the merely good record behind the hype

Doggystyle (Death Row/Interscope)
Snoop Doggy Dogg

By Kory Wilcoxson

Doggystyle may be the most anticipated and the most dreaded debut album in history. It deserves neither.

A memorable cameo on Dr. Dre's The Chronic made Snoop the Rapper of the Week and this album became the first debut in history to hit the charts at No. 1. Others see Doggystyle as a harbinger of doom for rap, continuing the popularization of gangsta rap which is detrimental to the genre and represents a regression from progress made by other rappers in the past decade.

Hey folks, it's just an album and it doesn't deserve a high level of praise or criticism.

It's not extremely good but comparatively it's not terribly bad. Ironically, what saves it from flopping like a fish is the superior production of Dr. Dre, who's returning the favor for Snoop's heroics on Dre's album.

On Doggystyle, it's Snoop Doggy Dogg and a cast of thousands as he shares the rapping load with several other rappers, possibly hoping to springboard a career like Dre did his.

The songs are propelled by fuzzy, laidback beats that elevate the songs a notch. What brings them back down near mediocrity is Snoop's third-grade lyrics.

His delivery is unique but he can't write his way out of a weed sack. He's equally happy squeezing a girl, a joint or a trigger and his rhymes seem to repeat that over and over.

Some of the songs succeed in spite of that. "Who Am I?" has a strictly wicked bass line and "Gin and Juice" and "Doggy Dogg World" both sound good enough to cancel out what Snoop has to say.

The only misfire is a lethargic remake of SlickRick and DougE.Fresh's "Lodi Dodi," a classic that should have been left alone.