23. Tha Dogg Pound, Dogg Food (1995)
Kurupt kicked off the G-funk duo Tha Dogg Pound’s debut album Dogg Food with the line, “Now my rhymes are as potent as pipe bombs/It takes time to concoct rhymes like mines.” The latter claim was dubious but the former, it turns out, was dead-on accurate. Dogg Food’s lyrical content brought protest by Time Warner shareholders, which caused Interscope imprint Death Row Records to delay the album’s release by three months.
Listening to the album over two decades removed from those culturally charged times, this seems absurd. The controversy surrounding Tha Dogg Pound obviously only came about because its contemporaries Snoop Doggy Dogg, Dr. Dre, 2Pac, etc., had kicked up so much dust that guys in suits were primed to pounce on anything similar and did so here—way behind the eight ball.
Lyrically, Dogg Food is stuffed with lyrics that are vaguely menacing but barely register, characteristic of much of the best G-funk, where rappers shine by breezily flowing over a multi-layered beat, becoming just another element of it. Maybe it actually happened, but the thought of Time Warner investors trying to listen closely to what Kurupt and Daz Dillinger are actually saying on Dogg Food is laugh-out-loud funny.
Regardless, from front to back this is a consistent, solid example of the G-funk genre, close to touching past landmarks like The Chronic and Doggystyle, albeit with way less pop appeal.