Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Dr Dre ft. Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg & Kurupt – The Next Episode

Like this, for instance…


Josh Langhoff: Haven’t had much to say about these because so few of them have ever felt like they’re mine, but this one has a line that’s actually entered my daily lexicon. (I live right near the community of Ingleside. Represent.) This one’s a typically irresistible still-got-it celebration, with a beautiful Axelrod break, a loose and practically floating Snoop, Nate playing with the little filigree in his throat, and Dre reading his lines accurately. As long as he lands my line, I’m happy.

Jonathan Bradley: Somewhere toward the end of the ’90s, Dr. Dre transitioned completely from G-Funk auteur, orchestrating impeccable rider music from fluid grooves, to mixing board cyborg. Sure, he raps here, shouting out L.A. locales and the classic cars one would think he uses to navigate between them if he ever left the studio. “The Next Episode” is so minutely machined that it’s implausible to think the Doctor ever does detach himself from his circuitry. His Snoop-Bot is functional, his Nate Dogg plug-in operates smoothly, and everything hums along with silicon chip efficiency.

Asher Steinberg: Incredibly durable yet utterly insubstantial. Ultimately I can never quite stomach the cognitive dissonance produced by, on the one hand, Nate’s epic coda, Dre’s equally epic intro, and the title’s grandiose claim to ‘G Thang’ sequel-hood (as you may recall, ‘G Thang’ ends with the words, “just chill till the next episode”), and on the other, Dre’s “verse” and the thing’s sheer brevity. As it stands, it’s just one half of a classic song, or one fully realized piece of frat party background music.

Martin Skidmore: I really like the percussive guitar on this, but the problem is that the title very obviously refers back to Dre’s glory days almost a decade earlier, so the comparative drabness of this is unmissable. Dre has never been a great rapper, and much as I like Snoop’s contribution, Nate’s deep lines are undistinguished. I think I’d like it better without the reminder of better things.

Al Shipley: The postage stamp description of Nate Dogg’s unique job description is “hook singer,” but the actual role he played in songs varied pretty widely. He sang bridges, he wove in and out of the verses on “Regulate,” and sometimes, as here, he provided an outro so memorable that many people consider it the hook, even though he doesn’t show up until the last minute of the song.

Ian Mathers: Wow, in my memory Nate took up a lot more of this track than he actually does. He’s singing what could be a hook, if not for the fact that it only pops up once at the end of the song. Man, that “up in smoke” outro is weirdly random now. Man, Dre’s verse is really unimpressive. Man, even the beat sounds a bit plinky-plonky these days.

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