Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey, Kurupt

Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey, Kurupt

Antra / Artemis, 2001

Ricardo Brown, originally from Long Beach in the suburbs of Los Angeles and Snoop Dogg’s protégé, became known during his Death Row period for his numerous featuting and for his album Dogg Food with Daz Dillinger under the name Tha Dogg Pound. Like many artists of the label, he was swindled by Suge Knight, which led him to leave the ship in 1996, just after Dr. Dre, and before Snoop Dogg.

Space Boogie comes at the end of his run at A&M under which he founded his affiliated label Antra Records. This album is his third solo album after the double album Kuruption and Tha Street Iz A Mutha, certified classic. After Space Boogie, Kurupt will return to Death Row, turning his back on most of his former friends, including Snoop Dogg, his mentor, and his Dogg Pound mate, Daz Dillinger. Why go back to Death Row after all that’s happened? Suge Knight, as the good crook he is, promises him the keys to Death Row with a position as partner and artistic director, a chance for Kurupt to have his own vision of music. Of course, things will not go as planned, Death Row is not what it used to be.

Since leaving Death Row, the Dogg Poung Gansta Clik (DPGC) has developed its own version of G-Funk, one that is much more modern with a distinct identity than at the height of the sub-genre in the early 90s. Daz Dillinger is the main architect of this movement, a dancing G-Funk, accompanied by new producers such as Fredwreck or Soopafly. And they are well that we are going to find on this album, with Fredwreck who will be the executive producer.

The hostilities start. We enter the smoking and dancing universe of Kurupt, his own odyssey. Fredwreck will take us to a kind of G-Funk Boogie, a space, a planet filled with piano and synth, where Kurupt will intoxicate us with his smoky lyrics. The intro, produced by Kurupt himself, sets the mood, we enter a futuristic space with lasers, a mystical space where time stops for smoking.

Kurupt has always tended to be an underrated emcee. Yes I’ll say it, Kurupt is one of the best rappers on the West Coast. A catchy and versatile flow with incisive, precise, subtle lyrics. The first track will prove it. On Space Boogie, Kurupt smashes with uncompromising lyrics, pompous pimpology and smoking ego-trips, on a production that is the very definition of Fredwreck’s G-Funk Boogie with a few synthesizer notes and neck-slapping drums. Nate Dogg closes with a beautiful vocal right after the high pitched whistle sampled from Dr. Dre’s Light Speed. His “I’m like fuck a bitch, and fuck yoo too” alone turned my head.

I’m like fuck a bitch and fuck you too
It’s so many different things that I’m gon’ do
Switches all fucked up livin’ in the ’80’s
Jackin’ niggas for Nissan trucks
A quarter piece to flip it’s me and Daz and two bitches
I never gave a fuck, nigga Daz and Kurupt
They say, this ain’t the way to get rich
I might as well get me a bitch
I don’t get it, I take it put a glitch in the Matrix
Flip some bricks to strip ya bitch naked
‘Cause I just don’t care, live from “G” square
Wit a vest and a cup to put in the air
Nigga, fuck a bitch and fuck you too
What a punk mothafucka like you gon’ do?
I holla’d at Dr. Dre, hit up Bigg Snoop
Wit the candy cut-cut perfectly on fueled

Kurupt changes the mood at the speed of light, probably the smoke that can make him glide from one planet to another. Hate On Me irritates my ears with its electronic beat, I can’t listen it, my only skip of the album. Then, the atmospheres are softer, a sunny G-Funk, sometimes at the limit of the RnB, notably It’s Over with Natina Reed. I praised the merits and the talents of lyricists of Kurupt, here it is much more futile, but nevertheless it passes all alone, rather playful finally.

DJ Quik follows with a funky production with a nice saxophone, for a Gangsta ego-trip of Kurupt and a chorus sung by Butch Cassidy. We go back to small G-Funk ballads full of heat with again very melodious sung choruses on On Onsite with Lil ½ Dead and Sunshine with Jon B.

These ballads are contrasted by rougher, more gangsta tracks with The Hardest Mutha Fucka’s featuring Xzibit and MC Ren over a monumental bass riff. MC Ren delivers a bleeding verse with vicious lyrics as pimp as gangsta. Bring Back That G Shit featuring Snoop Dogg and Goldie Loc is another gangsta track where Kurupt opens with a killer flow over a Fredwreck-like synth funk. The chemistry with Daz still works wonderfully with tracks like Gangsta’s, Fuck Da World and On Da Grind, which easily recall the Dogg Pound era.

Kurupt has managed to gather all the West Coast team to accompany him, with the exception of Dr Dre. Fredwreck signs seven extremely qualitative productions, Daz returns with three slamming beats and DJ Quik, Damizza, Soopafly, among others, complete the tracklist. Contemporary funky sounds, 100% West Coast, G-Funk Boogie typical of the new era of G-Funk from the DPGC team. Space Boggie presents a beautiful harmony and an opening towards other styles. A real trip in his universe for an album finally quite crazy. The best album of Kurupt.

By Grégoire Zasa

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