Streaming Consciously: The Wudder Drops Its Grade On Snoop Dogg's New 'Coolaid'
A lot has changed in the world of hip-hop (let alone the world at large) in the 25 years since a tall, skinny, shy, silky-voiced, 19-year-old Snoop Doggy Dogg was introduced to us slinking thru the ‘Deep Cover’ video, rapping alongside his childhood homie Warren G’s big brother (legendary NWA producer/rapper) Dr. Dre.
So let’s immediately keep the myriad of changes out of this conversation to focus on what has managed to stay the same:
Snoop still has *that voice*.
Snoop is still a *supa-dupa-star*.
Snoop is a living legend (which is what you'll hear him barking over a Future-esque trap track to lead off this album) and remains one of his generation's best live on stage
Snoop remains somehow by most ways it could be measured still "relevant".
Most importantly, Snoop still remains *here*.
And if you were even a casual fan of Snoop back in the early 90’s, when he first rolled out from his Rolling 20’s neighborhood in East Side Long Beach of Los Angeles County in Southern California to be unfurled upon the world?
Then you are happy just to hear any one of those statements much less all of them.
Or as he said some fifteen years ago during his underrated Suge Knight character-assassination-record ‘Pimp Slapped’ diss record…“it’s all to the good again, you can catch the Doggy D-O-Double-G in your hood again”.
And so whether you’re Martha Stewart or Marvin Harrison, Snoop is still that dude that you would want to hang with whenever you get the opportunity.
But none of that has necessarily anything to do with this actual record that we’re reviewing here.
And is this particular album that he just dropped (amazingly in a ‘time is a thief’ kinda way, his 21st without including his work on Dr. Dre’s albums) worth your time?
Well……..that depends on how much you love Snoop.
Because this record may test that love just a little bit.
For starters, it’s way too long……we’re talking 21 tracks with less than half of that really ‘essential’ even in the context of this album.
Nothing on the pre-downloading-era/unjustifiably-epic/77-minute-length is actually any type of embarrassing level of misfire.
Snoop despite his cultivated image of happy-go-lucky-herbalist-gangsta is a musical encyclopedia on the low who has generally displayed good instincts for which elements he wears well which is perhaps part of the secret to a sustained level of success longer than just about any major MC you can name.
But so few of the tracks here are what you’d consider ‘top-shelf’ material from our boy Snoop.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s moments here.
There’s also no jarring moments on a production or lip-professing level that will give you that ugh-icky-icky-ooh-wee-what-did-he-do-there feeling like the first time you heard ‘The Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told’ on No Limit or even the crushingly disappointing follow-up to his classic Dre-helmed ‘Doggystyle’ debut with Death Row Records but without D-R-E.
However, this is clearly a bloated time-marker type album in the bottom half of Snoop’s catalog, bordering on bottom 25% to 30% percentile of his catalog.
But I don’t know if I told y’all, I love Snoop.
Am I a little disappointed that he didn’t build on the (not by coincidence) actual potentially-better-than-any-album-since-Doggystyle, the Pharrel-helmed/Charlie-Wilson-assisted/Stevie-Wonder-cameo-ing/Snoop-crooning ‘Bush’ album that dropped just before it (a Top 5 Album of 2015 according to Something In The Wudder)?
Sure, I guess.
Is this album, if not as streamlined as ‘Bush’, anywhere near as interesting as Snoop’s spotty-but-still-better-than-you’d-think-it’d-be side project efforts like his Snoop Lion reggae album/documentary ‘Reincarnated’ (with Major Lazer) or his ‘7 Days Of Funk’ (with Dam-Funk) were just before that?
Do I wish that we heard one of those Snoop “still a great single even if it was on an uneven album” hits that you heard on ‘Malice In Wonderland’ (with the Rob-Base-flip “I Wanna Rock”) or ‘Ego Tripping’ ("Sensual Seduction/Sexual Eruption") or ‘R&G: Rhythm & Gangsta’ (“Drop It Like It’s Hot”) before track eight with Wiz Khalifa on “Oh Na Na”? Oh, Nah. Frustratingly that song is one of the shortest cuts on the album. While also finding Wiz & Snoop gamely crooning out what would have been a perfect hook for the late great Nate Dogg’s very particular genius.
Or maybe regardless of single, was instead simply an unheralded late-career-strong-to-borderline-very-strong Snoop album like ‘Paid The Cost To Be The Boss’, ‘Blue Carpet Treatment’ or the first Eastsidaz album was?
"Oh Fa Sho!"©Snoop on “Still D.R.E.” off ‘Chronic 2001’.
But I’m also not worried that this is some kind of horrible “ah man, it’s over” harbinger of bad things to come that ‘Malpractice’ by Redman was in 2001 or ‘Prince of Darkness’ was for Big Daddy Kane in 1991.
This is a professionally produced and performed album by a Hall of Fame rapper at the two-and-a-half-decade mark of his career.
The production list reads like an early 2000's Beat-Making All-Star Squad: Just Blaze, Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, Jazze Pha, Rockwilder, J Dilla, Daz.
The guests rocking with Snoop on this one looks like a Who's Who of OG Golden State MC's: Too Short, E-40, Suga Free.
And all acquit themselves just fine.
But taking their lead from the Alpha Dogg of this project's pack, the vibe here is more victory lap then proving ground so each of Snoop's A-List Rap Superfriends acquit themselves accordingly.
In between cranking out music consistently for a couple decades Snoop has also of course diversified his portfolio into a variety of other interests: Founder/Commissioner of his self-created Snoop Dogg Youth Football League now the biggest youth football organization in California, hosting his own online 'GGN' talk show, touring the world, collaborating/cultivating/discovering new artists and citing his resume in his customary cocksure way on record.
If you like Snoop when he sticks to the funk, which has always been his calling card but especially now as he’s settled into becoming ‘Uncle Snoop’?
Then you can let this album rock even if it doesn't groove quite like his last.
Or like 2011’s ‘Doggumentary’ it can be one of those overstuffed Snoop albums that a few months later you find that you’ve largely forgotten about.
Time will tell.
Either way, Snoop will continue to stand the test of time.
Wudder Weight: 3 outta 5