In the 90's, Dat Nigga Daz and Kurupt aka Tha Dogg Pound were one of the best groups to come out of the west coast gangsta era. Since first hearing Kurupts verse on Puffin' On Blunts and Drankin' Tanqueray, I knew he was something special. Years and several mediocre solo and collaboration albums later, can this duo's early output still be appealing?
With Death Row's aquisition in '09 by Wide Awake Entertainment, they've been releasing several albums of unreleased material from the 90's at Death Row. Most of these albums have been weak and handled poorly, Exampli Gratia: Crooked I, Snoop Dogg, Sam Sneed. Some have been better like their singles collection and a LBC Crew album. The problem with these releases is that there are hundreds of songs in the vaults but they're mostly there for a reason. The few good songs which are in the vaults have to be stretched out through multiple releases to maximize the investment return for wide awake.
That being said, Doggy Bag is my favorite Wide Awake/Death Row solo album release so far, but there's still some issues. I like to think that Tha Dogg Pound sound best when just rappin' about some gangsta shit. So when the music comes to abstract topics or the ladies, it doesn't always work. (I Don't Care What People Say, Gigolo, Like Dis.) Songs like Every Single Day and NY87 have been heard before. NY87 in its leaked form previously had a 2Pac verse included after Daz's. This has been removed on the cd. It makes you wonder what else has been chopped, cut and pasted. Regardless, it is one of the best tracks on the album. Too bad it just won't make sense without 2Pac's verse anchoring it all together. DJ Quik doesn't hurt either.
There's alot of original versions of classic DPG tracks like Let's Play House and Me In Your World. These work well. Some of the songs sound unfinished but these can also be the best song on the album - A kurupt solo track called These Reasons, Kurupt experiments with his flow and goes hard on a simple but effective beat. It gives me hope for what his future could have held if all had remained well at Death Row and he didn't branch out on his own and release the horrid Kuruption. Another stand out track is the other Kurupt solo cut, Life I Lead. The Interlude isn't bad either. Theres even a positive song with Save A life featuring Prince Ital Joe.
In the end, I have to remember that I am a DPG fan and consequently, a little biased. Taking my fandom out of the factor, the suggestion would be to definitely pick this up if you are into Tha Dogg Pound or mid 90's g-funk. If not, then you may be better off passing on it. Tha Dogg Pound have released several newer albums under different various names like Dillinger & Young Gotti. Check out their latest 100 Wayz from 2010.