Snoop Dogg leaves much of his gang-banging past behind him in favor of preened pimp posturing on his final album for No Limit Records, The Last Meal. Snoop's increasingly old-school pose suits his gracefully aging self well. Despite his former affiliation with Death Row Records and his much-publicized murder trial, Snoop never seemed like much of a thug, which is partly why hostile albums like Tha Doggfather (1996) and Da Game Is to Be Sold Not to Be Told (1998) seemed a bit forced. Contrarily, it seems more natural for him to rap about the pampered pimp life, as he does here on The Last Meal -- tall glasses of Hennesey, glistening pairs of Stacey Adams, overcast clouds of chronic smoke, hungry hordes of so-called bitches -- over truck-rattling G-funk basslines that lope along at a languid tempo. These impressive beats come courtesy of a similarly impressive roster of producers: second-wave G-funksters Meech Wells, Battlecat, Jelly Roll, and Soopafly, and brand-name hitmakers Dr. Dre, Scott Storch, and Timbaland. Among this roster, Timbaland certainly stands out, as do his contributions, "Snoop Dogg (What's My Name, Pt. 2)" and "Set It Off," which place Snoop in an uncharacteristically energetic context. He handles himself well on these bouncy songs regardless, yet seems more at home on Dre's smoother contributions, "Hennesey n Buddah" and "Lay Low." Beyond these four tracks, the remaining 15 are a mixed bag, most of them Crip-walking along at a stoned tempo, featuring soulful P-Funk hooks by Kokane and offering laid-back respite while this lengthy album moves leisurely toward its throwback album-capper, "Y'all Gone Miss Me." Following this misty-eyed finale, you're left with the thankful sense that Snoop has finally taken control of his career after succumbing to the oppressive fancy of Suge Knight and Master P ever since parting ways with Dr. Dre following Doggystyle (1993).
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier