Snoop Dogg & Pharrell Williams collaborate for a funky new LP
Seriously, is there a more versatile rap star than Snoop Dogg? Name another rapper who has done full albums of reggae, funk and rap over the last 5 years alone. Or an MC who’s released music on Death Row, No Limit, Star Trak, Mad Decent, and Stones Throw. Or one who’s released albums with Wiz Khalifa, toured with Korn, and acted alongside Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
You can use the comment section to prove us wrong, but our bets are on Snoop Dogg being not just one of the most versatile, but also one of the most prolific MCs of all time. Since 1993, Snoop has released 13 solo LPs. Match that with his collaborative efforts, acting, and entrepreneurial ventures, he’s one of the busiest men in showbiz. Bush fits right in with the renaissance man’s career. The California-bred MC is a known funk fan, and has no shortage of releases that sample George Clinton, feature Bootsy Collins, or were produced by Dâm-Funk.
Since Snoop and Pharrell worked so beautifully in the past, it only makes sense that they’d drop more music at some point. They got together shortly after Pharrell’s stint with Daft Punk, where he worked on a couple tracks for their 2013 Random Access Memories album. His efforts won him five Grammy’s, and obviously taught him a great deal as well.
Pharrell is clearly channeling what he learned with the robots on Bush. The album is full of that Nile Rodgers style that made RAM so infectious. It’s upbeat, melodic, bass-driven, and, for lack of a better word, funky. Pharrell even enlisted his fellow Neptunes partner Chad Hugo on most of the tracks. Stevie Wonder, James Fauntleroy, Charlie Wilson, T.I., Gwen Stefani, Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, and George Clinton, also helped with features and/or writing, rounding it out to be one of the most star-studded albums of the year. Snoop’s tenure in showbiz has clearly given him plenty of homies.
With a little help from his friends, Snoop is able to give certain songs that special push. He’s capable of carrying the sun-drenched, California vibe by himself, like he proves on “I Knew That,” but beginning the album with Stevie’s harmonica is an undeniably feel-good way to start an LP. Bush maintains the bouncey, summer flavor right up until the album’s finale, where Kendrick and Rick Ross trade solid verses. It’s only fitting that Uncle Snoop would let the torch-bearer, Kendrick Lamar, have the last word on the album:
I like it... make me realize my vices
Enticin', flower bombin' all on your privates
Private... meetin' inside your bedroom
Head in that Maybach boomin', thank God for leg room
It's a trophy in that pussy, I'mma come in first place
I'mma come in first place, come in, come in first place
I'm your D-O-double-G and I need more Pedigree
What it D-O? Puppy chow, I've been grown and so off the leash”
Snoop is singing a bunch on the record, which is different, but enjoyable. It would have been nice to hear him channel more of his 7 Days of Funk / Doggumentary style of rapping, but it takes the backseat to his crooning. Much like his forte into reggae, it isn’t groundbreaking vocals that’s making the music great, but rather that Snoop Dogg vibe. It's still good times, pretty woman and fire kush with Bush.
While most of the album centers around funk, most of the album has a definite disco sound as well. “This City,” “R U A Freak,” and “Awake” is a back-to-back-to-back trio of upbeat, sing-along types. The album is perfect for a summer dance party, and something tells me we’ll be hearing these tracks pop up on beaches and rooftops for the next few months.
If you’re looking for Snoop Dogg’s best rap, you should already own Doggystyle. You won’t find it in Bush, but you shouldn’t really expect to either. There’s practically nobody from Snoop’s class still releasing music, let alone regularly and experimentally. Not only does his last five years of work continue the legacy of one of rap’s greats, but it truly positions Snoop Dogg as a prolific artist, capable of versatile output like no other.