No Limit Top Dogg

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No Limit Top Dogg
Snoop front.JPG
Studio album by Snoop Dogg
Released May 11, 1999
Recorded 1998–99[1]
Genre
Length 1:17:41
Label
Producer
Snoop Dogg chronology
Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told
(1998)Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told1998
No Limit Top Dogg
(1999)
Dead Man Walkin'
(2000)Dead Man Walkin'2000
Singles from No Limit Top Dogg
  1. "G Bedtime Stories"
    Released: March 6, 1999
  2. "Bitch Please"
    Released: April 29, 1999
  3. "Down for My N's"
    Released: September 27, 1999

No Limit Top Dogg is the fourth studio album and second on No Limit Records by American rapper Snoop Dogg. It was released May 11, 1999, by No Limit Records and Priority Records. Following the mixed reception of his previous two albums, Snoop began to work again with Dr. Dre and returned to the west coast sound of his earlier career while on Death Row Records. The album was generally met with positive reception with many critics citing it as a return to form and his best album since Doggystyle (1993). Many praised the production work for the album with the tracks made by Dr. Dre being highlighted as well as Snoop's delivery while criticism was mainly aimed at the length of the album, the No Limit features, and the lack of new lyrical content.[2] The Source would later put the album on their list of the Top 10 Best Albums of the Year for 1999.[3]

No Limit Top Dogg debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, selling 187,000 copies in its first week alone in the United States, second only to Ricky Martin's self-titled album. This would be Snoop Dogg's first album to not debut at number-one and would ultimately end up being his lowest selling album of the 1990s. The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). As of March 2008, the album has sold 1,518,000 copies in the United States[4] and 2 million worldwide as of 2016.[5]

Background[edit]

Following the release of his previous album on No Limit, Snoop was granted more creative freedom by Master P which resulted in an album that returned to the sound of his early days on Death Row. Snoop Dogg explained "Master P signed me, so he had the right to dictate and direct me on the first album, because he was bringing me out as a No Limit soldier. To let me have creative control from the beginning wouldn't have been the smartest thing to do." [6]

With this new found freedom, Snoop sought out the help of former mentor and producer Dr. Dre. The album marks the first time they work together on record since Dre left Death Row. Regarding their relationship over the years, Snoop said "Behind the scenes, we've been basically helping each other out and critiquing each other's projects," He then added "We just went back to working with each other publicly ... the public wanted it, and we wanted it, and we're pushing for it and we're doing it."[7] Attempts at reuniting date back to early 1998 when both collaborated on the song Zoom. However, contract problems emerged that prevented the release of said version (Snoop's verses were eventually replaced by east coast rapper LL Cool J and included in the soundtrack to the film Bulworth).[8] Along with a slew of other former label mates and collaborators like Warren G, Nate Dogg, Jewell, DJ Quik, and Raphael Saadiq, Snoop himself viewed the album to be a companion piece to his debut album Doggystyle.[9]

The album cover also marks a significant departure from the usual design style of all No Limit releases. In regards to this decision, Master P stated "When you look at that Snoop record, you know, you let Snoop be himself." He further stated "You look at his cover and it's got none of the bling and stuff that we always had, it's more about the dogs and what his image is about."[10]

Music[edit]

Recording[edit]

In comparison to his previous release Da Game Is to Be Sold, Not to Be Told which according to Snoop only took three weeks to make,[11] work on this album spanned over many months beginning in 1998.[12] The album also marks a departure from the southern sound of previous No Limit releases with only a few tracks featuring production and vocals from other No Limit artists and producers. Instead opting to work with more fellow west coast artists and producers in a "conscious effort" to return his brand of music that was present earlier in his career. Of the 19 songs on the album, three were produced by Dr. Dre. "It was matter of getting some shit from Dre that I didn't have, that would best represent him and would best represent me over his music," Snoop Dogg said. "He [directed] me on what to say and how to say it. I just chose the type of beats I wanted and the type of topics I wanted to rap about."[6] In response to working again with Snoop and how times have changed since last working together, Dre stated the following:

