Best Songs: "Down 4 My Niggaz," "Bitch Please," "Just Dippin," "My Heat Goes Boom"
When Snoop escaped Death Row to enlist with P and No Limit Records, it was one of the biggest stories in music at the time. Snoop was still one of the most popular artists in hip-hop, but the negative reviews of Tha Doggfather, coupled with the negative energy surrounding Death Row, had the Dogg reevaluating his career.
Many believed P’s army was the only faction big and powerful enough to keep Snoop safe from a less-than-happy and then-incarcerated Suge Knight, who seemed hell-bent on sabotaging Snoopy’s career. So Snoop did what any smart businessman would have done, jumping ship from the former hottest record label in rap, and aligned himself with No Limit, the hottest new label in rap music.
Snoop headed down south, but left his original sound behind in Cali. He traded in g-funk for southern fried funk, abandoning the west coast bounce that made him a superstar. But while Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told was highly anticipated and commercially successful, it was panned critically because of his departure from the g-funk sound. In hindsight, the album was pretty great, and featured some of the best production Beats By The Pound ever cooked up, but at the time the world wasn’t ready such a drastic change.
Taking the criticism constructively, Snoop went back to the drawing board for his second No Limit album, No Limit Top Dogg. Beats By The Pound showed up a few times, but the album was a true return to form for Snoop. West coast heavy hitters like Dr. Dre and DJ Quik shaped the sound of the album, which was the perfect precursor to Dre’s 2001 project, which dropped just a few months later.
Snoop’s next album, Tha Last Meal, was just as dope as No Limit Top Dogg, but was almost 100% west coast-influenced. Top Dogg, on the other hand, did a great job of balancing Snoop’s Cali roots with the No Limit sound, something that was very important for him at the time.