Tha Dogg Pound
Cali Iz Active
When Kurupt re-signed with Tha Row in 2002, most thought the prospects of a Dogg Pound reunion were highly unlikely. In fact, Daz Dillinger and his former partner in rhyme quickly got embroiled in a tense war of words that seemed to solidify the end of the group. Fortunately, the West Coast vets managed to bury the hatchet and get it crackin’ again with their third official disc, Cali Iz Active.
Although the reincarnated DPG is supposed to include Snoop Dogg as an official member, the OG only makes his presence felt on a scant number of songs. On the organ-laced title track, Snoop assures fans that Daz and Kurupt can and will hold their own, “Don’t worry about a muthafuckin’ thing/But worry about my homies, ’cause my homies’ gonna bang.” The East Coast–tailored single “Sittin on 23’z” supports that claim, as Dillinger and Young Gotti volley verses back and forth like a tennis ball over Swizz Beatz’s sinister organs. “It’s All Hood” reveals a similar rekindled chemistry, as Daz and Kurupt ride out to Battlecat’s crisp hand claps and nimble piano work.
Problems arise when the duo adds a few incongruous guests to the G-funked mix. David Banner’s schizophrenic appearance on “Get That Money” doesn’t exactly match the L.A. reppers’ gangsta vibe. The same can be said for Busta Rhymes, who phones in a throwaway chorus for “What Tha Fuck.” Despite the odd pairing, Kurupt manages to salvage the rumblin’ track with lyrically dense lines like, “My optics is telescopic/You shootin’ bullets, we poppin’ minirockets.”
While misogynistic tracks like “Drop Your Drawers” and “She Like Dat” adhere to the duo’s doggy style, they lack the infectious flavor of previous DPG collabos like “Bitches Ain’t Shit” and “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None.” Aside from the failed reaches for broader acceptance, Daz and Kurupt still manage to corral enough gangsta shit to keep the Cali movement active.—DAMIEN SCOTT