Snoop Dogg – COOLAID
As he states on opening salvo, Legend, Snoop Dogg is a “Motherfucken legend.” In a career spanning more than two decades, Calvin Broadus has done it all. He’s sold over 35 million albums worldwide, had multiple film and television roles, had his own brand of cannabis products (Leafs By Snoop), and was this year inducted into the celebrity wing of the WWE’s Hall Of Fame.
Throughout his career he’s consistently put out an album every few years, although not always up to the standard we expect from the Californian icon. Between 2006 and 2013 Snoop released a collection of albums (Ego Trippin‘, Malice N Wonderland, Doggumentary, Reincarnated) that demonstrated a lack of focus from one of rap’s stalwarts. Thankfully last year’s Bush was a return to form, and the follow-up, COOLED, is a record that stamps Snoop Dogg’s legacy as one of hip-hop’s greats.
Bush was Snoop’s attempt at recreating the magic of his Pharrell collaboration, Drop It Like It’s Hot, but COOLAID is Snoop revisiting his West Coast roots. The album is imbedded in Californian sounds with splashes of R&B and funk reminiscent of 2004s R&G (Rhythm & Gangster): The Masterpiece. The G-funk era is brought back on tracks such as Ten Toes Down, the Wiz Khalifa collaboration Oh Na Na, and gang banging Affiliated. Elsewhere Snoops gets soulful on What If and Let The Beat Drop (Celebrate), drops gangster raps on Super Crip, samples Gary Newman’s Cars for the J Dilla produced My Carz, and teams with Timbaland on the bouncy Got Those.
Jeremih joins Snoop on the soulful bump and grind of Point Seen Money Gone, one of the album’s strongest collaborative tracks. Along with Jeremih, Wiz Kahlifa appears twice, E-40 jumps on the sleazy Double Tap and Swizz Beats’ slow return to the spotlight continues, with Alicia Keys better half showing up on three tracks, the best being the piano lead party number Light It Up.
At 20 tracks, COOLAID is a little long in the tooth, but the combination of great producers and guest verses, along with Snoop’s soothing and on fire flow, help make this one of his best releases in years.
Verdict: Snoop Dogg re-establishes himself as a relevant force in the hip-hop.
Metronomy – Summer 08
As our interview with Metronomy mastermind Joseph Mount discussed, times have changed for the English creative. Now married with two young children and living in France, it was always going to be interesting to see what the band would come up with for their fifth album, Summer 08. Like the title, it’s a record immersed in the sounds of Metronomy’s breakthrough year, doing its best to capture the excitement and pure bliss of their 2008 sophomore album Nights Out.
Opening with the energetic throwback, Back Together, it’s safe to say Mount and co have managed to convey a sense of nostalgia with this record. Summer 08 is a melding of 80s synths, slick bass lines, electro-pop melodies and Mount’s playful vocals. Mick Slow is a magical downtempo dose of electronica, Miami Logic drowns in heavy synths and Old School pairs 80s era hip-hop beats with a good amount of cowbell. The albums best tracks are the club ready Back Together and Robyn featuring near-perfect pop single Hang Me Out To Dry.
Verdict: Great, feel-good album that will leave old fans with feelings of nostalgia.
Curren$y – Stoned On Ocean
As incredible as it sounds, Stoned On Ocean is Curren$y’s seventh mixtape of 2016. The New Orleans rapper has a creative energy almost unmatched in hip-hop circles, and although many of these projects are less than 10 tracks, they are of the highest quality in terms of productions and lyrics, with Curren$y always striving to deliver the goods.
Stoned On Ocean doesn’t disappoint on any front. Cool & Dre handle the mixtapes production, supplying laid back beats with touches of funk and soul, while Curren$y bounces over the beats with his underrated flow, dropping rhymes mainly concerning drugs and women. The albums title-track has a downtempo electronic beat with Curren$y spitting, “Rollin’ up while we still smokin’ / high, everything in motion,” Anything sounds like an old soul number and Rhymes Like Weight features a flute instrumental and Curren$y echoing Ice Cube’s, “I push rhymes like weight,” hook from Pushin’ Weight.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Curren$y release without a guest verse from Wiz Khalifa. While he doesn’t float my boat, he and Curren$y always gel well together on wax, and on the exotic Speedboat, the two flow together seamlessly over the tribal production. Styles P also makes an appearance on Higher, rapping about his extravagant lifestyle.
Verdict: Curren$y getting the job done again.
Image: Snoop Dogg