Review of Bush by Snoop Dogg
Almost a quarter of a century has passed since the seminal release of G-funk, hip hop classic Doggystyle. The album produced by Dr Dre was a pivotal point in Hip Hop history. Whilst it wasn’t the first intro to the world for Snoop (he appeared on classic tracks on Dr Dre’s solo album The Chronic) it was the album that created global stardom for the artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg.
I played Doggystyle so much, I must have got through at least one vinyl and one CD of the great work. It tested boundaries and used great samples and cuts, the likes of which had not been heard before. Arguably, it also set Dr Dre up and he became the best Hip Hop producer and a brilliant scout of emerging talent. That was before he became a technology billionaire.
So since that release, 22 years ago, the soon to be artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg, the now named Snoop Lion has had an eventful life. Twelve solo albums, a couple of films including his own “Murder Was The Case”, a period as a pimp and a pornographer, Snoop Lion has now found the Rastafari movement,
Within that manic time, Snoop’s music career has been constant. Due to his legend status, he had been forgiven his inconsistency in terms or quality of output and remains a box office smash. With a few occasional highlights though, little has hit the heights of Doggystyle, perhaps the biggest success has been Beautiful featuring a certain Pharrell. So is Bush any good?
I always get excited when I hear of anything to do with Snoop (the way I will refer to him going forward) and often I crack over what is obviously a lacklustre piece of content, due to the place he had in my past. Sadly Bush is a little too far removed from my perception of what Snoop is, I just can’t carry that on.
Pharrell is heavily involved in the production and his pop, funky feel is laid on every track with a nod to a retro, yet digital disco-funk. The tracks themselves don’t feel retro though, which is a great thing. Snoop’s delivery has gone so laid-back and removed that he appears to be attempting to sing a lot more, in his hushed style. The production is first class and the album is definitely one for the summer with a real languid feel to the bass and composition.
Stevie Wonder makes an appearance in the opener California Roll which sets the tone as a perfect accompaniment to a ride along Santa Monica with the top down. As you wind down the windy beach roads you get joined by the likes of Gwen Stefani, Charlie Wilson and sadly TI. These all create a perfect mellow ride through Snoop’s head. However the peace is broken with appearances by Kendrick Lamar and Rick Ross who provide good raps to spice things up a little.
In all fairness, each of the collaborations bring a little something to the body of work that is Bush. So this all sounds really positive, doesn’t it? Well it does and it is a good album that has the potential to be the soundtrack to the summer, whether you are chilling in West Coast LA, going for it in Ibiza, soaking up the sun in the Med or suffering a hangover in a beach hut in Bognor.
However for me there still remains a problem. If this was an album by Pharrell or by another current artist I would probably be waxing lyrical about the brilliant mix of modern production techniques that manage to also capture the feel of a lovely warm summer, whilst also delivering some good head nodding tracks.
However, this isn’t a current artist, this is a legend. This is Snoop. I expect some controversy. I expect something to make me want to get up and move my feet. Damn, I want some of that passion he used to show in Doggystyle and in that whole G-funk era.
Sadly that isn’t the case. It feels like Snoop is having one last foray in the music game and utilising a formula that will sell. Don’t get me wrong, I will probably read this in a months time after falling in love with the album and wonder what the hell I was talking about. But it still remains, this feels too far removed from what I consider Snoop to be.
Another problem, the tile Bush!