Music

Snoop Lion: Reincarnated

Reincarnated confirms 'Snoop Lion’ is no replacement for 'Snoop Dogg', but it has its moments.


Snoop Lion

Reincarnated

Label: RCA
US Release Date: 2013-04-23
UK Release Date: 2013-04-22
Amazon
iTunes

Snoop Lion arrives as the alter ego of veteran west coast rapper Snoop Dogg. Switching gears from a comfort zone of gangsta rap, Snoop’s 2013 effort Reincarnated, released via RCA, is a reggae album. Throughout the course of the 12-track set (16 tracks in deluxe form), Snoop Lion sings or pop-raps, never assimilating into his traditional MC flow. Another break with the past comes with Snoop’s eschewal of the infamous parental advisory label. The ‘reincarnated’ artist keeps things relatively clean. While the new Snoop refrains from many of the excesses of his gangsta past, he does, in Jamaican/reggae tradition, continue to assert his love for weed. Look no further than Reincarnated’s smoke-filled cover art.

"Rebel Way" opens Reincarnated with great promise. The production work balances traditional reggae cues while keeping in step with contemporary production work. Snoop Lion delivers his verses soundly enough, though it is the hook that highlights: "You can’t run away, run away / you gotta face this… time is moving fast." "Here Comes the King" follows capably, featuring vocal assistance from Angela Hunte, who thrills on the hook. Even given the positive message of rising above haters, Snoop’s best line comes way of "Ganja makes me lord of the land." Closing a solid opening trio, "Lighten Up" features Mavado and Popcaan, both Jamaican musicians. Possessing the total package, "Lighters Up" benefits from superb production and being enjoyable.

"So Long" remains pleasant, if less alluring, adhering to more of a traditional reggae sound. "Get Away" proves even less triumphant, in spite of slick production work. Manic and overambitious, the song is all over the place. Single "No Guns Allowed" atones, featuring Snoop’s daughter Cori B as well as Canadian rapper Drake. Drake delivers one of the best moments: "Bullets do not choose a victim / it is the shooter that picks ‘em / they just can’t wait to get you in the system / the district attorney could use a conviction." "Fruit Juice" contrasts by going smaller, while the obligatory ode to marijuana arrives via "Smoke the Weed", featuring Collie Budz. The hook is simple and direct: "Smoke the weed, everyday / don’t smoke the seeds, no way / smoke the weed." Profound it ain’t, but Snoop also manages to tie in mother nature.

"Tired of Running" is assured, given its cover status (from Akon’s 2006 album Konvicted). From thereon, things take a questionable turn. "The Good Good", featuring Iza, is merely good enough and nothing more while "Torn Apart", featuring British pop star Rita Ora, sounds more quirky and unexceptional than valedictory. Worse is the album’s most shocking collaborative effort, "Ashtrays and Heartbreaks" featuring Miley Cyrus. Cyrus’s vocals are incredibly quick, over-processed, and barely decipherable on the hook. While the song has good intentions with its weighty message, it just misses the mark. The deluxe version is four cuts deeper. "La La La", the best of the bonus quartet, would’ve been at home on the standard edition.

Uneven though sometimes enjoyable, Reincarnated is surprisingly better than expected. That said, the effort still stumbles into the pitfalls of a musician altering his direction and leaving his comfort zone. Snoop Lion pulls off this album off stronger than Lil Wayne did rock (Rebirth), but still, Snoop is best suited spitting over luxurious west-coast beats.

6

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image