I'd heard rumours for a while that Death Row had plans to release a Snoop Dogg album with him being off the label consisting of unreleased material. I'm not sure whether I believed it, but now I have no choice but to. A promotional copy of it is sitting right in front of my keyboard, so...I have no clue whether Snoop will see any profit from this release. I seriously doubt it. Another interpretation on my part is that this is a nice dig at Snoop from Suge Knight. Recently, Suge commented on Snoop saying; "I don't have any feelings towards that impostor, Snoop. [He] can't walk into any ghetto... because everybody sees him for what he is, a fake. To be a black man and not be able to go to the ghetto - that's bad. Totally disrespectful." Now Suge Knight is the executive producer of this album, so something seems to be amiss.
Plus there's the title to look into 'Dead Man Walkin'...
Anyway, lets disregard the thought process and reasons behind this album. I'm not writing this to evaluate them, but I am doing so to evaluate this album.
People may have already heard some of the tracks on this album from bootleg releases of Snoop's material. The only properly released track from here is 'Head Doctor,' the lead single featuring Swoop G. This joint definitely had me attracted to the album. An enjoyable bouncy beat is what Snoop often shines above, and this joint has that, plus a well-sung hook and a rapping contribution from Swoop G.
I was surprised to find a host of dope Snoop joints here. I thought this would consist of lackluster tracks by Snoop to make a mockery of him, but generate sales on his name.
'C-Walkin' is smooth, it has a really slickly sinister beat, but ends up losing it's feel on its hook. Snoops rhymes aren't too bad lyrically, his flow is on point too, but the enthusiastically sung hook is the reason the track loses its initial feel. 'County Blues,' also has an eerie, somewhat sinister element to it. Though it's mixed in with a harmonica in points, you still feel a chill. Snoop talks about goings on in prison, and the sung hook actually works well here.
And then there's 'Gangsta Walk' featuring the Dogg Pound, probably my favourite joint on the album. The beat has a sinister feel, with some coughing occurring within it (maybe to symbolize the influence of weed?). Kurupt and Daz do their thing as always, and the signature Death Row rapper singing fittingly gets placed on the hook and at other appropriate points on the track.
As you will have guessed by the score, the album is not perfect. The opening track 'May I' did not sit well with me, as an album's supposedly most endearing track, this does not work that well at all. 'I Will Survive' is another example of what I'm not feeling. It feels a little too slow and laid back, not fitting in with the atmosphere provided by other tracks. Also, there's 'Tommy Boy' with Daz. It begins with Snoop and Daz imitating the way people from the South speak, it then slides into a story about a guy named Tommy. The beat feels like certain down South beats do. And no disrespect to the south, but it doesn't work too well in my opinion.
The production here tends to be on a notorious calm-killing tip. 'Dead Man Walkin' is a fitting title. No 'Doggystle' but thankfully it's also no 'Da Game Is To Be Sold Not To Be Told,' Snoop fans will be pleased with this release.