Snoop Dogg premieres his Doggumentary
- Apr 20, 2011
Does Snoop Dogg still rap? If you've been watching mainstream media for the last five years you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise. While the 39-year old rapper made his name lacing beats from superproducer Dr. Dre, in recent times the former gangsta has won America's heart as a TV entertainer. What with football coaching, motion pictures and festival appearances, the man born Calvin Broadus has become the fuzzy, loveable figure of gangsta rap.
According to Snoop himself however, the Dogg has never lost his appetite for the mic. 'Doggumentary' is the eleventh album from the West Coast legend and employs a dizzying number of guest appearances across 21 tracks. And when it comes to production, there's little different. One of the reasons his debut album 'Doggystyle' worked was because it sounded so cohesive, but those hoping for a Dre-Snoop reunion will be disappointed.
Recent Snoop albums have tended to resemble crazy sprawling mixtapes, and the Dogg employs 35 producers here to varying effect. The good news is that there's some kind of theme on this album. The memo to producers seems to have been a 21st century update to the G-Funk sound, so huge slapbass and handclap snares dominate the record. Sadly for Snoop it largely sounds ordinary, like a pastiche of the great man's signature style.
It's when he teams up with the latest production talent that things get really interesting. If you haven't heard of producer Lex Luger you will most likely have heard his apocalyptic-sounding fight music booming out of a car near you. This is the man responsible for Waka Flocka Flames 'Hard In The Paint' and Rick Ross 'B.M.F', two of the biggest street anthems of last summer. On 'Platinum' he slows things down to a low-riding bounce that suits Snoop perfectly as he weaves in and out of the beat, ably accompanied by fellow veteran R Kelly.
A rejuvenated Scott Storch also delivers a banger on 'Boom', using a Yazoo sample to provide a modern club sound that suits Snoop's more simplistic rhyming style. Meanwhile 'Wet' became an overnight Twitter sensation when it was revealed it was written for none other than Prince William's bachelor party. Here the Cataracts provide bizarre swirls over a sparse sub bass and military drums where Snoop's Auto-Tuned filth works perfectly. A few experiments don't quite work - 'Eyez Closed' features Kanye West and sounds like a rejected cut from his 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy', while 'Superman' features Willie Nelson in a country pastiche that shows just how far Snoop has come as a mainstream entertainer.
But if the retro sound is really your thing, then 'The Weed Is Mine' demonstrates that when Snoop's treacle vocals are married to the right G-funk beat, there is no one better at what he does. Joined by man of the moment (and fellow weed lover) Wiz Khalifa, the two compliment each other like Snoop's favourite gin and juice.
Does Doggumentary break new ground? Not really, but that's never been the point with Snoop. His flow is like a warm familiar jacket which slips on so easily that you barely notice it. But that's also why it's one of your favourites in the wardrobe. While it falls to his many collaborators on the album to provide the standout moments, Snoop proves here that he can still deliver the goods when it comes to rap.