Bush Album Review
Doggystyle/I Am Other/Columbia Records
Released May 12, 2015
Genre: Pop Rap, Funk, Soul, Fo-Shizzle
I bet it’s nice to have such an important legacy as an artist that you don’t have to worry about your craft for the rest of your life. I bet it’s even more satisfying if you have this kind of legacy but still drop the occasional hot single that would be hot even if you weren’t an established West Coast rapper by the name of Snoop Dogg. The thing that makes Bush appealing is what makes many Snoop Dogg projects appealing: how laid-back and unworried Mr. Dogg is. However, that laid-back attitude turns into lackadaisical for a considerable part of Bush. There’s fantastic production and catchy hooks galore, but don’t look for a single substantial verse.
Speaking of fantastic production, Pharrell’s work behind the boards is another thing that makes Bush hit-or-miss. Snoop wants to sing A LOT on this album, but singing isn’t his forte; Pharrell probably knows this and mixes Snoop’s singing parts to be equally as loud as the backup vocals. The instrumentation for almost every single song is so fun and attention-grabbing that it makes it harder to notice Snoop’s contributions to each track. This makes Bush feel more like a Pharrell project that features Snoop instead of the other way around.
Even though Snoop can be hard to hear for most of the track list, it’s not a huge deal unless you want 40 minutes of nothing but songs about love, weed and a love for weed. Yes, it’s topically focused, which is admirable, but there are no change-ups, no quirks, no surprises. Snoop dangerously straddles the line between consistency and monotony, save a few funny lines. On the song “California Roll” that kicks off this album, he says “Rodeo with a winner, Rodeo loud,” a nice break from the numerous lines that heavily rely on words like “aroma,” “love” and “rolling.” It’s nice that he’s “feelin’ it,” and maintaining a relaxed attitude for all of Bush, but it doesn’t translate well through the speakers. He’s having too much fun to care about crafting hard-hitting lines (don’t expect anything like “Vato”). Snoop does well at crafting catchy choruses with Pharrell, however, especially on “Peaches N Cream” and “R U A Freak,” making for good Top-40-ready background music.
Even though the Dogg works well with Pharrell on choruses, the features on Bush are a big nothing. Gwen Stefani offers a very vanilla verse, delivered almost apathetically on “Run Away.” T.I. just raps about partying in a superficial way on “Edibles,” Rick Ross raps about his lavish dopeboy lifestyle and Kendrick has an okay stab on “I’m Ya Dogg,” but none of it is memorable.
Bush is nothing offensive, but that’s why it won’t stick. It’s acceptable for choruses and melodies, but don’t anticipate much anything else.
FAV TRACKS: R U A Freak, This City
LEAST FAV TRACKS: I Knew That, Run Away, Edibles