I think Snoop is a lot more humble. As a matter of fact, I know he's a lot more humble. Like I said, he's a lot more focused. He shows up on time, and he comes in ready to do his thing, and he gets in there and performs and, you know, that's all you have to do: Handle your business.[7]

Snoop also continues a previous tradition on his albums to include a cover of an older Hip-Hop song with the song "Snoopafella" (a remake of the song "Cinderfella Dana Dane" by New York rapper Dana Dane). Despite limited involvement on a musical level from No Limit, Snoop has stated that Master P has influenced the album in other ways with the track "I Love My Momma". Snoop mentions "If I wouldn't be on No Limit, I wouldn't even did a song like that, but since Master P, every album he do, he got a song about his momma. He got a song about his dead brother."[6] Snoop also took influence again in his vocal performance from Dr. Dre himself during the process of making and recording songs. He further commented on the chemistry they both still had despite being separate for a while as well as how Dre once again took on a mentor role with him.[13][14]

Production[edit]

The overall production of the album has been noted to be heavily rooted in early '80s funk with a mixture of both West Coast and southern influences coming from his label at No Limit and his associates from his tenure at Death Row.[2][15] In comparison to Da Game, only two tracks on the whole album are produced by No Limit's in-house production team Beats by the Pound. Dr. Dre's involvement was a major point of interest of the album for both fans and critics at the time of release with his influence being prevalent throughout. Despite his involvement, the album also branches out to newer styles of music that differs from ones found on The Chronic and Doggystyle. On tracks like "Buck 'Em", guitar elements were used that became present on other Dre productions of the time (like Eminem's "Role Model" from The Slim Shady LP) which hinted at what was to be featured on Dre's own 2001 album later that year.[13] Other producers also make new contributions like the use of violins on the song "Trust Me", a rap ballad commenting about relationships.[14] The album also ventures further into soul than previous releases with tracks like "Somethin' Bout Yo Bidness" and "I Love My Momma".[16] Less apparent in the album's production is also the chiming keyboard loops found in Dre's earlier work that was highly popular at the time. The album is also a precursor to the West Coast Hip-Hop resurgence in popularity during that year.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic3/5 stars[17]
Entertainment WeeklyB[18]
NME8/10[19]
RapReviews8.5/10[20]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[21]
Los Angeles Times3/4 stars[22]
USA Today3/4 stars[23]
The Source4/5 stars[11]

Top Dogg generally gained positive reviews with many critics citing it as a return to form after the mixed reception and different direction of the previous two albums released. Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club noted "... Dogg sounds happier, looser, and more confident on Top Dogg than he has on any album since his Chronic/Doggystyle glory days." Later in the review he called it "... a vital album, and easily Snoop Dogg's best album since Doggystyle."[24] The Washington Post highlighted the Dre-produced tracks "Just Dippin'" and "Buck 'Em" as one of the best Snoop-Dre collaborations.[25] Source writer Frank Williams called it nearly flawless and said "By returning to his original 1993 flyness, Snoop meshes all his influences to create an album that will ride for a long time." The magazine later included the album on its "Top 10 Albums of the Year [1999]" list.[11][3] Kevin Powell of Rolling Stone called the album "Snoop's finest work since his debut album...full of seductive party jams that will keep heads bobbing through the summer. Snoop has returned to West Coast G-funk with the help of some old friends...like Dr. Dre and DJ Quik."[21] Neil Strauss of The New York Times positively compared the album to Snoop Dogg's previous release calling it a major musical improvement.[26] NME mentioned "...the silken, sumptuous flow of yore is back, threading deluxe soul and full-bodied grooves....the cool drawl of Snoop...captivates, unveiling tales of love, thuggery, surviving and succeeding in the wild west....a certifiable return to form."[27][19]

