Malice N Wonderland

Snoop Dogg

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Malice N Wonderland Review

by Gregory Heaney

On his tenth album (and first as the chairman of Priority Records), Snoop Dogg continues to prove he’s not a relic of the G-funk era, proving that while the music may change, good flow never goes out of style. Right out of the gate, Snoop drops a song for the West Coast Jerkin’ set with “I Wanna Rock” before switching gears back to classic Snoop with the Dre-inspired “2 Minute Warning,” where the rapper lets everyone know he’s still the same Snoop Dogg after all these years as he proclaims, “Ponytail still swingin’, hair still braided/Laker to a Clipper I won’t be faded.” With production by Lil Jon, Timbaland, Danjahandz, Battlecat, and the Neptunes (just to name a handful), it’s no wonder the album sounds like not only a retrospective of every stage of his career, but of the trends in rap music as a whole. With the album touching on his G-funk beginnings with “Secrets,” crunk on the Lil Jon-produced “1800,” the Dirty South on the Soulja Boy collaboration “Pronto,” and his time on the Neptunes-fronted Star Trak on “Special” (featuring guest spots by Pharrell and Brandy), Snoop Dogg is able to prove simultaneously that he’s still relevant while showing off his veteran status. With all the big production on the album, it comes as a bit of a surprise that Snoop shines the brightest on the sparse “Upside Down” (produced by longtime Snoop collaborator Terrance Martin). Sounding like a throwback to “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” the simple arrangement allows Snoop’s easy flow to sit front and center, showing off the effortless style that's kept him in the rap game for nearly half of his life. Malice N Wonderland might not go into the books as a perennial classic like Doggystyle, but like R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece and Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$$ before it, the album serves as a reminder of the flexibility and resilience that have allowed Snoop Dogg to remain an enduring figure in hip-hop.

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