The D.O.C.'s third LP reunites him with his N.W.A and Death Row cronies Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, and Snoop Dogg, and even though Dre only produces one cut, the album's sound, which is directed mostly by the D.O.C. himself, is patterned after Dre's now-standard G-funk. The songs are well-produced, well-performed standard gangsta cuts, with some occasional departures for variety. "Soliloquy" is a thoughtful dedication to his deceased parents, backed with a lovely acoustic guitar riff, and "DFW" contains some intricate wordplay. Unfortunately, while the D.O.C. is still a talented MC, so much of this is lyrically trite, and even his flow and some occasional production scores (like the unusually fast-paced "DFW" and "1-2-3") can't really make this stand out as anything other than a competent but not especially groundbreaking West Coast album. What's even more disappointing is that Dre does not produce the cuts featuring Nate Dogg ("Big Dick Shit") or Cube, Ren, and Snoop ("The Shit"), and the one he does produce ("Judgment Day") does not feature the D.O.C. at all, which is a major letdown, since their collaborations on the first D.O.C. album were spectacular. Some fans might be put off by the D.O.C.'s raspy voice, but it's not as harsh or sluggish as it was on his last album, Helter Skelter, and this is not nearly as disheartening as that release was, although it's tragically clear that the D.O.C. will never be able to recapture the magic of his debut. Deuce is an improvement over the D.O.C.'s previous album, but though it will please fans of West Coast rap, it's not as essential as No One Can Do It Better. [Deuce is also available in a clean version.] ~ Victor W. Valdivia, Rovi

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