Originally intended as a purely solo effort — i.e., no guests — to showcase only Calvin Broadus, Snoop Dogg's ninth studio album, Ego Trippin', is instead a mish-mash of different styles that — with its assortment of guests and influences — never quite manages to give any kind of definitive picture of anything or anyone. Snoop's part misogynist, of course, but he's also part family man, stuck perpetually somewhere between reflection and being high, crooning Everlast-produced odes to Johnny Cash and drugs ("My Medicine"), doing a heartfelt 2Pac-inspired piece ("Can't Say Goodbye"), eschewing any sort of innuendo for straightforward raunch ("Sexual Eruption"), and singing a spot-on Morris Day impression (the cover of the Time's "Cool").
But instead of appearing multifaceted, Ego Trippin' seems confused, the work of a guy who, even after so many years in music, still lets others make decisions for him. It's not that these decisions are all bad: Snoop surrounds himself with a team of able producers, writers and emcees, and the album has some pretty good tracks ("Sets Up," "Whateva U Do"). But it also sounds undirected, forgetting its original purpose almost immediately as a slew of different voices and sounds swarm around the rapper, masking his personality behind everything else happening behind him.
Marisa Brown writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.