Album: Ego Trippin (Geffen)
In stores: Now
Why we care: Sip on gin & juice? Or shuttle the kids to Chuck E. Cheese? At 36, the life of the party born Calvin Broadus is having a crisis of conscience. Snoop wants to be a player and a pimp; at the same time, he wants to be a decent dad and husband. His head-snapping new disc seeks the line between good guy and gangsta.
Why we like it: Along with the lyrical schizophrenia, Snoop's beats are equally bipolar, as he works between G-funk and straight-up old-school soul. On the phenomenally odd Cool, Snoop even gets his Prince on and does some warbling. It's groovy, slinky, sublime.
Reminds us of: Chuck E. Cheese serves beer. Just thought Snoop would like to know.
Download this: Sexual Eruption and Cool
The Black Crowes
Album: Warpaint (Megaforce)
In stores: Now
Why we care: After a turbulent seven-year layoff, Chris Robinson and his beloved dirtballs return with lovingly rusted Southern boogie. It's nice to have the boys back, too, as rock 'n' roll is desperate for a sexy, swaggering kick in the can.
Why we like it: The shaggy Georgia crew isn't afraid to honor its heroes, mining the sweet-sour vibe of the Stones' Sticky Fingers. Helping them pack a punch is slide specialist Luther Dickinson, carting his slippery licks over from the North Mississippi Allstars. At this stage, the Crowes are tighter than ever and slyly upbeat.
Reminds us of: "Take me down, little Susie, take me down."
Download these: Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution and Oh Josephine
Album: Funplex (Astralwerks)
In stores: Tuesday
Why we care: The bewigged crew from Athens, Ga., shimmies out its first album in 16 years. The Seussian sex-party sound hasn't changed much. But there's still comfort in the quirky interplay of Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson and 56-year-old Fred Schneider, who continues to sell nonsense ("Bootybots! Erotobots!") with conviction.
Why we like it: At this stage in the game, the B-52's are better off blasting out the beats than going for nuance. So, although more careful offerings such as Juliet of the Spirits are kinda dull, humpy bumpers Pump and Funplex are easier to crank. Secret weapon Keith Strickland sets his guitar on randy and fills in the fun.
Reminds us of: "Tin roof! Rusted."
Download this: Deviant Ingredient
SONG OF THE WEEK
Song: Don't You Mess With My Money
Album: South of the Snooty Fox (Hacktone)
In stores: Now
Why we care: Some call him the best bluesman you've never heard, and they might be right. The late Sterling Harrison made a living working the soul-food joints of L.A., showing off a high-low falsetto-growl that turned every song into a full-fledged drama. ITunes originally offered this cut as a free single, but 99 cents is a small price to pay for pure blues bliss.
Why we like it: ''Don't you mess with my money / 'Cause when you do you're messing with me." You can thank Los Lobos' Steve Berlin for bringing this fellow Angeleno to the masses. Harrison wails like an urban angel.
Reminds us of: Checkerboard Lounge, southside Chicago. Long night, folks. Long night.
Song grade: A