California rapper, Snoop Dogg’s 13th album is a mellow and confident take on hip-hop infused R&B.
Snoop (née Calvin Broadus) teams up with producer Pharrell Williams to bring on some top flight collaborations (Stevie Wonder and Gwen Stefani). But Williams and Snoop have enough funky chemistry to make Bush seem like a match-up rather than a solo Dogg album.
Bush is less herb-a-centric than many of Snoop Dogg’s past releases. This could be due to the influence of Williams and co-producer Chad Hugo, who bring an extra texture of smooth funk to Snoop’s songs and rhymes. Williams’ stamp is all over the album and it makes Snoop’s presence blend into the tracks subtly. But Snoop’s wry voice has more character and presence than technique, so he’ll always be heard. Plus he’s not shy about sharing the stage.
His song with Stevie Wonder on harmonica (California Roll) is a slow motion party track that indulges Snoop’s glam funk fetish. Peaches N Cream follows this groove with ultra smooth hooks, boosting Snoop’s easy going performance – a warm R&B/pop track with too much charm to ignore.
Humour is ever present on Bush with the semi-serious delivery that’s a trademark of Snoop’s arsenal. The cartoonish delivery and slick songs meet in the middle and the result is dance floor “git”-down or happy-faced, inner-city cruising – take your pick.
There are no ego-driven appearances on Bush and the music isn’t edgy, but the creativity and relentless pulse make it a short blast of Snoop- style funk rap.
– Music columnist Dean Gordon-Smith reviews new releases for The Morning Star every Friday.