Music

Snoop Dogg: Coolaid

On Coolaid, Snoop Dogg brings back his iconic G-Funk sound with mixed results.


Snoop Dogg

Coolaid

Label: eOne
US Release Date: 2016-07-01
UK Release Date: Import
Amazon
iTunes

Let’s be honest: Snoop Dogg hasn’t put out a brilliant album since Tha Doggfather.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. For an artist who’s transcended music and become a cultural icon, it makes sense that he would choose to spend more time on narrating National Geographic documentaries and appearing on talk and game shows than writing rhymes in a studio. It also makes sense that -- as a man who has already penned a number of classic hip-hop albums in the earlier part of his career -- that he would choose to experiment and try new things, like the funk and disco on last year’s album Bush. Add to this his laid-back persona, and what you get is an emcee that has the potential to create another classic but hasn’t capitalized on it, and it shows on Coolaid.

One wouldn’t realize this, however, by only listening to the first few songs. Even though Snoop’s “Legend” is a blatant rip-off of Drake’s “Legend” (complete with a gigantic trap beat and thick bass), he is right in claiming, “Even if I die I’m a legend”. It’s certainly one of the few times that the Californian has sounded aggressive behind a microphone, and it continues on the hook-heavy G-Funk banger ‘Ten Toes Down”. And, with the exception of the instrumental on “Super Crip” -- which makes the song sound like Snoop hopped on Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” single -- the next three tracks are colorful, G-Funk hits with solid verses and stellar hooks.

This string of groovy tracks also closes out the album exceedingly well. The lead single “Kush Ups” features Snoop and his prodigy, Wiz Khalifa, rapping over a beat that sounds like it stole its melody from a Turkish bathhouse, and is as fun as it is exotic. “Got Those” and “Let the Beat Drop (Celebrate)” also have great instrumentals with even better hooks, “What If” is classic G-Funk through and through, and “Revolution” even shows Snoop Dogg dipping his toes into political waters as he quotes Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. This last third of the album isn’t just G-Funk, but also a bit of exploration for the Long Beach rapper, and he navigates these unknown waters better than expected.

Had it just been these tracks, Coolaid would have been a worthy return to form for the Californian rapper, but the music sadly takes a nosedive in the middle of the album. Most of them are generic, unnecessary and simply bad songs, such as “Double Tap” and “My Carz”, but they all suffer from forgettable verses as well as lackluster and overproduced instrumentals. A song like “Light It Up” will be forgotten (and for good reason) in a few months, while “Side Piece” is nothing more than an over bloated sex anthem. I don’t know whether it was Snoop’s inability to kill his darlings, or whether he truly thought that these were quality songs; either way, they have no reason being in an album with Snoop Dogg’s name on it.

It would be wrong to say that Coolaid is some of Snoop Dogg’s best work, but it’s nothing to slouch at either. Buried within the filler, cringe worthy hooks, and recycled verses are quite a handful of amazing G-Funk throwbacks ripe for the picking. The Long Beach rapper hasn’t evolved much from his early years, but that lack of development is negligible when he does the West Coast sound so much justice. As a lifelong fan, I pray for the day when Snoop Dogg will finally realize this, but until then Coolaid is good enough to hold me over.

6
Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Television

Padma Lakshmi's 'Taste the Nation' Questions What, Exactly, Is American Food

Can food alone can undo centuries of anti-immigrant policies that are ingrained in the fabric of the American nation? Padma Lakshmi's Taste the Nation certainly tries.

Film

Performing Race in James Whale's 'Show Boat'

There's a song performed in James Whale's musical, Show Boat, wherein race is revealed as a set of variegated and contradictory performances, signals to others, a manner of being seen and a manner of remaining hidden, and it isn't "Old Man River".

Music

The Greyboy Allstars Rise Up to Help America Come Together with 'Como De Allstars'

If America could come together as one nation under a groove, Karl Denson & the Greyboy Allstars would be leading candidates of musical unity with their funky new album, Como De Allstars.

Music

The Beatles' 'Help!' Redefined How Personal Popular Music Could Be 55 Years Ago

Help! is the record on which the Beatles really started to investigate just how much they could get away with. The album was released 55 years ago this week, and it's the kick-off to our new "All Things Reconsidered" series.

Music

Porridge Radio's Mercury Prize-Nominated 'Every Bad' Is a Wonderful Epistemological Nightmare

With Every Bad, Porridge Radio seduce us with the vulnerability and existential confusion of Dana Margolin's deathly beautiful lyricism interweaved with alluring pop melodies.

Music

​​Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' Builds Identity From Afrofuturism

Beyoncé's Black Is King's reliance on Afrofuturism recuperates the film from Disney's clutches while reclaiming Black excellence.

Reading Pandemics

Colonial Pandemics and Indigenous Futurism in Louise Erdrich and Gerald Vizenor

From a non-Native perspective, COVID-19 may be experienced as an unexpected and unprecedented catastrophe. Yet from a Native perspective, this current catastrophe links to a longer history that is synonymous with European colonization.

Music

John Fullbright Salutes Leon Russell with "If the Shoe Fits" (premiere + interview)

John Fullbright and other Tulsa musicians decamped to Leon Russell's defunct studio for a four-day session that's a tribute to Dwight Twilley, Hoyt Axton, the Gap Band and more. Hear Fullbright's take on Russell's "If The Shoe Fits".

Music

Roots Rocker Webb Wilder Shares a "Night Without Love" (premiere + interview)

Veteran roots rocker Webb Wilder turns back the hands of time on an old favorite of his with "Night Without Love".

Film

The 10 Best Films of Sir Alan Parker

Here are 10 reasons to mourn the passing of one of England's most interesting directors, Sir Alan Parker.

Music

July Talk Transform on 'Pray for It'

On Pray for It, Canadian alt-poppers July Talk show they understand the complex dualities that make up our lives.

Music

With 'Articulation' Rival Consoles Goes Back to the Drawing Board

London producer Rival Consoles uses unorthodox approaches on his latest record, Articulation, resulting in a stunning, beautiful collection.

Film

Paranoia Goes Viral in 'She Dies Tomorrow'

Amy Seimetz's thriller, She Dies Tomorrow, is visually dazzling and pulsating with menace -- until the color fades.

Music

MetalMatters: July 2020 - Back on Track

In a busy and exciting month for metal, Boris arrive in rejuvenated fashion, Imperial Triumphant continue to impress with their forward-thinking black metal, and death metal masters Defeated Sanity and Lantern return with a vengeance.

Books

Isabel Wilkerson's 'Caste' Reveals the Other Kind of American Exceptionalism

By comparing the American race-based class system to that of India and Nazi Germany, Isabel Wilkerson makes us see a familiar evil in a different light with her latest work, Caste.

Film

Anna Kerrigan Prioritizes Substance Over Style in 'Cowboys'

Anna Kerrigan talks with PopMatters about her latest film, Cowboys, which deviates from the common "issues style" approach to LGBTQ characters.

Music

John Fusco and the X-Road Riders Get Funky with "It Takes a Man" (premiere + interview)

Screenwriter and musician John Fusco pens a soulful anti-street fighting man song, "It Takes a Man". "As a trained fighter, one of the greatest lessons I have ever learned is to walk away from a fight without letting ego get the best of you."

Books

'Run-Out Groove' Shows the Dark Side of Capitol Records

Music promoter Dave Morrell's memoir, Run Out Groove, recalls the underbelly of the mainstream music industry.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.