Calvin Broadus or Snoop Doggy Dogg or Snoop Dogg has been well known since shortly after he began rapping. Coming out with Dr. Dre (don't take those words the wrong way), Snoop shot to the heights of stardom. Making his material very well known due to the controversy surrounding a murder "affiliated" with him. The album, which he released around this time, 'Doggystyle,' went 5 times platinum and shot straight to #1 on the Billboard charts.
Snoop has been rhyming for a minute, he's released two albums on Death Row. 'Doggystyle,' and 'Tha Doggfather,' and with this, he's released three on No Limit. Throughout his career he's experienced a lot, most recently he had an album released by Death Row of previously unreleased material of his. It was aimed at him negatively; the title 'Dead Man Walking' and the associated photo's along with the fact that Snoop didn't profit from it increased the tension associated with Death Row and Snoop since he left. Many tracks from the Row have been aimed at Snoop to lower his confidence and take shots. Well, so far, only one track which was never released surfaced aimed at the Row, that being 'Fuck Death Row.' Other than that, Snoop's almost ignored them.
After 'Tha Doggfather,' my thoughts on Snoop changed, his first No Limit release confirmed my thoughts that Snoop had 'fallen off.' Then, Snoop turned around and unleashed 'Topp Dogg' on us, and album which proved he wasn't yet ready to fall into the "fell off" category. However, since then, his guest appearances and tracks haven't made my jaw drop in awe of their quality. Infact, they did the opposite. So, I found myself not looking forward to this album much at all.
The album kicks off with an interesting intro... and then we're lead into the Dr. Dre produced 'Compose Myself.' Immediately my thoughts changed. Dre laced Snoop with a really well done beat, and Snoop ran with it. Kokane came through too to bless the track with his mixture of singing and ad-libs. Snoop's lyrics are quite good here, not amazing, but the main attractive aspect of Snoop's music is his voice and flow.
What you find with this album is an altered subject matter and beat, but a pretty frequently occurring formula. A dope beat, Snoop and Kokane's singing/ad-libs. And I'm fine with that. Why? Because it works very well. 'Stay On Point' is a pretty good example of this working well. Snoop rhymes over a very mellow beat, the combination of Kokane, Snoop and the beat creates a well formed relaxed vibe. Though the formula is applied several times, it doesn't always feel the same. If you were to analyze 'Go Away' and 'Can't Tell A Lie' which both follow the aforementioned formula, you're met with different results. 'Go Away' has a lot more energy, whereas 'Can't Tell A Lie' is on a much more upset vibe, with them seeming somewhat confused about things by the vibe they emulate.
'Tha Last Meal' is not without who we've come to associate Snoop most closely with. Nate Dogg. Nate is featured on two tracks, which are arguably two of the album's best. Nate's present on 'Set It Off' and 'Lay Low.' 'Set It Off' is my favourite cut here. It isn't often that an album's title cut is also my favourite, but with this posse cut, that's changed. MC Ren, Ice Cube, Lady Of Rage and Kurupt are also up on here and make full use of a dope beat. All emcees do their thing and fit in with one another like a sound jigsaw puzzle. 'Lay Low' has Nate shining, but also features Master P, Butch Cassidy and The Eastsidaz. Good ol' Dre did the beat here too and it's another dope track.
Unfortunately, there are flaws here. 'Ready 2 Ride,' featuring Eve isn't that great. The beat attempts to be a lot grander than it actually manages. Neither Eve nor Snoop perform their best here, and the hook doesn't exactly work wonders. There's also 'In Love At Times' and 'Trust No-one.' 'In Love At Times' feels very tacky and insincere. The Butch Cassiday singing and Soopafly rhymes aren't that great, neither are Snoops. This track is best skipped. 'Trust No-one' has an odd beat, and Snoop rambling. Though the subject is nicely followed, his rhymes and flow aren't up to par here.
We're lead out of Snoop's 'Last Meal' with the track 'Miss Me.' The song begins with Master P in a mocking/serious accent giving Snoop a thank you message for his contributions for, with, and to No Limit. And, although this is Snoop's last album on the label...I'll just let you listen to it. The beat is sorrow-filled, and the track seems fairly passionate, although the lyrics do contain the usual G-rap profanity. It features Snoop mentioning some well-known aspects of his history and is very nicely done.
I've said this before; people shouldn't look to entertainment for role model's and examples. The content of this material isn't really what I'd call revolutionary or that mature. What it is, is entertaining. If you're looking for a lyrically astounding release, with positive and helpful messages, look elsewhere. If you're looking for an album of fantastically concocted, enjoyable tracks, with speaker manipulating beats, and people who know how to use the mic as a tool to make their voices flow in an organized and smooth manner, then look no further. 'The Last Meal' is Snoop's fifth "properly" released album. And it's, in my opinion, his second best album. 'Doggystle' will never be surpassed by him, debuts rarely are, but, Snoop's done a damn fine job trying. I was surprised with the quality of 'Tha Last Meal,' very much so. I thoroughly recommend purchasing this.