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Dope or Dog Food

Z-Man

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Album Review

Quickly establishing themselves as the hardest-working hip-hop collective since the glory days of the Wu-Tang Clan, the Hieroglyphics crew has spun out to include seemingly everyone ever involved with the underground scene in the Bay Area, now including the cracked local legend Z-Man. With a persona that makes Lil Jon look like a paragon of virtue and sobriety ("Gurp wit Me" introduces a slang term that's apparently the next step after "crunk," and the apparently autobiographical "Free Spirited" sketches a back story that would fill a dozen after-school specials), Z-Man wanders through the album with a blunt in one hand and a bottle of brandy in the other, but among the celebrations of "White Girls wit Ass" come several more pointed lyrics, like the dead-serious, angry "God Was Watchin'" and the anti-stereotype "Biggets and Bitches." For all the debauched fun of most of the record, it's the mildly anguished self-critical closer, "Sleepin' Pills," and the wry "Party On" (for all his habits, turns out Z-Man's a strict vegetarian who promotes safe sex) that ring most true lyrically. Musically, the album doesn't fit in any convenient subgenre boxes, preferring a varied and occasionally experimental sound that recalls the free-ranging early-'90s glory days of A Tribe Called Quest or Digital Underground without sounding like an old-school tribute record.

Dope or Dog Food, Z-Man
View In iTunes
  • $18.99
  • Genres: Hip-Hop/Rap, Music
  • Released: 27 January 2004
  • Parental Advisory

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