snoopnevaleft_LEAD

Snoop Dogg is as celebrated an artist as they come, everyone from Master P and Martha Stewart to Tupac has extended their hand wanting a piece of the action. He’s a Golden God to some folks, and the accolades he’s racked up over the past 25 years are well deserved; a lock for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But all that praise and branding has done little for his last several albums, including his latest full-length Neva Left.

As the title suggests, Snoop is making a stand, letting the world know that the O.G. is still in town. Long gone, however, is the hungriness that years ago made a young dog bark (and bite) with such ferocity. A vast majority of the album is him reasserting himself, which is stating the obvious. He’s a legend and has the creative leeway to have tried something more daring. Instead he delivers yet another half-developed effort with no discerning style, the opposite of what we’ve come to expect.

Neva Left

Rehashing The Charmels sample is a bold move, one of the most recognizable loops in hip-hop. The moment it hits a feeling of nostalgia sweeps over the senses, but as soon as the novelty wears off it’s clear that fans deserve better. He’s reestablishing his roots, letting the world know that Uncle Snoop can still hustle. But it’s a story he’s already told before. Satisfactory but not great: [LISTEN]

Neva Left

Moment I Feared

The bootylicious beat creates a slow and steady bounce. It paves the way for Rick Rock whose youthful energy adds a quirky vibrance to the equation. With Uncle Snoop as his guide, he has a wealth of knowledge at his disposal. Snoop doesn’t stay too long, only a quick rock ’em, sock ’em verse to let his fans know that he’s still here. Short, sweet, and to the point but a little lackadaisical: [LISTEN]

Moment I Feared

Bacc in Da Dayz

Going back to a time when he used to beat people up for their shoes and socks. It’s hard to imagine him doing something that crass, but his pedigree is as real as it gets. The hook is a bit tongue-and-cheek, but about what you’d expect from an old hound with a 1,000 stories to tell. The beat hits like Doggystyle, so he’s as comfortable as a Hindu cow. Sipping cognac, and getting lit: [LISTEN]

Bacc in Da Dayz

Promise You This

Not so much a rap as it is an old O.G. speaking his mind, telling it like it is with a cold beer in one hand and a skunky joint in another. He’s the Iceberg Slim of rap, and should explore more spoken word poetry. With a quarter-century of work under his belt, he’s helped countless individuals come up or in some cases get out of jail. Still, disillusioned fools will claim that Snoop is a fraud: [LISTEN]

Promise You This

Trash Bags

Sounding old and dated, Snoop tries his hand at the trap game. It’s not entirely his fault for stumbling because his style of rap demands more than just simple throwaway lines. Valiantly, he still makes an attempt, but the rudimentary lyricism comes across as awkward and vain. Roll calling strippers sounds like cake, but his delivery is off. Uncomfortable all the way through: [LISTEN]

Trash Bags

Swivel

Snoop gets his Any Given Sunday on and breaks down his game plan for world domination. As a football fiend he sounds at ease with the references, breaking tackles and making the opposition look silly. He could have adopted the smash mouth style, but at his age he’s looking to be more tactful. This deep into the game, he’s able to see the whole field, knowing schemes before they even unfold: [LISTEN]

Swivel

Go On

For Uncle Snoop life is a giant block of hash waiting to be smoked. He’s enjoying every moment, but all that good eating has slowed him down. The sound is complacent, content with a half-developed style; a Neptune-like joint with no personality of its own. It’s a vision he should have flushed out with Dam-Funk, and to make this his comeback is a slow start that the vet could have avoided: [LISTEN]

Go On

Big Mouth

Calling out all the wide mouth clowns who somehow feel that they can tell Snoop what he should or should not be doing with his money. It’s a standard complaint for celebrities, a ghastly byproduct of fame and fortune. The rage, however, doesn’t translate well and he’s left sounding bitter and jaded. He’s desperately reaching for inspiration, letting his critics creep into his art: [LISTEN]

Big Mouth

Toss It

Old man in the club, looking for his next conquest. The little bitties are flocking to him like butterflies. It’s a strange way to pick up a celebrity, and by the way he’s describing it a trap worth avoiding. Undeterred and slightly intrigued he plays the game, detailing the rules to kicking it with Snoop. In truth the whole scene is seedy, and unless he wants a pending case he should steer clear: [LISTEN]

Toss It

420 (Blaze Up)

At this point in his career rapping about weed is where he sounds most comfortable. The smoked out beat puts him in a moody state, and he breaks down in fine detail the healing properties of his favorite past time. Getting blunted is his way of going back to square one, to check in with himself and make sure all the gears are turning properly. Arguably the most popular stoner of all time: [LISTEN]

420 Blaze Up

Lavender (Nightfall Remix)

Dark and menacing, Snoop reaches back and brings his nastiest bite. The venom is still there, but the difference is that he’s not that young, hungry rapper anymore. Instead he’s a glorious fading star looking to get a little more shine before the final curtain falls. He’s being dead serious, and showing no mercy. But the Homie the Clown reference shows that his humor is still intact: [LISTEN]

Lavender

Let Us Begin

KRS-One steps in and steers the narrative in a completely different direction. Being the affable host that he is, Snoop rolls with the conversation offering his two cents on street violence. Some would think it contradictory, but people often forget that above all Snoop’s an artist. He walks both sides, and is trying to make things right. The first step is to ask the right questions: [LISTEN]

Let Us Begin

Mount Kushmore

A blast from the not too distant past featuring some of raps biggest, most celebrated stoners. The beat is ’97 g-funk, and the vets sound perfectly at home. Truth is that Snoop should have handled this one himself, he still has the chops and moxie to make any joint smolder. But with so many heads involved no one in particular gets to shine, about the same entertainment value as an old soul review: [LISTEN]

Mount Kushmore

Vapors (DJ Battlecat Remix)

Snoop finally clears the air and explains what the vapors is. The catch is that it’s still an abstract, and that everyone has their own definition. The foundation however is clear; it’s a moxie, an air about a person that is immediately infectious. Explaining it in fine detail shows just how long Snoop’s been around, dropping knowledge on squares to bring them up to speed: [LISTEN]

Vapors

Still Here

A strange, reggae/Motown-infused beat introduces the main idea of the album. Snoop has never left, hovering above hip-hop like an elder statesman. A whole generation of rappers have benefited from his wisdom, some have simply bit his style and made a fortune out of it. The point is is that he’s transcended, and built an untouchable legacy just by being himself. A legend who commands respect: [LISTEN]

Still Here

Love Around the World

Closing out the album by issuing a heartfelt thank you. It’s a well-deserved goodbye, but one that came hastily. The ideas are rushed and we’ve heard him go down this route before. The smooth beat doesn’t add a whole lot of flavor, but it does make Snoop feel relaxed and comfortable. In that state it’s all love, but not much in the way of lyrical ingenuity: [LISTEN]

Love Around the World