Snoop Dogg: Malice N Wonderland

600px-MaliceNwonderland

In 1993 a young Calvin Broadus released his debut album Doggystyle under the alias Snoop Doggy Dogg. The album was an instant success despite its ‘gangsta’ subject matter and lyrics laced with violence and misogyny. With a fresh, new sound and devlishly good wordplay, a Hip Hop star was born.

A lot has changed in Hip Hop since then! Sixteen years later, Snoop is preparing to release his tenth studio album Malice N Wonderland under Priority Records, a company in which he holds the executive position of Chairman. Now a successful businessman and international star, he has clearly come a long way since Doggystyle. With his renewed mainstream focus and reliance on equally commercial artists for features, however, many question just how relevant Snoop’s latest offering will be.

The anticipated tracklist for Malice N Wonderland is as follows:

1. Intro
2. I Wanna Rock (prod: Scoop DeVille)
3. 2 Minute Warning (prod:Terrace Martin)
4. 1800 (ft. Lil Jon, prod: Lil Jon)
5. Different Languages (ft. Jazmine Sullivan, prod: Teddy Riley & Scoop DeVille)
6. Gangsta Luv (ft. The-Dream, prod: The-Dream & Tricky)
7. Pronto (ft. Soulja Boy, prod: B-Don)
8. That’s Tha Homie (ft. Timbaland, prod: Timbaland & Danja)
9. Upside Down (ft. Problem & Nipsey Hussle, prod: Terrace Martin)
10. Secrets (ft. Kokane, prod: Battlecat)
11. Pimpin Ain’t EZ (ft. R. Kelly, prod: Nottz)
12. Luv Drunk (ft. The-Dream, prod: The-Dream & Tricky)
13. World of a Gangsta (ft. The Game, B-Real & KRS-One, prod: DJ Premier)
14. Special (ft. Brandy & Pharrell, prod: Neptunes)
15. Outro

Malice N Wonderland is scheduled for release on December 8th 2009.

Snoop Doggy Dogg ‘Lost Sessions Vol. 1’ Review

snoopLSV1

Perhaps it is the curse of Death Row, but it seems totally inconceivable that the so-called lost sessions have remained lost for so long. The latest WIDEawake Death Row offering’s insert promises a selection of ‘Snoop Dogg’s classic 90’s recordings’ and for the most part it must be said that the ‘new Death Row’ headed by Managing Partner Lara Lavi has delivered on that promise.

Aside from just a couple of less memorable ‘album tracks’ so to speak, The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 marks a return to the familiar and instantly distinguishable Death Row sound. The haunting melodies of certain post-’96 tracks even perfectly capture the mood of a Snoop Dogg in mourning for his good friend and labelmate Tupac Shakur. Perhaps the most notable and explicit example of the expression of Snoop’s loss is the K-Ci & JoJo assisted 2pac tribute Life’s Hard featuring Big Pimpin.

Other highlights include the original version of O.G. (featuring vocals from Nate Dogg and production by Daz Dillinger) and the Dre-produced Fallin’ Asleep On Death Row, reminiscent of his earlier style. This exploration of the darker side of Death Row, with classic material and overlooked treasures having been stranded on Tha Row for years, brings forth the question of just how many more gems lay undiscovered in the vaults.

Snoop Doggy Dogg’s The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 will be available in North America from October 13th 2009.

Dr Dre Announces Another Detox Setback

Perhaps unsurprisingly Dr. Dre explained in a recent interview that the his long-awaited ‘Detox’ album shouldn’t be expected until 2010.

The news hardly comes as a surprise after a number of setbacks and West Coast rapper The Game’s revelation last week that he had been in the studio working on the project with Dre and Snoop Dogg.

When asked what he had been working on recently, the iconic super producer maintained, ‘Only my album that I’ve been working on for the last 10 years, that’s it, Detox record.’

Dre mentioned that he hoped to have the project finished by the end of the year so it could hit stores next year.

‘Detox’ was until recently still expected to drop in the fourth quarter of 2009, although many industry professionals and fans alike had doubted that for some time.

The elusive album, which was officially announced five years ago, has actually been in progress for almost ten years.

Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Lost Sessions Uncovered

deathrow1

Today WIDEawake Death Row has announced a track list for their forthcoming album of unreleased Snoop Dogg material, which was recorded while he was a Death Row inmate. Snoop Doggy Dogg’s The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 is due to hit stores next month.

