Tha Dogg Pound

Cali Iz Active

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With its crooked, crooked West Coast beat and the glorious TGIF chorus thrown on top of it, lead single "Cali Iz Active" came on the scene and ruled every beatbox that knew what was up. But just like the cover artwork to the album Cali Iz Active, the wicked title cut misrepresents what is really a reunion of the original Dogg Pound duo, Daz Dillinger and Kurupt, with only a couple of appearances by executive producer Snoop Dogg. One listen through this heat-carrying album and it doesn't matter much, since the long-estranged Daz and Kurupt are lyrically inspired here, have lost none of their chemistry, and their choices for producers and guest stars are either smart or risky. Falling into the latter category is Diddy's appearance on "It's Craccin All Night," a surprisingly successful track that figures into the handful of highlights. "Sittin on 23z" kicks its way into this category thanks to a monstrous beat by Swizz Beatz that shakes the foundations. The cuts with David Banner and Paul Wall do a good job of blending Southern and West Coast attitudes, but the West Coast heads are going to appreciate the Ice Cube, Nate Dogg, and Lady of Rage guest shots the most, since they brilliantly recall a time when G-funk ruled all. While it's a track or two too long, Cali Iz Active is arguably the strongest album from the crew and a West Coast fiend's dream come true.

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