Street life - its the only life he knows. Or at least thats how it appears on Snoop Doggs eighth solo album, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment. Until now, it seemed like Long Beachs favorite son has matured and mellowed more and more with each successive album. Well, that trends definitely reversed with Tha Blue Carpet Treatment. This is probably his most gangsta album since the late 1990s. And not coincidentally, its also one of his best.
King of the West?
Others may make more noise, but the truth is, when it comes to rap music, Snoop Dogg is king of the West Coast. Has been for well over a decade, and probably will be for the foreseeable future. But rather than constantly thump his chest in his rhymes like Jay-Z or some other top rappers, The D-O-Double G keeps it real by talking more about the world around him than himself.
Snoops always given props to the streets, but practically everything about this album, including its title and cover art, pay homage to the Crips. One obvious example is the anthemic Gang Bangin 101, in which the ex-Crip Snoop trades verses with Blood-affiliated The Game. Another case is the Neptunes-produced banger 10 Lil Crips, a warning to wannabes to keep clear: If your money is low, theres only one way to go, jack a rapper at a local rap radio show/So mean, so clean crip back to the block, then brag to the homies, show em what you got.
More murder and mayhem are manifest on the songs Crazy, featuring Nate Dogg; Vato, featuring Cypress Hills B-Real; and a Dr. Dre-produced melancholy track called Round Here. So after mellowing for years, Snoop appears to be trying to prove he hasnt gone Hollywood. And he does a good job of it; many of the songs are filled with the lyrical imagery that could only come from someone with close ties to the streets.
Food for Thought
Of the few non-street tracks, the salacious sex song Thats That, (featuring the always on-point R. Kelly) and Imagine, featuring (and produced by) Dr. Dre, are highlights. In fact, Imagine provides some of the albums more poignant moments, as the reunited Snoop and Dre (along with singer DAngelo on the hook) ask the listener to imagine what the world would have been like if hip-hop hadnt existed.
There are a whopping 21 tracks on Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, and little more than halfway in, the album loses its strength somewhat. It gets bogged down not only by the volume of tracks, but also the number of guest appearances: 24 different guest artists appear on Blue Carpet, and unfortunately, the majority of these are entirely unnecessary. In fact, the appearances by several of the artists, especially West Coast rappers like E-40, Goldie Loc, MC Eiht and yes, even Ice Cube, are completely gratuitous.
Another drawback is the rampant misogyny of Snoop and his comrades, which gets monotonous and tiresome pretty quickly. After all, you can only call a woman a b*tch so many times before the term starts to lose its impact and power.
The Bottom Line on Blue Carpet Treatment
Despite its flaws, the high-quality outweighs the second-rate on Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, and Snoop shows that he hasnt lost a step rhyme-wise. And his pen definitely hasnt gotten sloppy.
Top Tracks from Tha Blue Carpet Treatment
- "Think About It"
- "Boss' Life"
- "I Need a Light"