It’s hard to believe Snoop Dogg has been in the game for 14 years. But despite a string of sub-par albums in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, he’s on his A-game for his eighth opus, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, one of his best and most balanced works that only suffers in how bloated it is.
For those who think Snoop hasn’t been a good MC since Doggystyle, one listen to “Think About It” will change your mind. Over a smooth soul sample, he raps his ass off with lyrics and a flow he hasn’t shown in more than a decade. Nearly every superstar West Coast artist helps out, from E-40, MC Eiht and Tha Dogg Pound on the hyphy anthem “Candy,” to The Game on “Gangbanging 101,” a showing of solidarity between crips and bloods. Nate Dogg provides the silky-smooth hook on the vintage “Crazy,” while the father of P-Funk himself, George Clinton, assists on the synth-heavy “Intrology.”
Much of Tha Blue Carpet Treatment focuses on partying, one of Snoop’s favorite themes. Timbaland provides the infectious backdrop to “Get A Light,” which finds Damian Marley singing the club-friendly chorus. The Neptunes produced three songs, including B-Real assisted “Vato,” which features a sporadic, yet wicked tuba bassline, and the ominous “10 Lil’ Crips.” Unfortunately, some of the club songs are plain bad. “I Wanna Fuck You,” with Akon, is plagued by cliché stripper lyrics, while “Don’t Stop” and “A Bitch I Knew” clutter the tail-end of an otherwise strong album with generic G-Funk and poor songwriting.
The shining moment of the album comes with Dr. Dre’s help. “Round Here,” which flips the Dido sample used by Eminem’s “Stan,” is a eerie guitar-driven song that paints the dangers of Snoop’s Long Beach. The good doctor raps alongside Snoop on “Imagine,” as the longtime friends reflect on the past over Dre’s infectious pianos. As a bonus, the long-missing D’Angelo comes out of nowhere to sing the hook on what proves to be Snoop’s best song in years. If it wasn’t for the excess filler towards the end of Tha Blue Carpet Treatment, it would likely be one of the year’s best hip-hop albums.