27 May 2015

REVIEW: Snoop Dogg - BUSH

People struggle to comfortably give Snoop's albums their proper respect, but you would be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn't able to acknowledge his position as a multi-faceted cultural icon. Many say Snoop's greatest works were in the 90s, but even though Doggystyle is cemented in history, I would argue that he truly began to discover his lane in the mid-2000s with R&G: The Masterpiece. It was from this point on that you were able to witness Snoop morph into somewhat of a second coming of his all-time funk heroes with every subsequent album...all while maintaining his own identity as Snoop Dogg.

He has undoubtedly reached a point in his career where nothing is off-limits, but therein lies the major issue in the eyes of fans who continue to want him to remain in that Doggystyle pocket. The problem with that mentality is the fact that Doggystyle dropped over 20 years ago. It's almost a damned if you do damned if you don't type of situation that fans refuse to acknowledge. Just imagine if Snoop in his mid-40s was still trying to rap about shit he was doing in his late teens / early 20s? Jay-Z said it best in an interview a couple of years ago; you simply cannot re-create those times. So, in true grown man fashion, how is it a crime for Snoop Dogg to create grown music? In my personal opinion, it's the only logical choice for an artist of his tenure. You can't stifle creativety. Let's also not act like this is Snoop's first time stepping outside the box. He has been playing around with different styles for at least the past decade, but the one constant that always remains is the fact that his music always comes back to the funk.

"Oh Snoop's back to singing again? Pass."

Statements like these are upsetting because at the end of the day, why does a person listen to music? The answer, in most cases, is because you enjoy the way it sounds. Real music heads can go deeper and talk about inspiration, but at the very core, the average person listens to music because it is sonically appealing. Pharrell's top notch production and overall vision for this album are pure magic, and help bring it to life behind Snoop's smooth vocals. Bush simply sounds amazing for the most part, and there's not one single person you can credit for this. Snoop Dogg is really not the star here, and honestly neither is Pharrell's production. Usually one aspect outshines the other, but it's the medley of elements bonding together that make at least half of this album worth listening to. It's Stevie Wonder's harmonica and brief background vocals spread across the intro track "California Roll," that make Bush special. It's Snoop's clever wordplay with the common acronym D.T.F. on "R U A Freak" and Charlie Wilson's timeless golden pipes on "Peaches N Cream" which make you wanna jam like you're listening to some classic Kool & The Gang.

This is an anywhere, anytime kind of album that you can play on the way to work, at a cookout, or while you're cleaning the crib on a Saturday morning. It isn't anything groundbreaking, and damn sure won't go down as a classic, but this is one of very few bright spots in Snoop's somewhat extensive catalog at this point. If you enjoyed any of Snoop's prior 70s-inspired efforts from R&G: The Masterpiece, to 7 Days of Funk and a portion of Ego Trippin, you will be able to enjoy a lot of Bush. But if you are of the mentality that a former (cringe) "Gangsta Rapper" (it irks me to even type that shit) should never sing again and get back to what made him famous 20+ years in the past, then Bush is not for you at all. Snoop is the SHAQ of the music game, he can do whatever the fuck he wants and it will still probably be dope.

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