>Doggystyle + his work on The Chronic, and Murder Was the >Case. Obviously Doggfather was a step down but it was >decent. > >Most rappers batting averages go down significantly if they >keep releasing albums for decades: KRS, LL, those last two >Rakim albums, Cube, PE, etc. > >Only 80s/90s rapper who really maintained that batting average >for his whole career that I can think of is Scarface. > >Frankly, I don’t even consider LL, Rakim, KRS’s late >career stuff when considering their GOAT status. To me once >you reach a certain point in your career, everything that >comes after is treated like bonus points that can only help >your grade but not hurt it.
I think Snoop was more hit than miss up til like 2006ish, after which I think he started coasting. But I think you're right that he was at his absolute strongest in the years just before he signed to No Limit, which would've been about 97/98 as you partly noted. Can't forget to include Smokefest '96 which was released during that brief free agency period after he left Death Row but before he signed with NL. That album was 100% heaters. I have my copy somewhere.
But anyway, after the clunker that was Da Game is to be Sold ... or whatever the fuck that mess was called, he dropped Top Dogg, Paid Da Cost, R&G, then Blue Carpet, all of which were good-to-great albums.
Ego Trippin' had it's moments but that's the album when I feel like he started coasting a bit, taking some risks only he and a few others could take based on status, and dropping albums that had a small handful of bangers but were mostly filler. And as you noted, I think he had and continues to have every right to do that considering what he gave us prior to that, and that he now only gets credit, doesn't get dinged. i.e. the aforementioned Ego Trippin' had "Press Play" and "Those Gurlz" and a couple others, which are absolute all time Snoop songs, surrounded by mostly forgettable songs that do nothing to hurt his reputation. But those songs absolutely get added to his collection of career bangers.