In a recent interview with allhiphop.com’s Info, Death Row CEO Lara Lavi revealed that the album has “some fantastic gems on it that nobody’s ever heard.” Features on the release include the likes of Dr. Dre, Dogg Pound, The Lady of Rage and K-CI & JoJo of Jodeci.

The full track list for The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 is as follows:
1. Soldier Story (Intro)
2. Doggystyle (ft. Dr. Dre, George Clinton and Jewell)
3. Fallin’ Asleep on Death Row (ft. Dr. Dre)
4. Eat A D**k (ft. Dr. Dre)
5. H**z (ft. Dogg Pound)
6. O.G. (Original Version ft. Nate Dogg)
7. Keep It Real Dogg
8. One Life to Live (ft. Techniec & The Lady of Rage)
9. The Genie (ft. Bad Azz, Bo Rock)
10. Funk With Ya Brain (Interlude)
11. Caught Up
12. Put It In Ya Mouth
13. Gravy Train (ft. Bad Azz & Tray Deee)
14. Life’s Hard (Dedicated to 2pac) (ft. K-Ci & JoJo, Big Pimpin’)
15. The Root Of All Evil (Outro) (ft. Dr. Dre)
16. Quite Obvious (ft. Rappin’ 4 Tay)
17. Once Again
18. Got to do Wrong

Snoop Doggy Dogg’s The Lost Sessions Vol. 1 will be available for purchase from October 13th.

deathrow

Lara Lavi: Death Row Records’ New CEO

death row diary cover

Since the original Hip-Hop powerhouse Death Row Records was acquired by WIDEawake Entertainment for $18 Million in January 2009, both fans and critics of the iconic label have speculated about its future. Questions have arisen about not only the marketability, but also the purity and relevancy of a ‘new’ Death Row brand. With managing partner Lara Lavi at the helm, steering Death Row into the digital age, should a renaissance be expected? Owing to a new warden focused on improving the relationship with former inmates and renovating the brand, the Second Coming of Death Row is imminent.

Full interview on allhiphop.com.

Oh and by the way the photo at the top of the page is Lara Lavi…not me (for those who have asked).

http://allhiphop.com/stories/features/archive/2009/08/31/21917180.aspx

Seeing Ghosts?

The Rise of the Ghostwriter

‘Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write cheques;’ hip hop giant Diddy once famously described the benefit if using ghostwriters, such as Jadakiss, in his classic track ‘Bad Boy for Life.’  The music mogul is not alone in this practice, which was once frowned upon in the hip hop community; Brooklyn MC Dustorm began his career writing tracks for the late ODB, The D.O.C famously wrote for Dr Dre, whilst in more recent years Snoop Dogg admitted to using ghostwriters on his last album ‘Ego Tripping.’  The legendary Long Beach MC explained that ghostwriting was merely another way to introduce creative variety into a project.

The use of ghostwriters is fast-becoming accepted, even encouraged, in the urban music industry, as is evident by the success of R&B superstar Ne-Yo.  When the artist released his first solo effort ‘In My Own Words’ in 2006, it soon reached platinum status, selling over 4 million copies worldwide; Ne-Yo’s style was a source of déjà-vu for many, perhaps as the singer-songwriter had already penned a number of R&B hits, including Mario’s ballad ‘Let Me Love You’ and Beyoncé’s  smash ‘Irreplaceable.’  The lyricist is currently working on songs for a number of high-profile artists, such as Usher, Ciara, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, Leona Lewis and Chris Brown.

Another ghost, who has been resurrected in the public eye, is R&B signer/songwriter The Dream, who wrote Rihanna’s hit single ‘Umbrella.’ After the success of the track, which was actually initially offered to Britney Spears amongst others, The Dream was signed to Def Jam and has enjoyed reasonable success due to a number of high-profile collaborations. Also behind a number of significant R&B hits, including J Holiday’s ‘Bed,’ Mary J Blige’s ‘Just Fine’ and Usher’s ‘Moving Mountains,’ The Dream has recently written for the likes of Diddy, Brandy, Ciara and Mariah Carey.

Many young urban artists could benefit from both ghostwriting or ‘vocal arrangement,’ which provides an opportunity to gain experience and perfect their style of writing, and ghostwriters, who can add diversity and new directions to a project.  With the practice and its benefits becoming more-widely acknowledged in the industry, hopefully we will be seeing more ghosts stepping out from the shadows in the future of urban music.

© Hannah O’Connor (3threat Media)

Video: Ne-Yo sings ‘Irreplacable,’ which he wrote for Beyonce.

 

Video: The Dream’s Demo Version of ‘Umbrella’