By Falice Chin

Nate Dogg + Snoop Dogg + Warren G = Guaranteed good shit. No doubt, each artist has enough followers to fill up Jamaica or something, so when combined as 213, the inevitable result is, overall, the enjoyable hip-hop feature The Hard Way.

The album kicks off with a beat created by one of Brooklyn’s most respected deejays, known as Hi Tek, and it’s obvious the strict line between East and West Coast has finally blurred. Yet 213’s California style of rap, popularized way back continues to use the same smooth elements of soul and funk. Just like on their solo efforts, listeners immediately become hooked to the silky production, easy chorus hooks and Snoop’s laid-back rhymes. Lyrics? The same old hoes, ganstas, playas and their nine-inch cocks. Unfortunately, the repetitive “ho in every area code” loops constantly in the background. But if you ignore the words, the songs sound great nonetheless. There’s the samples from the Jungle Brothers in “Mary Jane” and Dave Chapelle’s weird Rick James impersonation in “MLK”. Monica’s “So Gone” beat is borrowed for the better in the last track, which, despite the crackling sound effects of a vinyl record being spun, works well.

Don’t expect anything experimental in this project. For fans of the three artists, this is a natural purchase. But even for the “deep” person, pumping poppy G-funk tunes with your subwoofers cranked to the maximum when chilling out can be beneficial with The Hard Way.

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