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213 

The Hard Way

Wednesday, Sep 8 2004
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After more than a decade of delays and a few million blunts, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, and Warren G have re-formed what was -- before the three MCs found individual fame in the early '90s -- their original, Long Beach-based trio, 213. Nate Dogg and Warren G haven't been relevant since 1994's "Regulate," which means Snoop is forced to shoulder the weight. As usual, his lazy flow and laconic worldview make for a fun -- if predictable -- day at the rap show. Snoop steals every scene, but only the Kanye West-produced "Another Summer" offers something new: a funky Eddie Kendricks sample providing a smooth backdrop for Snoop's more-laid-back-than-a-Barcalounger patter. "Mary Jane" is a half-baked retread of the Rick James classic, introduced by Dave Chappelle's already played-out parody. That's 213's biggest drawback: It's stuck in the past. The Hard Way's narrow range of topics includes the usual gangsta eye-rollers: weed, booze, ice, felonies, and -- to paraphrase Snoop's eloquent description -- splashing heifers with goo. Ew! This 70-minute patience tester would've benefited from premature evacuation.

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Geoff Harkness

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