Album Review: Snoop Dogg’s “Malice n Wonderland”

13 Dec

Many rappers hope to reach this mark, but few ever do. Plenty of emcees call themselves veterans, but they never cross this mark. Snoop Dogg has, he finally reached the tenth album of his career.

This album is special because he returned to EMI Music to release this album. At the peak of his post-Death Row career, Snoop Dogg recorded for EMI. However, he wanted to work with the top producers, so he left for Geffen Records.

Now that it is clear that he can roll with the best, Snoop Dogg is back where he belongs. Late last year, he left Geffen to sign a deal with MTV. Obviously, that deal fell apart as he ended up signing a deal to take an executive position at Priority Records. For a few years that label has been defunct.

Snoop was thrilled to have the opportunity to help revive the label. Not only will he be releasing the first new music, but he will also sign new artists. While he has not gotten to the signing new artists part, Snoop has been able to release new music from the label. The first thing heard from Priority Records in over five years was Snoop Dogg’s own “Gangsta Luv.”

Unlike his other albums, Malice n Wonderland is relatively short. Already, he has released three other singles from the album. Aside from the collaboration with The-Dream on “Gangsta Luv,” Snoop Dogg has recorded with Soulja Boy, Lil Jon, Jazmine Sullivan, Nipsey Hussle, Problem, Kokane, R. Kelly, Brandy, and Pharrell.

This album will be notable for returning Brandy and Lil Jon back to the public eye. Last year, Brandy released an album to critical-acclaim, but that did little to rebuild her fan base. Ever since 2006 and the “Hip Hop Is Dead movement,” Lil Jon has been out of the public eye. He was one of the main ones blamed for the decline of hip hop music.

With Snoop Dogg, these artists and more are back. On the production side, Snoop has worked with Scoop DeVille, Dr. Dre, Terrace Martin, Lil Jon, Teddy Riley, PMG, The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, B-Don, Super Ced, Danja, Timbaland, Jason Martin, Battlecat, Nottz, The Neptunes, and J.R. Rotem.

Track listing:

  1. “Intro”
  2. “I Wanna Rock”
  3. “2 Minute Warning”
  4. “1800” featuring Lil Jon
  5. “Different Languages” featuring Jazmine Sullivan
  6. “Gangsta Luv” featuring The-Dream
  7. “Pronto” featuring Soulja Boy
  8. “That’s tha Homie”
  9. “Upside Down” featuring Nipsey Hussle and Problem
  10. “Secrets” featuring Kokane
  11. “Pimpin Ain’t EZ” featuring R. Kelly
  12. “Luv Drunk” featuring The-Dream
  13. “Special” featuring Brandy and Pharrell
  14. “Outro”
  15. “Bootiez Automatic (iTunes Bonus)

Unlike most other Snoop Dogg albums, Malice n Wonderland is relatively short. Most of his albums take an entire day to listen to, while this one is only long enough for a ride or two across town. Because of this, the album is much easier to listen to and it will not be rushed through by the listeners.

Right out of the gate, Snoop goes in on the hard-hitting “I Wanna Rock.” This song seemingly sets the tone for the rest of the album. He continues with the hardcore music on the next track and his Lil Jon collaboration will be one of the early high points of the album.

For the ladies, Snoop Dogg slows things down to talk about relationships with Jazmine Sullivan, then he goes right into “Gangsta Luv.” After one more slow song, the music speeds back up, right into his Timbaland-produced track, “That’s tha Homie.” It is something that Snoop has never tried before that came out right.

“Upside Down” and “Problems” are two slip-ups, but his reunion with R. Kelly for “Pimpin Ain’t EZ” almost make up for those slips. Continuing his rhymes of seduction, The Doggfather re-teamed with The-Dream for “Luv Drunk.” Also, for the first time in his career, Snoop Dogg worked with his cousin, Brandy.

Brandy and Pharrell assist Snoop on “Special,” another slow track on the album. It sets things up perfectly for the album’s outro. Out of all of Snoop Dogg’s albums, Malice n Wonderland will stick out. He removes himself from the stagnation that he showed on his last two albums.

With this album, it is clear that he has grown as an artist. On his last two albums, he seemed bored with the game. During the promotion of last year’s Ego Trippin, he admitted to being bored with the music. Over the past year and a half, Snoop Dogg has shown a rededication that is displayed all over this album.

Overall, Malice n Wonderland is a great listen that will not take all day to be heard in its entirety. From Hip Hop Vibe, the album will receive a 7 out of 10 ranking.

The album was released on December 8, 2009 on Doggystyle Records and Priority Records through EMI Music.

Snoop Dogg – Malice n Wonderland (7/10)

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