Snoop Dogg 

Ego Trippin? (Geffen Records)

The name, packaging and song titles of Ego Trippin' suggest a return to the cross-over king's West Coast gangsta rap origins. However, the 21-track album's middle song, "Deez Hollywood Nights"–where Snoop raps about partying with Jessicas Alba, Simpson and Biel–portrays its spirit more accurately. Ego Trippin' is blockbuster rap with enough genre hybrids to please everybody. Except those fans hoping for another Doggystyle–but what fan would want Snoop to regress? Among Ego Trippin's few harder songs, the best is the southern-styled "Life of da Party," featuring Too $hort in the album's only major cameo. "My Medicine", meanwhile, couldn't be further from the blunted marijuana tribute the title implies: it's a folk-rock Johnny Cash tribute (seriously). Snoop even indulges 80s nostalgia with "Cool," which is basically a Prince song. This exploration of disparate styles has ruined many adventurous rap albums (Wyclef anyone?), but Snoop's buttery delivery and Ego Trippin's prevailing electro-dance production aesthetic keep detours through reggae, rock, Motown and R&B from seeming too ill-advised.

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