May 1st marks the 15-year anniversary of Tha Dogg Pound’s “Dillinger & Young Gotti.” This album is often tragically overshadowed by the colossus that was the group’s first project – “Dogg Food.” This being said, the sophomore effort from the deadly duo, Daz Dillinger and Kurupt, is nothing short of fantastic.
In the years between their debut album in 1995 and there sophomore effort in 2001, Daz and Kurupt were at odds with their former label, Death Row Records. Since the infamous Suge Knight held a firm grip on the intellectual property of the group, they couldn’t release this record under their former moniker, Tha Dogg Pound. Instead, they decided to switch up their names, and abbreviate Tha Dogg Pound to D.P.G, in an effort to avoid copyright claims with their former exec. This rebranding may have caused some fans to not know this was the follow up to “Dogg Food,” which could partially explain the huge drop in sales from their debut. Even with all the politics of the music industry, Daz and Kurupt crafted an album that is everything you could hope for in a sequel.
“Dillinger & Young Gotti” is a cocktail of hedonism, and I love it. The duo walks us through their daily lifestyle – full of smoking, drinking, and women. This unholy trifecta is a motif that many hip-hop albums rely on, but Daz and Kurupt bring a west coast sound to a formula that is timeless. From the hard hitting “Dipp Wit Me” to the lyrical workout that is “Coastin,” the duo demonstrates magnetic charisma and a keen ear for production. In one of my favorite tracks, “Shit Happenz,” Daz and Kurupt pass the mic back and forth over a smooth instrumental that sounds as if it was crafted using smoke and black magic. While there are only a few features on this album, the guests that do make an appearance give excellent performances. Xzibit blesses us with a great verse on “We Livin Gangsta Like” and Beanie Sigel leaves a lasting impression on “Best Run.” In short, this project is just a great gangster rap album. No bells or whistles, just great songs that are perfect for the summertime.
Despite all of the positive aspects of “Dillinger & Young Gotti,” the album does have a few weak points. Due to the fact that this album is one hour and twenty minutes long, unfortunately there is some filler. Some tracks like “Work That Pussy” and “How Many,” are hard to listen to all the way through. Another personal gripe I have with the project is that some of tracks contain lazy song writing. For instance, “You’re Just A B.I.T.C.H” is just blatantly chauvinistic, and uncreative. While I concede that this song follows in the footsteps of other west coast classics, like Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit,” I still find it hard to listen to some of the blatantly misogynistic lyrics without wincing. Even with all of its flaws, “Dillinger & Young Gotti” is still a stellar body of work. Whether this is your first time checking out the album, or you want to relive the glory days of the early 2000’s, I recommend you give this project a listen here.