Snoop Dogg

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 December, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 December, 2004, 12:00am

Snoop Dogg

R&G - Rhythm & Gangsta:

The Masterpiece


Snoop must be getting soft in his old age: 'Leave her, don't hit her,' he advises on the suggestively titled I'm Threw Witchu. Then again, maybe not: 'I've reached the status / of a modern day John the Baptist', on I Love To Give You Light.

Ten years on from Doggy Style and Snoop is still drawling on about the gangsta stuff, although these days he's the old Dogg learning a few new tricks from the young pups.

While opting, like everyone else, for The Neptunes to produce this latest effort, he nevertheless manages to stamp his own authority over it. Collaborators include legendary funkster Bootsy Colllins, an excellent turn with 50 Cent on Oh No and, perhaps the biggest surprise of all, little Justin Timberlake.

And yet his addition to the mix is a great success. Signs demonstrates how Timberlake eschews any snoop-style posturing and throws in a suitably whiter-than-white falsetto.

There's the usual amount of spliff-addled guff to fast-forward through, too, but in between you find some typically snoopadelic gems. The Bidness is up there with his best, while Drop it Like it's Hot is remarkable. With the absence of a melody and the use of one of the nastiest synthesisers since Van Halen's Jump, it should be rubbish. Somehow, it manages not to be - one of those inside-out tunes that The Neptunes excel at.

Snoop saves the best surprise for last, however, taking on the late, great Curtis Mayfield on No Thang On Me. In doing so, he does an admirable impression of the great man himself, and Snoop reveals that even gangstas can get away with high-pitched falsettos when they want to, too.