So So Gangsta

Daz Dillinger

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So So Gangsta Review

by David Jeffries

When legendary West Coast rapper Daz Dillinger started beefing with the Death Row label -- and eventually with his old partner, Kurupt -- he made plenty of news, but it didn't seem like he made any major-label friends. Then 2006 rolls around and Death Row isn't a concern anymore, the Kurupt thing gets patched up, and Ice Cube puts the focus back on the West Coast by dropping the serious Laugh Now, Cry Later while Snoop Dogg gets Daz and Kurupt back together as Tha Dogg Pound and releases the wicked anthem "Cali Iz Active." All of a sudden, cool mogul Jermaine Dupri decides the time is right to call Daz up to his major-label-affiliated So So Def, and the wonderful "Daz Thang" single announces the relationship, bringing the revered but hidden rapper more exposure than he's gotten in many years. For whatever reason, the G-funky "Daz Thang" single doesn't land on So So Gangsta, which is a shame since Daz's first major-label solo release since 1998's Retaliation, Revenge and Get Back could use a little more of that album's old-school G-funk, but Dupri's slickness and the rapper's cold thugging mix surprisingly well, save a little filler. Dupri gives Daz and guest Rick Ross a crooked and creeping beat on the great "On Some Real," and enlists So So Def's house producer No I.D. to bring some theatrical drama in for the grand "Thang on My Hip." By the time "DPG Fo' Life" appears with Snoop, pure West Coast fans who want Daz to stay real will have probably forgotten he's working with the same folks Janet Jackson is, but they'll be reminded when the too sweet "The One" with Jagged Edge rolls around. While some redundancy towards the end and a couple of unnecessary guest stars keep this from being vital, it's generally a well-built effort, and just like Cube's 2006 release, So So Gangsta offers a veteran Left Coaster sounding as hungry as he did in the WC's heyday.

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