For the better part of the last decade, Snoop Dogg has trafficked in clicks and views more than in listens. He’s capitalized on his celebrity as well as any veteran rapper: He’s just recently spun a web-series into a legitimate TV talk show, he’s still nursing and launching on-brand marijuana industry investments, he makes headlines ranting to Bill Gates about Xbox on Instagram. But his music felt like a listless afterthought (remember Bush?). Daz Dillinger, Snoop’s cousin, has kept a lower profile: Despite producing for 2Pac on albums like All Eyez on Me, his biggest headlines of recent years are probably from him trying desperately to get a Dogg Pound biopic off the ground. Still, the two have never stopped recording music together.
Cuzznz, a full-length collaboration between Daz and Snoop, was announced with the October release of a new Dâm-Funk-produced song called "Sho You Right." Another new single, "Best Friend," followed, but the album is primarily an outgrowth of years-old mixtape material repurposed as album filler. New songs pepper the tracklist instead of providing its substance, and several of the recycled tracks were throwaways to begin. Adding to the album’s "what is this thing?" quality: A limited hard-copy version was supposedly released last fall, but it’s just recently become available digitally. Cuzznz was also released by a record label apparently operated by Daz Dillinger himself, and, a handful of new songs aside, it seems entirely possible that Snoop isn’t aware that his cousin has compiled this effort.
Of the 14 songs on Cuzznz, around three are exclusive to the album. The newer songs, including previously released tracks from an EP last year, offer the only continuity here, largely attributable to Dâm-Funk. Dâm’s’s production on the album, the type of low-stakes but infectious funk boogie he mined for 7 Days of Funk, is the sustained highlight. "It’s Not a Secret," an Auto-Tune-laced glider, brings the best out of Snoop’s lazily conversational delivery. "Have U Eva" accomplishes the same trick, and Daz’s contrastingly shouty verse here might be his best on the project. "N My System" is an off-kilter spin on the same sound; the track is chunkier and a looped up cowbell lends an unexpected flair to the beat.
By contrast, the oldest song here, "Keep’a N***a High," dates back to 2012 and was a sparsely produced dud back then too. A couple of other older songs, like "Happy Birthday" and "Phenomenon," come off like failed experiments, and neither neither rapper escapes looking awkward. The generic reggae hip-hop beat of "Six N’Da Morning" offers Snoop a chance to revisit the unfortunate, forced Jamaican patois of his 2013 Snoop Lion persona. The song also highlights the type of clunky bars Snoop has stretched thin for years: "We headed to the hookah bar/ Man, I’m chilling like a superstar," he says, only half-rapping. The same delivery might work over different production, but here it snags: These days Snoop can’t reliably carry a beat so much as slip into it.
At its best, Cuzznz is breezy and digestible, a funky outlet for the type of relaxed rapping that both artists can still spew out endlessly. Unfortunately, the album’s low points are the most memorable, not only because the music is sloppy and dated, but because the songs feel so awkwardly cobbled together from previous projects. Especially for a pair of accomplished veterans, the album functions primarily as unnecessary compilation. If anything, Cuzznz might leave a fan wanting less instead of more.
from Album Reviews – Pitchfork http://bit.ly/1QnBrbP