Tha Dogg Pound

2002

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Yet another of Death Row's vault releases, tha Dogg Pound's 2002 follows the precedent set by Snoop Dogg's Dead Man Walkin' and 2Pac's Until the End of Time, both of which were released a few months before this album. Like those albums, 2002 compiles a disparate collection of leftover tracks, in this case culled from Daz Dillinger and Kurupt's never-finished sophomore release. As tempting as it is, though, to dismiss this album as the yet another exploitative attempt by Suge Knight to make it seem as if Death Row was somehow still relevant in the 21st century, 2002 actually deserves some recognition. Leftover vault recordings or not, there are a few wonderful moments on 2002. In fact, there are enough standout moments that this album actually challenges the duo's mediocre Dogg Food for the status of being a better album. In particular, the Dr. Dre-produced "Just Doggin" just may be tha Dogg Pound's career pinnacle -- a straightforward song featuring Nate Dogg on the hook and a slightly out-of-the-ordinary pre-2001 Dre beat that carries the song for almost five wonderful minutes. Besides this impressive song, 2002 also offers "Every Single Day," noteworthy for its wild wah-wah guitar-driven beat, in addition to a better than average performance by Snoop on not one but two verses. Then there's an out-of-place yet no doubt welcome collaboration with Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, and Memphis Bleek on a remix of "Change the Game," and there's also the standout album-opening "Roll Wit Us" and notable yet uninspired appearances by Xzibit and 2Pac. Besides these numerous highlights, there are a number of unmemorable songs that are at best on par with much of what's found on Dogg Food. In the end, 2002 is worth picking up for the aforementioned highlights if you're a West Coast G-funk fan, especially if you enjoyed Dogg Food, even if much of the remaining album is admittedly disparate.

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