Snoop Dogg is back to provide us with Bush. An album which I think Snoop decided was the album that hip hop needs, but not necessarily the album that hip hop wants. Before we start, Charlie Wilson is on this album. That’s neither good nor bad, it just is. It’s also the last time I’ll mention him, take that for what it’s worth.
The album opens with “California Roll”, a track with something that’s becoming more frequent as of late: Snoop Dogg singing. In earnest. It’s also foreshadowing of events to come. Snoop croons for 4 minutes about his girl du jour, who aside from being attractive can roll with the best of them. There’s also Pharrell singing, if you care. The track is elevated from being just above average to pretty damned good a by ridiculously funky harmonica riff played by the great Stevie Wonder.
Kendrick Lamar and Rick Ross show up “I’m Yo Dogg” and all three rappers have done better. The track isn’t bad, but it’s not good. Hearing Kendrick refer to a woman’s vagina as a trophy in which he was going to “come in first place” was funny, but nearly everything else about the track is forgettable. Rick Ross could have at least given a shout out to pears, actually he might have I just don’t remember.
It is 2015, Snoop has been rapping in the mainstream for nearly 25 years, so if you don’t know that this album is going to be about weed and women then you haven’t been paying attention. Winners on Bush include “California Roll”, “This City,” “R U A Freak” and “Peaches N Cream.” Losers include “Edibles,” “Awake,” and “So Many Pros.”
The rest is filler, but not in a bad way. There are no tracks that aren’t at least entertaining. Pharrell (and I assume Chad Hugo’s ghost) have created an album that sounds good musically. You can nod or bob your head to every track.
Songs like “I Knew That” and “Run Away” are perfect background music at a get together with friends where you want to listen to something “funky” but not threatening. It’s Snoop’s new persona: Everyone’s zany, funky, un-intimidating Uncle Snoopy. It’s partly why he’s an icon.
Mr. Wonder’s presence on this album is a testament to how iconic Snoop has become. It’s also a testament to his age. Snoop Dogg is old. He’s old enough to be everyone’s father, or uncle. And that’s OK. This album is not for the 18 year olds. It’s literally for the people who grew up with Snoop and went to a concert back when he still intimidated white people. Sometimes, you want to kill people and sell drugs in your hip hop, and sometimes you want to relax and smoke a lot of weed. That’s what this album is perfect for. It’s not a perfect album, but it’s a perfect segue to a new brand of hip hop: Easy Listening Hip Hop