While Ice Cube maybe the greatest emcee to ever come out of the West Coast, Snoop Dogg is today's bearer of the throne. His icon status has grown to immense proportions the last couple of years with his acting career and the resurgence of his music career as well. While Snoop Dogg went through some times of hardship with his music, Snoop eventually rebounded and got back on the winning track with 2000's "Tha Last Meal". The album featured a return to Snoop's West Coast roots and brought back hope into what was looking like a destructive ending to his career. Now after a slew of successful projects such as the second Eastsiderz album, Snopp Dogg is back with his sixth album "Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Boss".
While Snoop definitely has "Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Boss", the album fails to capture that vintage Snoop Dogg style portrayed the past couple years and features a new direction that diehard fans will ultimately be disappointed with. While the soulful, g-funk sounds consumed most of "Tha Last Meal", "Paid Tha Cost" features more of a variety in sounds, ranging from your typical West Coast efforts to some lurid attempts at club bangers and bi-costal collaborations. It is evident that Snoop wanted to try something new with "Paid Tha Cost", however some artists should just stick to what they do best and Snoop is one of them. The club sounds of "You Got What I Want" featuring Ludacris, Goldie Loc & Charlie Wilson and "Hourglass" featuring Mr. Kane & Goldie Loc are the biggest changes in direction. Both track are produced by Jelly Roll, who continues to put out lackluster production this year as seen on this album and on Xzibit's "Man Vs Machine". "Spotlight" is another example of Jelly Roll's continue disappointment in the production area. Maybe Snoop should have relied on others such as Meech Wells for more of the production on "Paid Tha Cost", considering Wells' production on "Tha Last Meal" was one of the albums true highlights.
More awkward collaborations come from the numerous and over bearing guest appearances on the album. "From Long Beach 2 Brick City" featuring Redman, Warren G & Nate Dogg is another typical East/West track that wont offer anything new or innovative. We have heard collabo's like this for years, and "From Long Beach 2 Brick City" is nothing new. One of the biggest disappointments comes from the Just Blaze produced "Lollipop" featuring Jay-z, Soopafly & Nate Dogg. Just Blaze laces Snoop with a less than impressive beat that really doesn't mirror anything Just Blaze has produced before. Jay-z's performance is a nice addition, however the track's cookie cutter sounds bring it down.
Even when Snoop sticks to his West Coast roots the results are not favorable. Hi-Tek continues to hook Snoop up with thrown away production as seen on Snoop's "Doggy Allstars Album" and tracks such as "I Believe In You" featuring Latoiya Williams and the generic sounds of "I Miss That Bitch" featuring the Snoop Dogg clone E-White. More average material can be seen on tracks such as The Neptune's produced "Beautiful", "Ballin" featuring The Dramatics and "Suited N Booted".
While "Paid Tha Cost" has its fair share of filler tracks, there are some spectacular moments witnessed on the album. It seems as if the entire album is either hit or miss with no middle ground in between. DJ Premier laces Snoop with two of his more original productions this year with "The One And Only" and "Batman & Robin". "The One And Only" is a grimy Premier laced beat that rivals some of his best work the past couple of years. It is definitely great to see the production king of the East hook up with the king of the West after all these years. "Batman & Robin" featuring The Lady Of Rage & RBX is another guaranteed hit that features an ingenious sample and cutting up of the Batman theme song. Just when you thought Primo was getting too predictable he comes through with one of the more original efforts seen this year. In house produced Fred Wreck continues to shine as one of the West's best producers with marvelous production seen on the pimped out tales of "Boss Playa"& the Rakim inspired "Paper'd Up". The lead single "From Tha Chuuuch To Da Palace" is a nice edition to Snoop's catalogue and The Neptune's lace the production side nicely. However, the albums finest moment comes from its most controversial "Pimp Slapp'd". As the beef between Suge Knight and Snoop has escalated over the years, Snoop strikes hard with this fiery diss track attacking the once dominated CEO. While not many would have the balls to come out and proclaim such hate for Suge Knight, Snoop goes all out, proving that he is not afraid of Suge. Snoop also takes some nice jabs at his once DPG running mate Kurupt, who jumped ship to Deathrow and Xzibit.
Snoop is still the king of the West Coast, but, he needs to stick to the script and not change up like he did for "Paid Tha Cost". While it has its moments, ultimately 'Paid The Coast" ends up as Snoop's worst album since "Da Game Is To Be Sold". With a plethora of big named producers, it's a mystery why this album didn't turn out better. One has to question if these big named producers really fit the Snoop Dogg style like others he has worked with. There is also no Dr. Dre to be seen on "Paid Tha Cost", which is never a good thing. Snoop needs Dre more than he will admit it. Without him it's just not the same person behind the mic. We all know Snoop wants to stand-alone and prove he doesn't need Dre to carry him, but in reality he does. Snoop is only as good as the producers behind him and that is evident throughout "Paid Tha Coast To Be Da Boss".