Does anybody else hold a fond spot in their memories for that point between 1999 and 2002 when the West Coast had a bit of a Dogg Pound based revival?

That was one of my favorite eras in a lot of ways. Snoop was on No Limit, soon to be fulfilling his contractual obligations, Dr. Dre dropped 2001 which seemed to have a 5 year cycle, and even the underground West Coast scene was poppin’: Dilated Peoples were gaining steam, Tha Alkaholics were kicking ass, and Del & the Hieroglyphics were making a name for themselves. Kurupt put out an amazing album and then his follow-up had a few bangers on it; Xzibit was getting mainstream recognition; DPG was going back and forth between Death Row and doing their own thing; Eminem was coming up (not West Coast, per se, but he was a part of it); Tha Liks had a song produced by The Neptunes; and NATE DOGG was on EVERYTHING.

Here are some highlights:

  • Kurupt: The Streets is a Mutha… and “Space Boogie”, “On, Onsite”, and “Can’t Go Wrong”
  • DPG: Dillinger & Gotti (And then that weird Death Row collection of Dogg Pound songs came out that had a few bangers, too)
  • Names like Bad Azz, Soopafly Roscoe, Crooked I (still doin’ his thang), and Jayo Felony meant SOLID guest features
  • Names like Lil 1/2 Dead, , Young Roscoe, Kokane, Butch Cassidy all meant that I was at least interested in listening to the songs, let alone buying the album for these glorious hook singers
    • It was weird, because as much as I love Nate, these guys are CLASSICS to me
    • And Knock-turn’al had a dope voice, too
  • Producers like Fredwreck, LT Hutton, and Battlecat had it on lock, while DAZ and DJ Quik NEVER lost production steam
    • I won’t lie, DJ Quik is one of the best producers EVER
  • Jayo Felony’s album had a few bangers
  • Warren G, Suga Free, RBX, and MC Ren were always WELCOMED verses
    • Devin the Dude, although hailing from Houston, always fit in perfectly with that West Coast vibe
  • Ice Cube’s “Hello” featured a NWA reunion and is Still. Not. Old.
  • Remember Three the Hard Way? Snoop. Tray Dee. Goldie Loc? Man, I loved both albums unapologetically.
  • After a few dope guest spots, Xzibit really fell off.
  • I was happy that Snoop FINALLY dissed Suge Knight, and Kurupt’s “Calling Out Names” will always be one of the funniest diss joints ever
  • Daz put out waaaaaaaay too much music to keep up with
  • tried to like Mack 10 outside of Westside Connection, but I just couldn’t. I mean when he’s next to WC and Ice Cube he’ll shine by osmosis.
    • Speaking of WC, LOVED that dude.
  • Every time B-Real was featured on a track I LOST MY MIND.
  • Poor Hittman and Mel-man never really caught traction after The Chronic 2001
  • I’m really happy that Defari was more of an affiliate of Dilated than this crew; it fit his style much better
  • I won’t lie – my button down shirts + baggy khaki cargo-pants was just as much inspired by Kurupt as it was by its utility
    • The Wu-Tang days are marked by the t-shirts
  • Admittedly, after the overall disappointment that was Space Boogie, I lost what remaining hope I had in mainstream Hip Hop. Frankly, this whole West Coast movement was really, really high peaks, and really low, nearly crust-penetrating valleys.

It’s interesting to me that immediately following this phase I got into the New York underground scene so much more. I remember very distinctly, after the dissolution of SOS (Strictly Old School our B-Boy crew), that a few outgoing seniors and rising seniors asked me about my knowledge of Tribe, De La, and a few others. That was the point that made me dig deeper, and I think that influenced my desire to see what other jewels the West Coast had for me. Ultimately it was the jazzier side of Hip Hop, and the more experimental side that captured my attention.