Not many artists have reached the cultural status that Snoop Dogg has managed to obtain throughout his career. Remember when he had a packed Source Awards crowd shook from a simple question? “Y’all don’t love us!?” he shouted at the ceremony as he paced back and forth. That was in 1995, and a 24-year-old Snoop Dogg was a significantly different man than the one we see today. Through the years we’ve seen him take career risks his 24-year-old self wouldn’t even have dreamt of. His current Instagram obsession, his knack for making memes out of his own selfies, and a Reggae album (RIP Snoop Lion), can all be found within the first two pages if you google Snoop today. Now 43 and on his thirteenth solo release, the legendary West Coast MC has nothing left to prove and sits comfortably on a pedestal unbothered by his surroundings as legends do. He’s become a rarity that goes unquestioned even in the most questionable scenarios.
BUSH unites Snoop with frequent collaborator Pharrell Williams, who handles the entire project production-wise. We first got a real taste of their chemistry on the Charlie Wilson-featured 2002 hit “Beautiful,” and they haven’t quite missed a mark since. BUSH is heavily inspired by the 70’s funk era as you’ll notice on the excellent opener “California Roll”. Pharrell and Stevie Wonder assist in making one of this Summer’s most promising cuts. With just 10 tracks clocking in at close to 42 minutes in length, it’s hard to have a misstep here. The good vibes roll on with “This City”. The background vocals were laid by Charlie Wilson, of course, and it’s nothing like what you’d hear on the radio. Snoop isn’t exactly the best crooner, but effortlessly holds his own throughout.
The features add a bit of prominence to the album. T.I. shows up on the infectious “Edibles”, while Gwen Stefani provides additional vocals on the groovy “Run Away”. Rick Ross and Kendrick Lamar help close things out on the stand out “I’m Ya Dogg”, where the three prove their loyalty to their leading ladies. Ross brings his braggadocios charm to the forefront, while Kendrick offers up a 16 laced with sexual innuendos.
Snoop Dogg has made many transitions before, but this one has been an apparent comfort zone from the beginning. There’s always been an at-home experience with him and anything funk inspired. After all, he is a product of the 70’s era. Pharrell not only helps him capture his familiarity here, but also trumps his own attempt he made in his lackluster solo outing G I R L just last year. Although light on actual rapping, Snoop managed to craft an album that has replay value and staying power at least through the summer. That’s something he hasn’t been able to do in years. Ya’ll don’t love him!?