Did Snoop Dogg feel bad for Lil 1/2 Dead and Tha Twinz? I don’t mean any disrespect by asking that question, but when I look at “Tha Loccs” EP that’s the first thought that comes to mind. Experience has taught me that if an idea like that percolates in my head, odds are that at least one reader has had the exact same thought. In the 1990’s both seemed poised to rise to prominence along with the West coast G-Funk sound, and both had the Long Beach/213 connections to roll with Warren G and Snoop at the time. Guest appearances and shoutouts on each other’s releases was part of the deal, and Warren’s rising star in front of the boards matched his production acumen behind it. They all seemed like “can’t miss” artists.
“New Poly Anthem” shows you just how deep the ties between them all run. It’s essentially an ode to Long Beach Polytechnic High School, which counts Snoop, Nate Dogg and Crooked I among its alumni. Tha Twinz and Snoop all sing the praises of the its success in sports and their snarling jackrabbit mascot. “Here’s to another successful season” says Snoop, talking about LB’s sports the way most people talk about their favorite college teams. It’s not even the last time this group of LBC homies pay tribute to the Jackrabbits — they come right back to do it again on “Green and Gold,” where Snoop waxes nostalgic about his football days at “Poly High, class of 1989.”
Even though this is ostensibly Tha Twinz release, the guest star appearances (four by Snoop and three by 1/2 Dead) could easily have you confuse this for a Long Beach All-Stars project — particularly when they keep talking about their shared LBC history. This is where I come back to “Snoop feeling bad” again. You see to me this whole EP plays out like Snoop getting together with all his childhood friends, his high school teammates, his homies from around the way, slice it any way among those tropes that you want. It’s an entire trip down memory lane complete with them talking about how great their youth was, where every day felt “Just Like Xmas” and actual Christmas was EXTRA special. “We celebrating Christmas time all the time and you know it.” This should replace Mariah Carey in my holiday rotation… nah, not really, but it’s definitely a song for “the season to be jolly.”
Don’t get it twisted when I say that Snoop just used “Tha Loccs” as an excuse to put his friends on. I enjoy this EP largely because of the family vibe and the production (Snoop laces it under the pseudonym of “Niggaraci“) but can’t help but notice that in 14 years Tha Twinz only had two releases — “Conversation” and this one. That’s why I think Snoop reached out and did this. I think he felt like his homeboys deserved better than that from the music business, and since I enjoyed this one I can’t blame him. Then again I can ask why it took over a decade to do it, and why he hasn’t done it again since then, but maybe you can only wax nostalgic for Long Beach Poly so much before it’s time to move on.