Daz Dillinger

I Got Love in These Streetz

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Relative to his days on Death Row Records, when he was part of tha Dogg Pound, the early 2000s weren't a particularly golden time for Daz Dillinger. His 15 minutes of fame had come and gone all too quickly. He'd gone from major-label fame to minor-league hunger, and his music suffered as well, sounding hasty and bitter rather than flashy and brash. However, a quitter he wasn't. While his onetime Dogg Pound partner Kurupt threw in the towel and dropped out of sight for years, Daz ground away on the underground circuit. For instance, he launched his own label and, via his website, churned out a number of releases -- some of them solo albums, others mixtape compilations, one after the other with only months separating them. These weren't especially great releases, granted, but he at least maintained his integrity and refused to quit, even if he now found himself on a serious budget relative to his major-label days when he was presumably awash in Death Row cash. I Got Love in These Streetz is one of his better releases from this era of struggle. It's "street" in every sense: the production sounds homemade, the packaging looks Xeroxed, the themes are hood-oriented, and Daz seems hungry. Sure, that doesn't seem all that appealing, in an MTV sense, yet this is precisely the album's charm. It is what it is, and in a word, it's underground. Daz is going it alone here. He released the album independently on his Gangsta Advisory Recordingz label, produced all the beats himself, hawks T-shirts on the inside cover, promotes his website shamelessly, and proclaims his love for the streets from the get-go (hoping they'll in turn love him). As for the music, well, it's only a notch or two above run of the mill as far as West Coast gangsta rap goes, but give Daz points for integrity and an A for effort. In an age where every rapper brags and boasts about money and fame, Daz isn't ashamed to be himself -- a truly underground gangsta rapper struggling to just get by -- and that in itself is something to write about. For a refreshing change, here's a brother who truly "keeps it real." And that's gangsta in every sense of the word.

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