Release Date: Dec 13, 2011
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Rap, Gangsta Rap, Hardcore Rap, Soundtracks, Stage & Screen, Midwest Rap, West Coast Rap
Wiz Khalifa owes a lot to Snoop's heavy-lidded flow, so consider this soundtrack a debt repaid. The pair work a middle ground between the elder's G-funk and the younger man's woozy pop rap, but where Wiz delivers green/baked metaphors with an arriviste arrogance, Snoop is all about the Buddha (and sometimes also the ho's): "No sticks, no seeds/ Just Al Green," he raps. It's a sweet message: All you need is blunts.
The soundtrack to their Cheech & Chong-like feature film, Mac and Devin Go to High School finds Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa in glorious stoner mode, offering plenty of blunt anthems and smokers delights. Production-wise, the album is split evenly between booming, G-Funk nostalgia (prime cut “I Get Lifted” features a slow, rolling, Warren G beat) and more contemporary, Wiz-friendly sounds (lead single “Young, Wild & Free” is polished, bright, sunshine material crafted by Bruno Mars and his crew, the Smeezingtons). Highly desirable names like Jake One, Drumma Boy, Exile, and Nottz fill the rest of the production credits, and while the material is light and redundant, anyone with a little hip-hop schooling should be prepared, and rightly assume, this is much more How High than Blackout! Snoop and Wiz offer a flashy, multi-generational alternative to Method and Red, and bouncing between their styles keeps this single-minded effort from being a bore.
Snoop Dogg’s career is quietly approaching its 20th anniversary and—as far as the mainstream is concerned—Wiz Khalifa is really just getting started, but the two men happen to be currently in a similar headspace. Having long proven that his cultural worth is measured in more than great, or at least popular, music, Snoop had spent the past three or four years settling into an increasingly playful, iconic role as a performer. This has led him to appearing alongside acts as divergent as Quincy Jones and Tech N9ne, pen Prince William’s bachelor party theme song “Wet”, sing a country song with Willie Nelson about medical marijuana and, more to that point, embrace his role as hip-hop’s most infamous pot smoker more than he ever has.
At this point in his career, it seems like Snoop Dogg will do almost any project pitched to him. Over the last few years, he has guested on songs by Katy Perry, Far East Movement, and Nickelodeon boy band Big Time Rush, appeared on the soap opera One Life to Live (three times, no less), written a song for a True Blood Character, and given a shout out to his “main man” Johnny Cash in the twang-inane “My Medicine”. That said, the postponed film Mac and Devin Go To High School seems right up his alley, a buddy comedy where Snoop and Wiz Khalifa spend time in college getting high in the grand tradition of How High.
SNOOP DOGG & WIZ KHALIFA “Mac & Devin Go to High School: Music From and Inspired by the Movie” (Doggy Style/Rostrum/Atlantic) Like any rebel child, hip-hop has had its drug phases: there was the weed haze of the early 1990s, various periods of cocaine obsession, the slow roll of syrup in the early 2000s, even a brief embrace with Ecstasy. In the last couple of years, though, hip-hop has come back around to a full-fledged weed high, thanks to the rise of Currensy and Wiz Khalifa. That Wiz Khalifa would find kinship with Snoop Dogg, a survivor of marijuana’s first breakthrough, is no surprise.
The Wiz -Snoop comparisons have been making their way around canibus circles for a few years now. Since the Taylor Gang chief broke into the mainstream in 2010, fans have seen a connection: their long, gangly frames, happy go lucky demeanors, and, of course, a shared love for the sticky icky. It’s one thing to be classified as a “weed rapper,” but it’s another to become the marijuana icon that Snoop has.