Any hip-hop heads, apart from the most hateful haters, should be able to find it within themselves to respect Daz Dillinger to some extent. Despite not burning up the charts for a few years, Dillinger seems to now be content with lurking in the underground, releasing adequate-to-reputable albums and mixtapes every few months. Most rappers and producers squeezed into the underground after time spent at the top of the charts turn spiteful real quick and remain that way, growing increasingly embittered with each succession of platinum acts. Dillinger's cool with it all, documented in the thank yous within the liners of Tha Dogg Pound Gangsta LP: "Everybody out there making it happen... the whole hip-hop unit... we on top of the world right now, lets [sic] keep it that way!" His contentment with the state of hip-hop, and life in general, bleeds all through Tha Dogg Pound Gangsta LP, a raunchy laid-back party record for most of its duration. It's West Coast through and through, despite hip-hop's swing to the South that has increased in significance since the late '90s. Dillinger defiantly sticks to the same musical sources -- the '70s and '80s electrified funk that became a West Coast signature remains, so Zapp and Funkadelic/Parliament nods are served up nonstop. This has more to do with Dillinger knowing what he does best than creative bankruptcy. Though the album is predominantly hedonistic and fun-loving, its few diversions into full-on menace (the swirling, booming "Get a Dose of Dis Hot Ish" is one of his best productions) and poignant contemplation make the affair well-rounded. Tha Dogg Pound Gangsta LP isn't destined to wake up the West Coast like the Game's debut album, released just a week prior on a much bigger label, but it should have no trouble pleasing those willing to give it a shot. It's not a bad prelude to the next Dr. Dre album, either, even if it's done on a much smaller budget.
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman
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