In true “Snoop” fashion there are a massive 20 tracks to choose from on his latest studio album Coolaid. He has been very critical of current rap scene recently, arguing that nobody has individuality anymore. In the early days of gangster rap you only made it if you had character, charisma and a unique delivery; something that Snoop Dogg epitomises. Lets hope that he can teach the new doggs some old tricks with this release…
A surprisingly dark and aggressive start to the album, Legend is full of brags. It is a clear statement of confidence. The trap production is uncompromisingly minimal, its brain-dead bass lays the foundation for some expertly placed drums. Snoop himself sounds like a different guy, the slightly distorted tone and a rougher delivery bring out some darker themes. Straight out of the shadows into Ten Toes Down, which sounds like Venice Beach on a hot day. This is a jam that follows the formula behind a number of Snoop’s best hits; funky keyboards with some tasteful voice box appear to have inspired some retro verses to match. The production on Don’t Stop featuring Too Short has a combination of classic acid sounds and a fantastic vocal, unfortunately the other layers detract from it massively. Super Crip follows the current trend of simple synthetic hip-hop beats before dropping into some thumping boom bap, again the overall arrangement has a few too many elements but Snoop continues his strong form.
The next song, the album title track, shows him venting his frustrations with current rappers. He mentions the drugs making them sound the same, as well as people “biting” each others styles. The tongue in cheek chorus about selling Coolaid is a clear middle finger to the younger generations obsession with ‘lean’ / ‘drank’, topped off with some silly vocal effects over the chorus’ ad libs. It is a true work of art production wise, some Dr Dre style swagger full of soft piano and swinging shakers. The next notable moment comes in the form of a Jeremih collaboration, Point Seen Money Gone does not disappoint with uptempo verses and a perfect chorus. Almost no complaints until the last section comes in, too much auto-tune and some awful lyrics about sushi very nearly ruin one of the albums best tracks. From one big feature to another and the 70’s / 80’s cheese is back again, Wiz Khalifa starts things singing about rosé and champagne on Oh Na Na. The vocal performances from both artists don’t quite work however, a disappointing track other than the intro and outro. Two Or More is a much better example of him blending some funky disco vibes with some 80’s rapping, some hilarious ad libs and a chorus will certainly get stuck in peoples’ heads.
The rest of the album has some more sketchy moments, you can hear his credibility slipping on tracks like Light It Up, which features Swizz Beats. Not that Snoop has ever been afraid to make some very commercial tracks, in my opinion it is always a bit embarrassing to hear gangster rappers stoop to these lows. Let The Beat Drop however shows thats maybe third times a charm, yet another Swizz Beats collaboration finally being pulled off. Affiliated featuring Trick Trick and Feel About Snoop are both radio friendly but much stronger, proof that he does not need to water down his style. It is hard not to mention every track that follows, Side Piece is a brutally honest story about cheating; over the top of some glorious piano and live drum hits. The second Wiz Khalifa collaboration Kush Ups has easily the best beat of the album, some Middle Eastern strings are the backdrop for some hard trap; Wiz’s hook and second verse also sound decent but he is shadowed by Snoop again.
Double Tap featuring E-40 and Jazze Pha, and What If featuring Suga Free keep things light in between the heavier tracks. More of the same style that has dominated this album. However towards the end we also hear some influences from the Neptunes on Got Those and Kanye West on Revolution featuring October London. Even with its mistakes this is still one of his best releases for a while, proving versatility and longevity, staying relevant without losing what makes a great Snoop Dogg record.
Why not pop in and hear some of his summery g-funk numbers on one of our hi-fi separate systems at your local Richer Sounds today?