March 19, 2022

Various Artists - Dysfunktional Family: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (2003)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B
Style: Gangsta Rap, Pop Rap
Label Number: DRR-CD-63053

© 2003 Tha Row Records
Tha Row Records resumed operations in 2002, long after its Dre-Snoop-2Pac heyday as Death Row, but the West Coast label didn't get around to releasing anything new of significance until 2003, when they presented the soundtrack to the Eddie Griffin flick Dysfunktional Family. The label's marquee figure, label head Suge Knight, devotes most of the soundtrack to his roster of up-and-comers: Crooked I, Eastwood, Danny BoySpiderGanxsta Ridd, Skippa, and his tha Row Hittas production team. In addition to these relative no-namers, he does bring a few marketable names: Kurupt, who had been serving a momentary tenure at Tha Row; Jay-Z, who serves up a Just Blaze remix of "Hovy Baby" that has little in common with the original version; Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, who performs here as N.I.N.A., her long-unheard rap moniker; Ashanti, who turns in a respectable but not very bangin' club-banger; and a pair of has-beens, Ja Rule and Juvenile, who make passable cameos. The resulting 17-track listen is consistent, as it's mostly produced by tha Row Hittas, but the lack of standout moments makes for long stretches of uneventfulness. Dysfunktional Family begins fine enough, particularly when it comes to the one-two punch of the "Family Affair"-interpolating title track and Jay-Z remix, but it's ultimately a front-loaded album, one you'll struggle to not fast forward through or, more likely, cut short. There is some promising talent here on Tha Row's new roster -- granted, nothing on the level of Snoop or 2Pac, but promising nonetheless. Some more highlights, or at least variety, would have helped Dysfunktional Family, whether via more Jay-Zs or more non-tha Row Hittas production. What you get instead is essentially a broad sampler of Tha Row's new sound, and while that's fine for promotional purposes, it makes for a relatively tedious listening experience that has very little in common with the associated film.

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