Last year was the year of numerous rap releases and it was highlighted by Snoop Dogg’s release of his new album Bush. This is Snoop Dogg’s first album since 2011 – 2013’s Reincarnated was released by Snoop Lion, folks. This album is a huge improvement since both the last Dogg and Lion albums, largely thanks to executive producer Pharrell Williams. Pharrell helps the album by adding his signature sound, making the album upbeat and catchy. But Pharrell’s influence is almost too overpowering, as I often forget that I am listening to a Snoop Dogg album, not a sequel to Pharrell’s 2013 album GIRL with lots of Snoop Dogg features. Pharrell appears so much throughout the album that his name isn’t even credited in any of the song titles. But, hey, whatever works.
The album starts off very strongly with the smooth, laid-back “California Roll” which features Stevie Wonder and Pharrell. Wonder plays the harmonica and has some background vocals while Pharrell sings a wonderful hook. Although some may be under the impression that the song is about sushi after seeing the title, it actually just discusses life in Los Angeles. It’s a relaxing song made for the summer that really sets the tone for the rest of the album. This track is my favorite off of the entire project. Things pick up a bit on “This City” which is more upbeat but still discusses LA. “They built this city for you and me yeah” works as the song’s chorus, followed by Charlie Wilson crooning “Snoop.” It’s a catchy song, but not nearly as good as its predecessor.
“R U A Freak” follows, a funky track that opens with Snoop instructing to “write your number on the napkin right now.” Snoop sings on the entirety of the track with an uncredited female singing simultaneously. Nothing in particular stands out about this one, unlike the song that follows. “Awake” features Pharrell singing a catchy bridge and hook. The whole song is very funky and enjoyable. Snoop’s mellow raps on the song are cool, but he’s outshined by Pharrell who comes in quickly after and picks things up, stealing the show. “Awake” is one of the catchiest song on the album and one of my favorites.
Snoop’s singing continues on “So Many Pros” which features Charlie Wilson. It’s another upbeat and funk-infused song. My favorite part of the song is easily the bridge before the chorus on which Snoop and Wilson sing “for you own / for your information baby / I’m that winner / you need to go and ask somebody.” The following track also features Charlie Wilson and was the lead single for the album – “Peaches and Cream.” Another favorite of mine, “Peaches” is tuneful summer anthem. Wilson and Snoop sing a great hook and Snoop shines on his second verse as he raps “I came to cut right now / big Snoop Dogg and I came to get down / yes, I’m internationally known / Libra lovin’ make you moan and groan.”
“Edibles” is a song dedicated to marijuana-infused foods that features rapper T.I. It includes an awesome, head-bobbing hook that goes “And once it all dissolves (to the left) / And it mixes with the music (to the right) / And it makes you wanna do it (to the left) / In a way you never knew it (to the right).” T.I. is a cool addition to the track, but his verse is nothing special. All of T.I.’s guest verses are starting to sound the same to me. “I Knew That” is a sexual song about two people meeting who become interested in each other. Snoop explains how “you ain’t gon see me in this club next week / so tonight I’m gon be riding on your wave girl.” It’s a cool song, but one of the more forgettable tracks on the album.
“Run Away” follows and features singer Gwen Stefani. They switch from singing simultaneously to back-and-forth about how “the world is getting ablaze.” It prompts listeners to forget about the pains of life and to just enjoy it. Stefani is a nice addition on this enjoyable track. Some unnecessary features appear on the following and final song. The album ends with “I’m Ya Dogg” which features rappers Rick Ross and Kendrick Lamar. When I first saw this song on the album’s tracklist, I was excited because of the features. Sadly, it turned out to be one of my least favorites. Both the beat and hook are rather lackluster. Ross and Lamar do pretty well on the track, but their verses aren’t anything to talk about. I’m pretty disappointed with this track, especially as a closer to this album.
Overall, this is a great album that will be getting plenty of spins from me. Snoop Dogg and Pharrell teamed up to create Snoop’s best album in a while. Although it has its low points, Bush is a solid album that is very enjoyable and relaxing. All I could ask for was more songs like “California Roll” and less like “I’m Ya Dogg.” But I really shouldn’t complain – I’m very happy with this album. Be sure to give it a listen, you’ll be sure to find some nice jams.