The album art for 7 Days of Funk is a comic drawing setting a seedy city scene around a theater where, presumably, the music from the album is being played. It was drawn by Lawrence Hubbard, aka Raw Dawg, of Real Deal Comix, an underground, black comic of ‘90s LA. If a Californian hip-hop album with a comic cover makes you think of Doggystyle (and its Joe Cool-created cover), you’re thinking along the right track. If the cover also reminds you in a vague way of P-Funk cover art, that’s just as relevant.
7 Days of Funk is the duo of Dâm-Funk and Snoopzilla…that is, Damon Riddick and Calvin Broadus. The former is a dominant funk figure from L.A., a producer known for parties, mixtapes and albums like 2009’s Toeachizown and 2010’s Adolescent Funk; music thoroughly touched by the disco and funk of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. The latter is, of course, hip-hop icon Snoop Doggy Dogg, known earlier this year as his reggae persona Snoop Lion and here as Snoopzilla, an apostle of Bootsy Collins.
Both are on at least their second albums of the year, with Snoop Lion releasing Reincarnated and Dâm-Funk just a couple months back getting Higher, through a collaboration with Steve Arrington of Ohio funksters Slave. That last album began with a track titled “I Be Goin’ Hard”; that seems to be the m.o. of Dâm-Funk, to give it all he’s got and keep rolling project to project. Snoopzilla has some of that same drive, though it manifests itself eclectically.
“To find the funk and reconnect the mothership” is the goal presented on the first track, which gives you an explicit sign of where their heads are at. In its P-Funk-isms, though, the album also clearly draws a line to G-Funk. When on the first track Snoopzilla, while describing working nose to grindstone (a sentiment similar to “I Be Goin’ Hard”, actually), he says he “come(s) through slow in a ‘64 / hanging out the window”, it’s hard not to think back to the pimp grooves of Dre, Snoop and friends in the ‘90s. Kurupt even shows up for one smoke-filled track (“Ride”). The Dogg Pound is featured on a bonus eighth track, “Systamatic”.
A laidback funk groove is the essence of 7 Days of Funk, with Snoopzilla’s vocals taking his relaxed approach to its full. He may start the first track relating his workaholic vision in rhyme (“I won’t be happy ‘til my whole team paid”), for most of the album he’s less about rhyming than drifting. The second track “Let It Go” might be the epitome of this, with Snoopzilla pondering the give and take of love in a lost-in-his-daydreams singing voice. That he does this while keeping the groove pounding hard is a testament to Dâm-Funk, who has an ear for this stuff and a firm grasp on it.
To say Dâm-Funk is engineering a new kind of funk would be a misstatement; to say he has a keen sense for the atmosphere as well as the rhythms of funk, an understanding of what really makes for a classic funk track, would be an understatement.
Lovelorn, under the spell of another but somewhat melancholy about it, is Snoopzilla’s state of mind of “Let It Go”, “Faden Away”, “1Question?” (featuring Steve Arrington) and “I’ll Be There 4U” – that’s four of the seven track (four of the seven days). Even when that’s distinctly not the subject – when Snoopzilla does a pimp’s strut on “Do My Thang” – the music carries some of the same bittersweet feeling, Of course, even when Dâm-Funk and Snoopzilla are talking about love, they are just as much talking about music. When they end the album with a statement of dedication (“do or die / It’s you and I”), it’s really the listeners they’re dedicated to, and more than that the music itself. “I’ll be there for you”, they proclaim, and are they talking to us or to the music?
// Notes from the Road
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