HOLLYWOOD, Calif., Jan. 11 — Following the December 8 release of Snoop Dogg’s tenth studio album, Malice N Wonderland, Priority Records will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2010 with a year-long catalog campaign showcasing the legendary gangsta rap label’s most influential artists and recordings.
Snoop Dogg, Priority’s Creative Chairman, will oversee the release of several commemorative catalog titles, beginning February 23 with a new CD and digital compilation primer, Snoop Dogg Presents: The West Coast Blueprint, including 16 classic tracks from the vault and a new recording by Snoop of Ice Cube’s “Check Yo Self.” On the same date, a new CD and digital reissue series, “U.S.D.A.” (“Uncut Snoop Dogg Approved”), will launch with three classic, Snoop-recommended Priority titles, Eazy-E’s Eazy-Duz-It, EPMD’s Strictly Business, and Master P’s Ghetto D, each with newly-written liner notes by Snoop Dogg.
“I was a long-time fan of Priority Records, even before I had my first record deal,” says Snoop Dogg. “Priority was the flagship label for the west coast. This situation is all about me opening up the Priority back catalog, for the fans, and to spark that feeling in new artists as well. You can’t go into the future without looking back and seeing how all those great artists laid down the foundation for what we’re doing today.”
Snoop Dogg Presents: The West Coast Blueprint features classic tracks from west coast rap legends like N.W.A, Yo-Yo, Ice Cube, and Mack 10, as well as crucial but lesser-known artists including King Tee and Ras Kass. The compilation showcases the diversity of sounds and styles within the now universally-known gangsta rap aesthetic. “Priority’s always been associated with the west coast,” explains Snoop, “but now with the power of EMI behind it, we can take this international.”
Founded in Los Angeles in 1985, Priority Records struck instant pay dirt with its initial release of The California Raisins’ novelty cover of Marvin Gaye’s classic “I Heard It (Through The Grapevine),” selling two million copies. Priority then became the distributor for a number of independent record labels essential to hip-hop history, including Ruthless Records, No Limit Records, and Death Row Records.
Ice Cube’s seminal solo debut, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, was released solely by Priority in 1990, and the label remained a major player in the rap game well into the new millennium. Now, with Snoop Dogg installed as Creative Chairman of the revamped Priority, the label is experiencing a renaissance due to its unimpeachable combination of corporate clout and street level savvy.
Snoop Dogg Presents: The West Coast Blueprint is the result of Snoop Dogg carefully combing through Priority’s storied vaults. The proof of Snoop’s diligence lies in the inclusion of tracks like Kid Frost’s “La Raza,” largely considered to be the first hip-hop hit to include lyrics in both English and Spanish, and Low Profile’s “Pay Ya Dues,” the sole single from the short-lived group that featured the talents of W.C. (later of Westside Connection) and DJ Aladdin. More information about The West Coast Blueprint’s classic tracks is revealed in Snoop Dogg’s liner notes for the collection.
EPMD’s Strictly Business (1988) reached the #1 spot on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Marking one of the first times east coast rappers were embraced by the west coast, Strictly Business took samples and lyrics to a new level. This seminal release’s reputation only continues to grow with multiple entries as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time.
Eazy-E’s solo debut, Eazy-Duz-It (1988) was produced by Dr. Dre and DJ Yella, and also includes Eazy-E’s other N.W.A associates, Ice Cube and MC Ren, plus the D.O.C. As crucial as N.W.A’s Straight Outta Compton was to the development of west coast rap, this release was named one of the Top 100 Rap Albums of All Time by The Source.
Master P’s Ghetto D (1997) peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts and featured two Top 10 Rap chart singles. Recognized as one of Master P’s finest albums, Ghetto D includes performances from Fiend, Silkk The Shocker, C-Murder and Mia X and has sold more than 10 million copies around the world.
“I’m going to show you where this gangsta rap came from, who the originators were, and how it got to where it is now,” says Snoop. “With The West Coast Blueprint, I’ve compiled records that have stood the test of time and sound just as good as the new records coming out today. So it’s highly relevant. And by reissuing Eazy-E’s Eazy-Duz-It, EPMD’s Strictly Business, and Master P’s Ghetto D, you will hear how many different facets of hip-hop Priority had a hand in. Fans who might not have heard these records in a long time, I know they’re going to love hearing them again. And for the youngsters who’ve never heard them before, it’s an important education. See? Learning can be fun.”
Snoop Dogg Presents: The West Coast Blueprint (CD, digital)
1. Introduction to The West Coast Blueprint
2. Eazy-E – Eazy-Duz-It
3. King Tee – Act A Fool
4. The D.O.C. – No One Can Do It Better
5. Low Profile – Pay Ya Dues
6. Kid Frost – La Raza
8. N.W.A – Alwayz Into Somethin’
9. Yo-Yo featuring Ice Cube – You Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo
10. Ice Cube featuring Das EFX – Check Yo Self [Album Version]
11. Rappin’ 4-Tay – Playaz Club
13. Mack 10 – Foe Life
14. Luniz – I Got 5 On It
15. Ras Kass – The Evil That Men Do
16. Westside Connection – Gangstas Make The World Go Round
17. Ant Banks featuring Too $hort, 2Pac & MC Breed – 4 Tha Hustlas
18. Mack 10 featuring Tha Dogg Pound – Nothin’ But The Cavi Hit
19. Snoop Dogg featuring Sylk E. Fine & Suga Free – Trust Me
20. Check Yo Self Interlude
21. Snoop Dogg featuring The Hustle Boyz – Check Yo Self (Snoop Dogg G-Mix) [NEW RECORDING]