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SNOOP DOGG, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, Geffen
Snoop's best album in years -- possibly since Doggystyle -- comes out of the gate strong. From the George Clinton preface and Jay-Z sample to the allusions to various blues, the only knock against "Intrology" is that it's too short at just under two minutes. But thankfully, it sets the tone for the whole album. Snoop came correct on this one. Through the first 10 tracks or so, Blue Carpet is sounding like a classic, with few, if any, missteps. But that momentum is hard to maintain, especially through 21 tracks. Eventually and inevitably, it fades a bit, but there are plenty of standouts. The fast-paced "Think About It" leads into a trio of solid guest spots, starting with Nate Dogg on "Crazy" and followed by B-Real on "Vato" and R. Kelly on lead commercial single "That's That" (with a nice intro courtesy of "Coming to America.") The ultimate supporting cast, however, is up next, as E-40, MC Eiht, Goldie Loc, Daz and Kurupt showcase the best of the west on "Candy" as a Digable Planets sample reverberates on the hook. The usual drawback of too many guests isn't an issue here, as the aforementioned guests and others like Akon (on two joints), Damian Marley, Jamie Foxx and even The Game for the most part contribute more than they distract. The highlights of the second half are "LAX," featuring the still revitalized Ice Cube and creative Puffy and Biggie samples, and impeccable "Imagine," which reunites Dr. Dre in a style and sound never before heard on one of their collabos. A few misses on the back end hold this album back from classic status, but Blue Carpet exits on a high note with a Stevie Wonder contribution on "Conversations."
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Mason Storm

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