Lalah Hathaway – “Ghetto Boy” feat. Snoop Dogg and Robert Glasper (Singles Going Steady)

"Ghetto Boy" has the social awareness of Tupac, the funk-sampled sounds of a Dr. Dre track, and just a touch of NWA anger.

Emmanuel Elone: “Let life begin / Toys turn to friends and boys turn to men.” These are the last lines that Snoop says on his first verse, and they come off surprisingly serious and well thought out from an emcee known for smoking weed and being light-hearted. Maybe it’s the classic west coast G-funk instrumental that’s making Snoop sound more introspective than usual, but either way it’s a nice change. Lalah Hathaway’s a bit hidden in her own song, but that’s to be expected when you have Doggy Dogg and Glasper in the mix. “Ghetto Boy” has the social awareness of Tupac, the funk-sampled sounds of a Dr. Dre track, and just a touch of NWA anger, making it one of the best classically West Coast tunes to come out since the rise of Kendrick Lamar. [8/10]

Pryor Stroud: Given the right equipment, Snoop Dogg consistently impresses. His flow is well-esteemed for good reason: it slides uninterruptedly off his tongue, consonants rounded and smooth exiting the length of his throat. Hathaway’s hook is almost an afterthought, though, and the track as a whole is a haphazard collage that can’t decide who’s in the driver’s seat. [4/10]

Chris Ingalls: Snoop’s socially conscious rhymes, Hathaway’s gorgeous, seasoned vocals and Glasper’s classic jazz piano come together a lot better than I would have expected. This combination of talent and styles has the potential to come off as sloppy and overcrowded, but everyone gives each other space and it all clicks nicely. [7/10]

Chad Miller: Snoop Dogg does a really good job with his verses, rapping about the effects of ghettos on black Americans over some sweet beats and music. Lalah’s vocals don’t hold as much power though as the filter on them makes them sound distant instead of pressing, and we never get much dynamic contrast from her. [8/10]

Adolf Alzuphar: I’m a huge fan of Donnie Hathaway’s daughter Lalah Hathaway’s singing. This is Snoop Dogg’s song and doesn’t highlight the majesty of her voice heard in Lalah Hathaway live. [7/10]

SCORE: 6.80