Release Date: Mar 29, 2011
Record label: Doggystyle Records
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Gangsta Rap, West Coast Rap, G-Funk
Snoop Dogg :: DoggumentaryCapitol/Priority RecordsAuthor: Steve 'Flash' JuonSnoop Dogg is more than a rapper at this point. He's a pop culture icon. He's a guest star on sitcoms and late night talk shows. He's a brand, a trademark, an identifiable product even to those who have never listened to his songs.
A lot of people hated on Malice N Wonderland—hell, I scored it fairly awfully upon release—but the summer it came out, I couldn’t help but fall for it eventually. See, for me what works with that album is that Snoop realized Blue Carpet Treatment was sort of a one-off success, and that if he was going to reign in his Ego Trippin’ impulses, he had to rethink everything. So he cut the shortest album of his career and made himself a guest on his own album, molding his verses and style to fit whatever artist he was collaborating with.
With his television shows and football coaching, Snoop Dogg doesn't seem all that interested in the music that made his business interests possible in the first place. The 39-year-old's 11th album employs a mind-boggling 25 producers and an equally dizzying array of guests, presumably so the Dogg can let everyone else get on with it. Much of this sprawling, under-edited, 79-minute, 21-track opus feels like a mixtape, conjuring up a hazy, blunt-soaked west coast feel without breaking a sweat.
When Snoop Dogg took the Doggystyle 2 title off his planned 2011 release, it was a heads-up to fans that this is not the worthy sequel to his landmark debut. Judging from the highlights, it could have been heading there at one time, but Doggystyle was filler-free and flowed while Doggumentary adheres to mixtape standards, dropping all its bangers into one big bowl along with the B-list material. No doubt, the Yazoo-sampling “Boom” with T-Pain sits on Snoop’s top shelf when it comes to pop, and if you crave that crooked West Coast style, "We Rest n Cali" rocks off-kilter, worships at the altar of Zapp, and sticks both regional hero Goldie Loc and P-Funk legend Bootsy on the track, just so all the elements are in place.
Last summer, Snoop Dogg headlined the backpack-centric Rock the Bells tour, performing his classic debut album, Doggystyle, in full every night and drawing rapturous reviews. This year, Snoop will make a few stops on Charlie Sheen's continuous-trainwreck Violent Torpedo of Truth tour, performing a song that he and Sheen have apparently recorded together. That duality is pretty much circa-2011 Snoop in a nutshell.
Snoop does cheesy [a]David Guetta[/a]-assisted euro-dance ([b]‘Wet’[/b])! Snoop does Mike Skinner-esque pop-ska ([b]‘Sumthin Like This Night’[/b])! Snoop does harmonica blues ([b]‘Superman’[/b], with Willie Nelson)! For the less adventurous, Snoop also does track about weed with Wiz Khalifa, track about the superficial aspects of fame with Kanye, and track called [b]‘I Don’t Need No Bitch’[/b]. All, of course, laden with his long-patented, laconic cartoon charm. Snoop’s 11th studio album is fine, but feels only as important to his true gift to the world – simply just being Snoop – as all of his tweets, film roles and TV appearances.
On DJ Khaled’s 2010 summer jam “All I Do Is Win,” Snoop Dogg claims in his guest verse, “I’ve been running this rap game since I was 20 years old.” It’s a curious claim, because Snoop’s remarkable longevity seems to stem from mastery of one flow: that lackadaisical, behind-the-beat drawl that sounds cool and rarely says anything. He is a brand, an icon, standing in generically to represent partying, weed smoking, and ‘pimping’ (you know, the kind that has nothing to do with prostitution) in the popular consciousness. He could (and you may think he does) just coast, pop up for an occasional Pepsi Max commercial or reality TV season if he’s ever short for cash, and call it a career.
Faced with the decision of making the promised Doggystyle II or a more traditional project, Snoop Dogg came to the proverbial fork in the road and went straight. Doggumentary is a concept album that allowed fans a multi-media glimpse at the Long Beach superstar’s creative process, and just how he has been able to churn out relevant albums for the 18 years. The campaign was complete with bachelor party songs to Royalty, Wiz Khalifa smoke-out sessions and a slew of endorsements, but in the end all of those activities may have trumped the actual album itself.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when Calvin Broadus lost his relevance: Some will have you believe that his limp releases under No Limit Records signaled the beginning of the end for the erstwhile G-funk frontiersman, while others maintain that it took three disastrous albums under the Geffen banner to hammer the final nail in his coffin. Doggumentary had originally been touted as a sequel to Snoop Dogg’s barnstorming 1993 debut, Doggystyle, perhaps in some sort of desperate attempt to curtail his growing insignificance, but the album only heavy-handedly panders to the rapper’s heyday. Thematically, Doggumentary offers recycled yarns on getting high and getting laid, peppered with hackneyed pseudo-gangster musings.
Album proper or not, there’s no denying this is greatly entertaining stuff. Garry Mulholland 2011 To enjoy the 11th Snoop Dogg album you have to do a little surrendering to the modern world, whether you like it or not. Firstly, business is business, and pop fans worldwide are more likely to pay for specific new tracks rather than whole albums. So, for the biggest corporate unit-shifters, making an album that sounds like an album is a pointless exercise.