Despite the overall positive reception to the album it did receive some criticism from critics. The majority of it being aimed at the length of the whole project as well as the obligatory No Limit tracks. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said "...it runs way too long and is filled with superfluous, even irritating cameos, and also that Snoop is content to haul out low-rent gangsta clichés." He further comments on the lack of interesting and clever lyrics in comparison to his older material years ago.[2] The A.V. Club also addresses the length being a problem with it being a few tracks too long. Criticism is also drawn to the tracks with features from other No Limit artists which writer Nathan Rabin considers to be the lowest points of the whole album.[24] The Source's only criticism of the album is also aimed at the two No Limit tracks "Down 4 My Niggaz" and "Ghetto Symphony" calling them "overly-simplistic".[11] Rolling Stone in particular criticized Snoop's lack of growth as a lyricist while declaring the whole album as not worthy of being compared to his debut.[21]

In a retrospective list by Complex, the magazine placed No Limit Top Dogg at Number 17 on their list of "The Top 25 Best No Limit Albums" on April 5, 2013. This is the only album by Snoop Dogg on the label to be included on the list.[28] Entertainment Weekly in 2015 ranked the album third overall as Snoop Dogg's best album only behind 2002's Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$ and 1993's Doggystyle respectively.[29]

Commercial performance[edit]

No Limit Top Dogg debuted at number-two and one on the US Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums respectively, selling 187,400 copies in its first week.[30] which was second only to Ricky Martin's 1999 self-titled album with huge first week sales of 661,000 copies. The following week the album sold an additional 108,000 copies dropping to number-seven until eventually bowing out of the top ten the following week.[31][32] Although the release of the single 'Bitch Please' which gained popularity on both the radio and television helped album sales with a 16% rise on the Billboard 200 after months of declining on the charts.[33] Despite not being as commercially successful as Still a G Thang from his previous album as it failed to chart within the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 (peaking at 77), it still managed to peak at number-eight on the Billboard Hot Rap Singles on August 28 making it one of his highest ranking songs on that chart at the time.[34] The music video also peaked at number-three on BET and charted within the top 20 most played videos on MTV.[35][36] The video was directed by Dr. Dre.[7]

Top Dogg eventually spent 40 weeks on the Billboard 200 which is second only to Doggystyle on weeks spent on the charts for a Snoop Dogg album.[4] Despite being Snoop Dogg's first album to not debut at number-one and have strong first-week album sales, it was certified platinum on October 13, 1999[37] and sold 1,100,000 copies by the end of 1999 making it the 73rd best selling album of the year.[38] Some speculated the reason for the relatively low turn out for the first week sales of the album is a result of the anticipation for Ricky Martin's album released the same week.[39] The low awareness for the album was also thought to be due to a lack of a video or hit single prior to the release.[40] As of March 2008, the album has sold 1,518,000 copies in the United States[4] and 2 million worldwide as of 2016.[5]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Dolomite Intro"  0:27
2."Buck 'Em" (featuring Sticky Fingaz)Calvin Broadus, Jr., Kirk JonesDr. Dre2:44
3."Trust Me" (featuring Suga Free & Sylk-E. Fyne)Broadus, Jr., Dejuan Rice, L. JohnsonBud'da4:09
4."My Heat Goes Boom"Broadus, Jr.Meech Wells3:40
5."Dolomite"  0:52
6."Snoopafella"Broadus, Jr.Ant Banks5:22
7."In Love With a Thug"Broadus, Jr.Meech Wells3:44
8."G Bedtime Stories"Broadus, Jr.Meech Wells2:14
9."Down 4 My N's" (featuring C-Murder & Magic)Broadus, Jr., Corey Miller, Awood JohnsonKLC3:46
10."Betta Days"Broadus, Jr.Meech Wells, Def Jeff3:55
11."Somethin Bout Yo Bidness" (featuring Raphael Saadiq)Broadus, Jr., Raphael SaadiqG-One4:10
12."Bitch Please" (featuring Xzibit & Nate Dogg)Broadus, Jr., Alvin Joiner, Nathaniel HaleDr. Dre3:54
13."Doin' Too Much"Broadus, Jr.DJ Quik4:07
14."Gangsta Ride" (featuring Silkk the Shocker)Broadus, Jr., Vyshonn MillerMeech Wells3:44
15."Ghetto Symphony" (featuring Mia X, Fiend, C-Murder, Silkk the Shocker, Mystikal & Goldie Loc)Broadus, Jr., Mia Young, Corey Miller, Vyshonn Miller, Michael Tyler, Keiwan SpillmanKLC5:40
16."Party With a D.P.G."Broadus, Jr.Jelly Roll4:55
17."Buss'n Rocks"Broadus, Jr.DJ Quik4:23
18."Just Dippin'" (featuring Dr. Dre & Jewell)Broadus, Jr., Andre Young, Jewell CaplesDr. Dre4:03
19."Don't Tell" (featuring Warren G, Mausberg & Nate Dogg)Broadus, Jr., Warren Griffin, Johnny Burns, Nathaniel HaleDJ Quik4:47
20."20 Minutes" (featuring Goldie Loc)Broadus, Jr., Keiwan SpillmanGoldie Loc3:59
21."I Love My Momma"Broadus, Jr.Meech Wells3:06
Total length:77:41

