No rapper has aged better than Snoop Dogg, possibly because he never really changes. Even if he didn’t have more than two decades of hits behind him and this were his first studio album, not his 13th, any casual fan would know exactly who they were listening to within seconds of pressing play. That bouncy flow, singsong delivery, and sly sense of humor—dating back to his first major pop culture moment, 1992’s “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang”—are unmistakable. The man born Calvin Broadus Jr. brings something great to every song—it’s just a question of how his collaborators respond to his ineffable Snoopness.
Enter Pharrell, who produced all 10 tracks on Bush, and provides the record with a breezy post–“Blurred Lines” combination of warm bass pops, disco drums, and boudoir-ready synths. With his roller-skate funk doing the heavy lifting, Snoop is free to score a girl’s number in the club (“I Knew That”), spin through the streets of Los Angeles (“California Roll”), and extol the virtues of getting super-duper stoned (pretty much every other track). He deftly absorbs Pharrell’s energy, expanding his own cult of personality to the point that he eclipses almost everyone else along for the ride, including Stevie Wonder and Gwen Stefani.
The one exception is Kendrick Lamar, who drops in on the sweaty, claustrophobic closer “I’m Ya Dogg” to absolutely wreck a handful of bars. Snoop isn’t passing the L.A. hip-hop mantle off yet, though. He just knows that one of the secrets to staying relevant in rap is to choose your friends wisely—especially if they’re true revolutionaries, or at least have interesting taste in hats. B+
I’M YA DOGG A woozy burst of SoCal pimpology
SO MANY PROS An effervescent hands-in-the-air house-party jam