Snoop Dogg • Bush • Columbia • US Release Date: May 12, 2015
How does a legendary MC continue to keep it G in his early 40s? He reinvents himself or at least retools. Snoop Dogg does just that on Bush by embracing his soulful, funkier side, while easing up on his edgier, more explicit persona. Normally ridding of the f-bombs and misogynistic references might anger listeners who expect that, but in Snoop’s case, this kinder, gentler persona shows tremendous maturity. Don’t let Bush’s cleanliness dissuade you from listening – Snoop is still very much Snoop!
Things ‘get lifted’ early on with “California Roll” featuring Stevie Wonder. While one will assume Wonder lends his pipes, he actually drenches this chilled out, soulful opener with his harmonica playing. Pharrell handles vocal duties on the irresistibly catchy chorus, while Snoop Dogg sings/pop-raps his verses. “This City” is a groovy number best described as neo-disco record with influences from the late 70s and 80s. Snoop Dogg once more embraces his singing pipes on two of his verses, spitting a tasteful – as opposed to explicit – rap on the third. Two tracks in and Snoop is on his game.
On “R U A Freak,” Snoop allows more of his naughty, risqué side to show. This is obvious on the genius, if corny lyric, “I’m just a squirrel tryna get a nut.” Prior to that, Snoop describes her as “DTF cause she’s down to feel.” Traditionally, “DTF” stands for something more explicit (down to f**k), which the MC implies. More mature Snoop, perhaps? He’s still an OG though!
“Awake” is all about getting some… and weed of course. “Put your hands together and close your eyes,” Snoop spits, “Smell the aroma, visualize.” Later, the MC goes extraterrestrial: “My planet’s Krypton, home of the freaks / come get your moon rocks, I am G.” There are truly “so many pros” on fifth track “So Many Pros,” where Snoop eats up Pharrell’s hella funky grove. Throw in the soulful pipes of Uncle Charlie and Rhea Dummett on the electrifying hook, and “So Many Pros” is another sensational joint – err song!
On “Peaches N Cream” featuring Charlie Wilson, Snoop unleashes his more salacious side, evidenced by the hook: “She ‘bout to go in / she likes that low end / damn her a$$ is so big / just keep it bumpin’ / Peaches N Cream.” Even with an increase in the innuendo and more rapping from Snoop, he still delivers with more class than his past work. On “Edibles,” another standout featuring T.I., Snoop constructs a superb metaphor encompassing marijuana and sex. Even with the subject matter being PG-13 in the least, T.I.’s guest verse is more explicit than Snoop Dogg’s lyrics.
“I Knew That” continues to find Snoop in soulful form, chilling to the aroma of blunts. No better to do so than with an attractive lady, right? He’s “riding on your wave girl,” and that ‘wave’ doesn’t sound like the ocean or even smoke. Use your dirty little mind, and you know what Snoop is after. He has a blast – as does the listener – on the penultimate “Run Away” featuring pal Gwen Stefani. It isn’t as accomplished as the crème de la crème (see the favorites), but infectious.
“I’m Ya Dogg” concludes Bush commandingly featuring Kendrick Lamar and Rick Ross. No track on Bush sounds more ‘Pharrellian’ than “I’m Ya Dogg” which has a more modern sound than the rest of the album. It’s arguable as to whether “I’m Ya Dogg” is as potent as opener “California Roll,” but the closer is undeniably scrumptious.
How good is Bush all said and done? Extremely good – no questions asked! Reincarnated was a questionable move for the West Coast rapper, but this blend of funk, soul, and West Coast hip-hop, coupled with the brilliance of Pharrell Williams, makes Bush one of the best albums of 2015. Relevant again – Snoop is definitely back in a good spot!
Favorites: “California Roll,” “This City,” “R U A Freak,” “Peaches N Cream,” “Edibles”