It’s been twenty years since Snoop Doggy Dogg’s debut album “Doggystyle” and he’s still as prevalent and relevant as he’s ever been. In the time since the Dogg made his first appearance on the “Deep Cover” soundtrack, he’s released twelve solo albums under one of his many monikers and four more collaborative efforts with 213, Tha Eastsidaz and Wiz Khalifa. He’s also appeared in several movies, television shows and commercials. Hell, he even produced his own porno flick a few years back. To put things in their simplest terms – Snoop has become a worldwide cultural icon, transcending just hip-hop music.
With that said, what does Snoop Dogg need with rap? It’s easy to suggest that the D-O double-G just retire and ride off into the sunset, satisfied with being one of the all-time greats but how did that work out for Michael Jordan, Brett Favre or even Jay Z? All three of the aforementioned individuals are fierce competitors and always striving to prove that there’s still something left in the tank. The Doggfather is cut from that same cloth and doesn’t plan on being washed up anytime soon.
Snoop Doggy Dogg was content to lambast bitches and hoes, pull 187s on undercover cops and drink gin & juice with the homies but as he grew older and wiser, he became more willing to expose his soft underbelly to us all – giving us songs like “Beautiful” and “Sexual Eruption.” Venturing outside of his traditional comfort zone, he changed his name to Snoop Lion and released “Reincarnated” which featured the anti-violence song, “No Guns Allowed.” A chance meeting with Dam-Funk at an event in 2011 led to Snoop’s latest collaborative effort. Dam-Funk hails from Pasadena and for the most part makes music that, as one might expect, tips its hat to funk music from the 70s and 80s. For the purposes of this project, Snoop has dubbed himself as Snoopzilla, which clearly pays homage P-Funk pioneer, Bootsy Collins. The name the duo bills themselves as is an acknowledgement of how long it took to put the project together. Produced entirely by Dam-Funk, “7 Days of Funk” is a quick suite of eight songs that keeps the guest list to a minimum. The album’s only outside participants are Tha Dogg Pound and Steve Arrington of “Weak in the Knees” fame.
The first whiff of funk comes in the form of “Hit Da Pavement,” as Snoop does his best impression of Bootsy’s “Wi-i-i-i-ind me up!!” The lyrics may initially come off as a bit abrasive, but the thumping bassline that accompanies them can’t help but induce a gangsta two-step with a drink in hand. “Let It Go” is much smoother by comparison and finds Snoopzilla coming to the realization of his need for companionship, proclaiming “There’s no me without you,” seemingly doing his best to atone for a previously made mistake. The video for the first single, “Faden Away,” has a vintage feel to it that makes it seem like a VHS tape has been popped into an old dusty VCR (given you even know what that is). It’s like “Sexual Eruption” without the campiness of that particular video. Steve Arrington makes an appearance on “1Question?,” as Snoop and Steve quickly get to the crux of the matter and simply ask “Do you love me?” They never get the answer they want to hear, or any answer at all for that matter, but it’s impossible to ignore the question. One half of Tha Dogg Pound, Kurupt, makes an appearance on the synth and bass-laden “Ride.” It should come as no surprise that it’s one of the album’s standout cuts. The vibe is almost one that mirrors the ghost of Death Row Records past with a hint of maturity sprinkled in for flavor, as Snoopzilla raps:
“Hoppin and hoppin in a blue 6-4
Rollin with a bad one, foot to the floor
Behind the tint, President
My residence, at your expense
Are you a shark, a big fish or a jumbo shrimp
Well, in the case ain’t no chasin me
Or replacing me, no lacing me
I hold the homegrown, vacancy
And kush is the reason we dankin, G”
The album begins to wind down from that point, but not before Snoopy Collins takes to the mic and floats over Dam-Funk’s backdrop for “Do My Thing,” as he raps:
“Get a bitch, got a bitch
G shit, yeah I got a lot of it
Money up? Nah, money back
And I don’t tolerate none of that
So have a seat, and enjoy
And roll with your muthafuckin homeboy
Dam-Funk, drive the car
I’m smokin a bli-zunt right by the bar”
“7 Days of Funk” comes to a conclusion with “I’ll Be There 4U” and the Dogg Pound-featuring “Systematic.” The former finds Snoop crooning with a bit of assistance from the talkbox and running down a list of some of the funk greats, including George Duke, the aforementioned Bootsy Collins, George Clinton and James Brown, to name a few. After a full serving of the funk, it becomes apparent that everyone may not be as receptive to the overarching concept of the album and that’s okay. Dam-Funk’s production is solid and quite funky, while Snoop’s personality shines through his vocals just as they have for the past twenty years or so. The project proves that you’re never too old to have some fun and it seems that at age 42, the man formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg is doing just that. On one track, a word of advice tells the listener that “Your thing is your thing. Only you can do you, so do it!” That smell wafting in the air is just a little funk, let it marinate and linger for a bit. It won’t hurt.