When you think of West Coast Hip Hop, Death Row Records immediately comes to mind. During the early to mid 90's, the label changed the face of Hip Hop forever. Their roster, which included Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 2pac, and Tha Dogg Pound, was the most successful dynasty in Hip Hop history. The Very Best of Death Rowis a single disc compilation that showcases their dominance. Besides a few tracks, the album's song selection is strong, as Death Row's legendary roster is adequately represented.
Dr. Dre is the man responsible for Death Row's rise to fame, and his two masterpieces off of The Chronic, "Nuthin' But A G Thang" and "Let Me Ride", are included on the album. Not much has to be said about Dre and Snoop's monumental collaboration on "Nuthin' But A G Thang". The song is one of Hip Hop's all time greats, and is the best depiction of the California lifestyle during the 90's. The Parliament "Mothership Connection" sampled "Let Me Ride" was Dre's third single, which continued to set the West on fire upon its release. Unfortunately, The Chronic's first single, "Dre Day" is absent on this compilation, which is a mind-boggling move that keeps this album from being even better.
Predictably, Snoop and 2pac get the most face time on the album. Pac and Dre's remix of "California Love" is included, which is disappointing for those wanting to hear the original. Nevertheless, the remix is still an outstanding track. Another questionable move is the inclusion of 2pac's "Against All Odds" and "Ambitionz Az A Ridah" over other classics like "Hail Mary", "2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted" and "I Ain't Mad At Cha". Once again, the aforementioned tracks are certainly two of Pac's best, but other selections would have made more sense.
However, Snoop's influence on the album is perfect. The George Clinton "Atomic Dog" sampled "Who Am I" is one of those timeless tracks that never got old or dated. The same can be said for "Gin And Juice", and the misogynistic "Ain't No Fun". Other classics such as Warren G's "Regulate", Lady of Rage's "Afro Puffs" and Tha Dogg Pound's "New York, New York" also make appearances.
The only real misstep on the album, besides a few questionable song selections, is Pete Pablo and Kurupt's new track "Off Tha Chain". Over an overbearing and awkward Petey Pablo and Tha Row Hitters produced track, both emcees fumble with their sloppy flows and nonsensical rhymes. Besides that, The Very Best of Death Rowis a great album that sums up the history of Death Row Records.