate Dogg added nothing due to the fact that they didn’t do anything. The Lady Of Rage, RBX and David Banner made the biggest impression and were excellent picks for the album.

To compare this album to Dogg Food would be like compating Kurupts new style to his old. Dogg Food is a 5 out of 5 classic to me, or possibly a 4,5 out of 5 arguable classic. This album is nowhere near that rating.

I have to admit the album’s pretty tight though and deserves a rating above average. There aren’t alot of West Coast albums making a big impression nowdays so the West has really been awaiting this album. It’s a slight disappointment even though my expectations probably were too high. I rate this album 3.5 out of 5. Worth mentioning is that it’s alot closer to getting a 4 out of 5 rating than it is to getting 3/5. As a West Coast fan, you should definately get it.

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