The unstoppable force of the West Coast MC, that is Snoop Dogg, released his fifteenth studio album on Friday (19/5). So, without no further waffle, sit back, roll a joint, backwood, light up and lets review the newest go-to stoners album.
Starting with the self-titled record “Neva Left”, Snoop recruits Mike & Keys to provide a nostalgic wave of 1990s West Coast marinaded Hip-Hop. Jazz cafe keys, soft snare claps and smooth trumpets allow Snoop to assert himself back as one of the pioneers of storytelling in modern day Hip-Hop as he relives his Long Beach lifestyle and how “impersonating real gangster shit” isn’t a quality Snoop looks in his peers or competition. The following two songs follow the theme set by the first song. Snoop recalls of the prejudice he faced in the hood from rival gang members or misguided policeman (“Moment I Feared”) or on “Bacc in da Dayz” over thumping synths and bass where Snoop provides a history of his life back before he was a celebrated artist. The inclusion of the recent BadBadNotGood and Kaytranada instrumental “Lavender”, with Snoop vocals laced on top is also a nice little pat-on-the-back to the upcoming live-instrumental band and buzzing Electronic DJ.
What’s evident from the production credits, features as well as the additional vocals contributed, un-credited on the album tracklisting, is that the sonic sound present on this project is the inspiration of his home town. From the cover artwork as well with an OG picture of the OG in 1992 underneath his ZIP code. Yet, it is disappointing to not see any production credits from his longtime collaborator, Dr. Dre on here…considering the sound Snoop was producing for this album. One of the songs that sounds like it could have come straight out of the ‘Doggystyle’ vaults is “Big Mouth”. Over quick paced drums and charismatic deep bouncy keys and George Clinton synth, it’s one of the more gripping songs on the album. It proves Snoop’s influence on Hip-Hop as well as his undefying high-pitched harmonized vocals that have had a major impact on one of his more frequent collaborators, Wiz Khalifa.
Yet, “Let Us Begin”, a heavy bass thumping and one of the other politically motivated inside his own community as well as the music industry alongside KRS-One is one of Snoop’s stronger vocal contributions to the album.
What Snoop doesn’t fail at whenever he provides an album is that the quality of the instrumentals. However, it does get slightly dull lyrically. While tracks like “Thrash Bags”, “Swivel” and the monstrous line-up on “420 (Blaze Up)”, Snoop’s verse is easily forgettable amongst Devin the Dude’s slick as wax bars and Wiz’s vocals may not necessarily be better than it either, but his ‘Taylor Allderdice’ flow merges well with the heavy synthesised and cool guitar strings.
To conclude, Snoop is one of the best rappers to ever do it as well as keep his longevity relevant as his career’s’ done some weird twist and turns, but Snoop always seems to come out strong with more fans after every release or social media stunt. “Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion, it’s all the same, one thang’s for sure, this shit bang” – Taken from “I’m Still Here”, one of the final tracks on the album, Snoop admits that. Whatever moniker he has or music he releases, his music ultimately does bang.