The year is 1998, after controlling the industry for the last couple of years; Deathrow is all but dead. Dre, Snoop, and Kurupt are all gone. 2pac is dead, and Suge Knight is incarcerated. Only one member of the original roster of Deathrow artists remained. Daz would stay true to the label that made him a star, and even though Deathrow was at its deathbed, Daz still released his debut LP, "Retaliation, Revenge and Get Back".
As one-half of the Dogg Pound, Daz Dillinger has always been one of the most underrated figures in the West Coast Hip-Hop scene. He has commanded some of the biggest tracks during the West Coast's glory days in the early to mid 90's. Unfortunately, Daz was always overlooked by the bigger names on the star studded Deathrow roster. He didn't have the personality or charisma of Snoop Dogg, the raw emotion of 2pac, the lyrical skills of his partner Kurupt, or even the track record of hits like Dr. Dre. But Daz quietly put together one of the best resumes in the West. He produced some of the biggest hits the West has ever seen, from Tha Dogg Pound to 2pac. While Dre got most of the credit for being the big named producer on Deathrow, it was Daz who put in most of the work. His ruff and rugged style of production gained him respect from all across the nation, but in the end portrays the West Coast sound better than anyone else did.
Even though the wait was long, "Retaliation, Revenge and Get Back" was well worth the wait. The album is a typical West Coast project, putting Daz along with various emcees together over his dark, melodic production. The production end definitely is the standout aspect throughout the album. Along with one of the West's best kept secrets- Soopafly; Daz puts together a solid album from start to finish.
The album starts off with the eerie, "Gang Bagin Ass Criminal" featuring Tha Gang. It's a predictable track, but Daz's vicious, head nodding production laces it nicely, and flows well with each emcee featured on the track. While you won't find a whole lot of diversity on the album, it is still enjoyable, especially for West Coast fans. "Oh No", "In California", "Our Daily Breed", and the title track "Retaliation, Revenge and Get Back" are more banging joints that keep up the albums feel and pace. The album features some great collaborations on tracks such; as the energetic, "Ridin High" featuring WC. "The Ultimate Come Up" featuring Bad Ass and West Coast veteran MC Eiht. And the soulful "Thank God For My Life" featuring Tray Dee, Soopafly, Big Pimpin, and Bad Ass - who rips the track with his verse.
The albums true gems are the playa anthem "It Might Sound Crazy" featuring Too Short, the vicious "Initiated" featuring Kurupt, the late great 2pac, and Tha Outlawz, and "O.G." featuring Snoop and Nate Dogg. "O.G." features each emcee spitting their tales of growing up in the rough streets of LA. Both Snoop and Daz, along with Nate, put in a memorable performance with their verses.
But if there's one thing you would expect from "Retaliation, Revenge and Get Back" is a lack of diversity and originality. If your looking for an album that's going to offer more than the blatantly obvious, then this album is not for you. It is a typical LA street enthused album. The tales are full of women, drugs, guns and gang banging. Those looking for anything more or less will be disappointed. Tracks such as "Playa Partners", and "It's Going Down" are prime examples. However, Daz does try to change things up with the two tracks "Only For U" and "Baby Mama Drama". Both are uncharacteristic mellow tracks that seem out of place and out of character. You also won't find anything remotely lyrical about the album either. While Daz packs a good flow, his lyricism is above average at best. He relies mostly on the same topics that the West has used over and over again throughout the years. But the album's intent isn't based on superb lyricism; it's based on representing the streets.
While "Retaliation, Revenge and Get Back" isn't perfect, it is still a sensational album. It may not have all the aspects most Hip-Hop heads are looking for, but you have to look beyond that, and take it for what it's worth. It's a shame the album was overlooked, because it was released at a time when West Coast rap was at a low point, and Deathrow was no longer a strong force in the game. "Retaliation, Revenge and Get Back" is an album all rap fans should check out; no matter what coast you represent.