Samples[edit]

Buss'n Rocks

20 Minutes

Betta Days

Bitch Please

Snoopafella

Don't Tell

  • "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)" by Snoop Dogg

Down 4 My N's

Ghetto Symphony

In Love With a Thug

My Heat Goes Boom

Party With a D.P.G.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[53] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[54] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[55] Platinum 1,518,000[56]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Old No Limit News". Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Snoop Dogg: No Limit Top Dogg > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b "The Source review". The Source: 95. February 2000. ISSN 1063-2085. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c Gail Mitchell (March 1, 2008). "With Abundant Charm And A New Album Full Of Hooks, Snoop Dogg Extends His Reign As The Cuddliest Gangsta Rapper Of All Time". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (Vol. 120, No. 9). ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Snoop Dogg Total Album Sales Statistics". Statistic Brain Research Institute. September 1, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  6. ^ a b c O'Connor, Christopher (May 18, 1999). "Snoop Dogg Strays Back To Roots On New Album". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Culpepper, Andy (August 16, 1999). "The Dogg has his day". CNN. Turner Entertainment. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  8. ^ MTV News Staff (April 8, 1998). "LL Cool J And Dr. Dre Talk About "Zoom"". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  9. ^ NME (September 12, 2005). "When "Snoop Dogg" released his 'Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told' album last autumn, more than just the "Doggy" part of his name was missing..." Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  10. ^ Trammell, Matthew (January 16, 2015). "4 Classic No Limit Covers, Explained By Master P". Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d Williams, Frank (July 1999). "Snoop Dogg; Top Dogg review in The Source July 1999 #118". The Source. The Source (#118): 186–188. Archived from the original on March 16, 2010.
  12. ^ "Old No Limit News". Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  13. ^ a b c O'Connor, Christopher (September 29, 1999). "Dr. Dre Returns To Radio With Snoop Dogg's Help". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  14. ^ a b O'Connor, Christopher (May 18, 1999). "Snoop Dogg Strays Back To Roots On New Album". MTV. Viacom. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  15. ^ Lindsey, Craig (July 29, 1999). "Rotation". Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  16. ^ NME (September 12, 2005). "When "Snoop Dogg" released his 'Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told' album last autumn, more than just the "Doggy" part of his name was missing..." Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  17. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Snoop Dogg: No Limit Top Dogg > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
  18. ^ Tom Sinclair (May 14, 1999). "Top Dogg (1999): Snoop Dogg". Entertainment Weekly. Time (#485). ISSN 1049-0434. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  19. ^ a b "NME review". NME. IPC Media: 37. May 29, 1999. ISSN 0028-6362. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  20. ^ Juon, Steve (May 13, 1999). "Snoop Dogg :: No Limit Top Dogg :: No Limit".
  21. ^ a b c Powell, Kevin (June 10, 1999). "Snoop Dogg: Top Dogg". Rolling Stone. Straight Arrow (RS 814): 120. ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on November 15, 2007.
