This week’s Sonic Breakdown covers Snoop Dogg’s new album, Bush. I am extremely familiar with almost all of his diverse and robust albums, from Doggystyle and Tha Doggfather to Tha Last Meal and Tha Blue Carpet Treatment to Reincarnated. I will follow the same format, giving a breakdown of each track followed by a conclusion on the album as a whole.
The album begins with several rap claps leading into a very earthy sound that is accented with Stevie Wonder lending his talent to background vocals and playing the harmonica. The harmonica lends an aura of nostalgia mixed with the deliberate flow of Snoop Dogg providing insight to a specific perspective of Los Angeles. This is a song that my brother, a huge Stevie Wonder fan, might gravitate toward. My brother would fight with me to let him play Songs In The Key of Life or Talking Book, two classic albums by Stevie Wonder, when we had to clean the house on Sundays when we were children. The song highlights unique qualities of LA from medical marijuana to the gilt of Hollywood and celebrity perks. Pharrell Williams sings the hook that compliments and extenuates the song’s chill vibe even more.
A very 70s Six Million Dollar Man sound is heard first followed by an old-school DJ introducing the song that develops into a carefree summer air. The references to neon lights continue the jovial feeling while Snoop is giving us a tour of LA. The beat switches as if the scenery changes from fun, breezy daytime to lively night life.
“R U A Freak”
The production and lyrics are similar to another Snoop Dogg song. “Sexual Eruption.” A Prince and Morris Day vibe comes to mind for this song due to the sexual tone and smoothness. The humorous line of “DTF,” infamously made famous by the show Jersey Shore, is switched up here by Snoop saying, “She is DTF ’cause she is down to feel.” Charlie Wilson adds to the funk and the message of convincing a woman to release herself to dance freely, perpetuating the theme of the album of being at ease.
The funky quality spills over from the last track, this time with more of a Rick James flare and some George Clinton thrown in as well. The splash of Pharrell caressing a section of the chorus combined with multiple layers with a very light and airy quality in Snoop singing “when you’re awake” converge together for a California funky uplifting atmosphere. Charlie Wilson pulls the soul of Rick James in how much his voice reminds me of him. The bass line draws you in, then the guitar balances the production of the song’s multiple yet simplistic layers.
“So Many Pros”
This song instantly reminded me of Tony! Toni! Toné! or maybe Lucy Pearl. Charlie Wilson is featured here again, in his more familiar tone then the previous song, adding to the soul that grounds the song. Snoop’s lyrics discuss the benefits of being at the level he has elevated to due to his talent and hard work. His tone fits the production nicely, not taking away but blending smoothly, reminiscent of Bootsy Collins.
The essence of Bootsy Collins is extended to this track and expanded even more. The imagery of George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, and Snoop Dogg in the studio listening to some Rick James gave birth to this track. Snoop is describing a woman’s physical attributes and wanting to explore them in a plethora of ways.
This track has a more R & G (Rhythm & Gansta): The Masterpiece sound to it. Snoop’s first verse deals with the process of eating an edible, which is a form of marijuana that can be ingested instead of combusted or burned. T.I. is featured on the song with a verse that doesn’t necessarily fit the theme, but he sonically matches the beat. He discusses things from jewelry to cars, not digestible weed as the title of the song suggests.
“I Knew That”
A very upbeat, fast tempo track. The scene that is set here is Snoop noticing a pretty woman checking him out and knowing what will happen next. This is reminiscent of another Pharrell song that he collaborated on with Draft Punk, “Get Lucky,” only this time with a hint of pimp swagger emanating from Snoop Dogg.
The fact that this is a Pharrell production is easily identifiable on this track. He really understands how to feature Gwen Stefani and Snoop Dogg on his production to elevate the sonic properties. Lyrically, it is brief but emotes the feeling of wanting to take someone away with you from a desolate situation and that negative situations can be specific to an individual or broad, like worldly issues.
“I’m Ya Dogg”
Carrying the running theme into a more sexual nature of climaxing is used to finish the album. Charlie Wilson, Rick Ross, and Kendrick Lamar are featured on this song. Snoop flows over the track as if he is singing sweet nothings in a beautiful woman’s ear. The production has the elegance associated with a Maybach music production as Rick Ross has the first featured verse. Both Ross and Lamar have nice verses that finish the album in a sensual, sophisticated tone. Kendrick has the last verse, which can be seen as symbolic since Snoop says he passes the torch to him.
Pharrell had a major role in production on this album, which is a business marriage with Snoop Dogg that has been successful before and has done it again. Charlie Wilson is all over this album, as the late Nate Dogg would be on a Warren G album, providing another layer that the lyricist cannot. Both singers are diverse in vocal tones and ranges that can change the complexion of a song. Snoop himself is extremely diverse as well, and that allows for the span his career has lasted while still creating new and interesting albums. Sonically, the album has a feel-good funky tone with diversity the production and artist are confident enough to explore. They explore and execute through beat choice, flow patterns, and styles. Bush‘s lightness in feeling and somewhat lack of depth, which isn’t a bad thing, give the album a sense of brevity. Sometimes it is okay to put down War and Peace and read some Don Quijote de La Mancha. This is a good album that would sound perfect cruising on a nice summer day or in a laid-back environment.
Next week’s Breakdown will cover Asap Rocky’s At. Long. Last. ASAP.
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