As I’m cruisin’ through the streets of L.A. listening to the familiar low-key flow of a rapper over bangin’ west coast melodies, I can’t help but think I’ve time traveled back to the early 1990’s and the era of Death Row Records.
Sonically, straight from 1993, the DoggFather is back with his signature style of classic gangsta rap with authenticity. Snoop Dogg's new album “Neva Left” has brought back his inner Death Row days with bangers that remind you of the “Gin and Juice” and “Murder Was the Case” era. On this album, there are 16 different tracks with rising synths, rhythmic snares, and funky basses, making up the classic West Coast sound. Snoop is back to his Long Beach crippin’ days, where he made himself into the icon that we know today.
Unlike 24 years ago, in present day, Snoop knows he is solidified. He knows he is a legend. He knows he made a wave into a genre of its own. And on the first track of the album, Neva Left, he raps from that perspective. Knowing he's one of Godfathers of gangster rap and without him, there would be a giant missing link between past and present hip hop.
"Unlike 24 years ago, in present day, Snoop knows he is solidified. He knows he is a legend. He knows he made a wave into a genre of its own"
The second song, "Moment I Feared" drops and immediately can be identified as a classic West Coast sound. The rolling bass slapping over keys, shakers, and bells with Rick Rock repeating "It's the moment I feared." Throughout the song, the featured, Rick Rock and Snoop pointing out the flaws they are seeing and have feared, or as they say the "sucka shit!" From people faking lifestyles, or the culture vultures, to people snitchin' and not being loyal, it sounds as though Snoop had seen it all and it's been his fear it would return.
While then next couple songs (Bacc in da Dayz and Promise You This) are authentic old school West Coast Snoop Dogg tracks, he switches up the vibe on the 5th track as he calls on K CAMP's help to make an anthem for the clubs called "Trash Bags". This feels like a song that DJs will be blasting across the clubs of America, especially if you just so happen to be sitting down with a few crisp singles in an Atlanta strip club. As the familiar voice of K CAMP comes in on the hook and his orders to "count up cash and put it into trash bags" echo, I can't help but bob my head. And then as soon as Snoop starts rappin, it is easy to tell he is a vet when it comes to the clubs. (At one point, I couldn't help but think of the song Mambo #5 the way he starts name dropping different dancer names) "Trash Bags" is one of my personal favorites on the album and is a must play at your summer parties.
"Swivel", "Go On", "Big Mouth", and "Toss It" are all next after Trash Bags. Out of those 4, "Go On" is the one that presents a different feel. Listening to October London sing the harmonious hook, it gave me the feeling of a Pharrell inspired sound. This is another song perfect for the summer! "Swivel", "Big Mouth", and "Toss It" all have a old school vibe that will please most hip hop fans.
420 (Blaze Up). Would it even be a Snoop Dogg album if there wasn't at least one classic song to blaze one up too? Snoop recruits his stoner bros, Wiz Khalifa and Devin the Dude to lay their vocals over the track with him, making it a song complete for any 420 friendly person. (In fact, I may or may not have lit a Backwood listening to the track for the 4th time on this review). Two of my favorite lines from the song are Snoop rejoicing the movement to legalize saying, "Leave it to beaver, America gon' legalize but I ain't believe her til she finally did it" and then when Wiz confesses, "Even get it on the plane, TSA don't even notice" showing his commitment to staying with some. With a beat that's perfect for a cruise with the crew, a hook sung with the classic talk box instrument, and the classic flows of Devin Wiz and Snoop, this is a perfect track for anyone trying to vibe out.
"Lavender", "Let Us Begin", "Mount Kushmore", "Vapors" all follow 420 (Blaze Up). They are all solid tracks with a few familiar names including: Redman, Method Man, and KRS-ONE. Overall, I dig these tracks, and they fit with the flow of the album.
"Still Here" opens with a young L.A. legend, Kendrick Lamar paying homage to the Doggfather. Snoop's flow over this funky reggae beat seems playful but if you listen to his lyrics he is expressing the trials and tribulations of becoming and maintaining prosperity in the music game. Over the hook Snoop bellows "When your times is being rough and no one want to be near you/You know that I'll be there, I'll be right there/And when you're luck is so bad and no one really wants to hear you/Just turn me on, turn me out and let me play", reminding us regardless how we feel we can put on his music to help any mood. Snoop taps back into his inner Snoop Lion for this one, and I'm not complaining one bit.
Finally, "Love Around the World" wraps up the album. The beat gives outro vibes right off the bat. It gave me the feeling of crusin' as the sunset fades and the dark begins to set in. A good end to the album.
And just like in 1993, in the year 2017, it is still a dog eat dog world and Snoop knows he is still a top dog. The blue flag, LBC reppin' rapper has provided us with another classic album.