  22. ^ Baker, Soren (May 9, 1999). "Snoop Dogg, "No Limit Topp Dogg"". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. ISSN 0458-3035. OCLC 3638237. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  23. ^ Jones, Steve (May 11, 1999). "Snoop unleashes a funky 'Dogg'". USA Today. Gannett. ISSN 0734-7456. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  24. ^ a b Rabin, Nathan (March 29, 2002). "Snoop Dogg: Top Dogg". Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  25. ^ Seymour, Craig (June 6, 1999). "Exploiting the Master P Plan". Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  26. ^ Strauss, Neil (May 19, 1999). "THE POP LIFE; Don't Call Me Mom; Grandma Will Do". Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  27. ^ "Top Dogg". NME. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  28. ^ "The Top 25 Best No Limit Albums". Complex. April 5, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  29. ^ Kyle Anderson (May 11, 2015). "Snoop Dogg's albums, ranked". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  30. ^ Rosen, Craig (May 19, 1999). "Ricky Martin Couldn't Be Hotter; Snoop Not 'Top Dogg'". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  31. ^ "Billboard". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (Vol. 111, No. 23). June 5, 1999. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  32. ^ "Billboard". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (Vol. 111, No. 24). June 12, 1999. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  33. ^ Geoff Mayfield (October 2, 1999). "Between The Bullets". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (Vol. 111, No. 40). ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  34. ^ Rhonda Baraka (July 12, 2003). "Snoop Dogg: 10 Years Of His Doggy Style". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (Vol. 115, No. 28). ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 7, 2017.
  35. ^ "Billboard". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. November 6, 1999. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  36. ^ "Billboard". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (Vol. 111, No. 39). September 25, 1999. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  37. ^ Bonoan, Christian (February 11, 2014). "By The Numbers: Snoop Dogg's First Six Platinum Solo Albums". XXL. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  38. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1999". Billboard. January 22, 2000. Retrieved January 1, 2015.
  39. ^ "Snoop Runs a Hot Second to Martin". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. May 22, 1999. ISSN 0458-3035. OCLC 3638237. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  40. ^ Datu Faison (March 29, 1999). "Datu Faison's Rhythm Selection". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (Vol. 111, No. 22). ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  41. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Snoop Dogg – Top Dogg". Hung Medien.
  42. ^ "Snoop Dogg Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard.
  43. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Snoop Dogg – Top Dogg" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  44. ^ "Lescharts.com – Snoop Dogg – Top Dogg". Hung Medien.
  45. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
  46. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Snoop Dogg – Top Dogg". Hung Medien.
  47. ^ "1999 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. May 6, 1999. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  48. ^ "1999 Top 40 Official UK R&B Albums Archive". Official Charts Company.
  49. ^ "Snoop Dogg Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  50. ^ "Snoop Dogg Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard.
  51. ^ "Best of 1999 – Billboard 200 Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  52. ^ "Best of 1999 – R&B/Hip-Hop Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  53. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Snoop Dogg – Top Dogg". Music Canada.
  54. ^ "British album certifications – Snoop Dogg – Top Dogg". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 7, 2013. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Top Dogg in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  55. ^ "American album certifications – Snoop Dogg – No Limit Top Dogg". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH. 
  56. ^ "Billboard Magazine Match 1, 2008 - pág 25". Prometheus Global Media. Billboard. Retrieved July 28, 2015.

External links[edit]