Tidal Catalog #13: Snoop Dogg (Update #1)

I Wanna Thank Me (7)

Snoop’s latest album, I Wanna Thank Me, was released on 8/16/19 which was led into by much hype that he was going back to his West Coast G-funk roots. I’ve read many reviews about the album and most of them state that same thing – this is a return to his earliest albums. If that’s the case, then people didn’t listen more than 20 minutes.

The title of the new record plays off his Hollywood Walk of Fame speech when he received a star on it last year. With it, he both playfully and seriously thanked himself for working tirelessly to get where he is today. And with that, comes an album that really sounds like a retrospective of almost his entire career, albeit with new recordings.

Yes, the album starts off with some vintage Snoop g-funk with a newer twist. Songs like “What U Talkin’ Bout” is one to bounce to next to “Gin and Juice” while the west coast ballad, “Let Bygones Be Bygones” about his relationship with Suge Knight reminisces back to those earliest days of success. And “I C Your Bullshit” with its sample of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” sounds like something that could have come off the second NWA record.

As the disc progresses through a whopping 21 songs, the vibe changes though. “Turn Me On” is bouncier like the earliest Pharrell collaborations while “Wintertime in June” would have a been a nice slower tune of the Pharrell backed Bush album.

There’s also “Little Square UBitchU” which wouldn’t have been totally out of place on his Snoop Lion reggae album. But you can also look to two song that could span really any part of the last two decades of Snoop Music, the trippy weed tune, “Take Me Away” and the upbeat “Do It When I’m In It” which is a collaboration with Jermaine Dupri. Or you can listen to “Do You Like I Do” which is a new jack swing tune, something Snoop has never done before.

The album is all over the map, some tracks great, some tracks average and about half way through it seems like all focus is lost as the record just jumps from style to style really with no rhyme or reason. So with that, I can’t call it a return to g-funk as a whole. Sure, there are a few tunes that definitely are but overall it seems like more of a project to show all of us why Snoop has thanked himself so much over the decades.

“I C Your Bullshit”

New Music 8/2/19

It’s week 32 of ’19. I’m downloading records on Tidal based on name recognition or album covers that intrigue me, only. Some artists I have a history with and some I’ve never heard of. This is how I discover as I trek through the new music landscape.

Song of the Week: Drake, “Girls Love Beyonce”
  • Album: Drake – Care Package
  • Previous knowledge: His previous album and sooooo many radio tunes
  • Review: Any way you look at it, Drake will go down as one of the most successful artists of my generation. He’s the all time solo leader in number of songs that hit the Billboard Top 40 and probably by the end of his career, will have the most Top 40 of all time. I read the other day that since his debut on the charts in May 2009, he’s been on it every week since. That’s either pretty amazing or evidence that he will pimp himself out on pretty much any track from anyone. Let’s just stay positive and call it a strong work ethic and loving what you do. That said, it’s not like he’s putting out crap either.

Care Package is actually a compilation of previously released songs but not hits, rather promo songs released before or between records that were never available to buy or released on streaming sites. I’m supposing that true fans would have already heard all of these then but for me, this might as well be a new record. And…it’s Drake. I mean, the dude isn’t going to break any new ground at this point, what works for him are clean beats, some rapping, some R&B and a lot of true talent to make each song sound exactly like what you’d expect from Drake. To that extent, I don’t feel I really need to say much more.

  • Rating: 8.5/10
Drake, “4pm in Calabasas”
  • Album: Tisakorean – Soapy Club
  • Previous knowledge: None
  • Review: Everything about this album intrigued me. From whatever the hell a Soapy Club is to the album cover in which is a cartoon of a boy floating in a pool, to track titles like “Soapy Situations” “Double Dare (Soapy Anthem)” to “Frito Lays,” “Chilli Dogs” and “Watermelon Booty.” But there’s surely no reason for me to be intrigued any longer.

Tisakorean is an eclectic rapper that is seemingly trying to make a career out of songs about…you know…soap. Can’t say I’ve heard that one before. When he’s not singing about things related to soap, he’s shoulder shruging rapping choruses like “chips. Frito Lays. Chips, Frito Lays.” The beats he uses are very sparse, mostly created using one finger on a keyboard that could have been make in the 90s, the 2000s or today and by someone that’s 5-years-old. And while a bit unique in his style, he also kind of sounds like he’s recorded his middle school raps while lying in bed. Every time I think we can’t get any lower in hip-hop, a Tisakorean pops up.

  • Rating: 0/10
Tisakorean, “Beat Tub Up”
  • Album: Mabel – High Expecations
  • Previous knowlege: None
  • Review: This young lady with a grandma name is actually the daughter of Neneh Cherry and producer Cameron McVey, so she grew up in a pretty eclectic musical family. And I suppose with how different her Mom’s career was, the “high expectations” for me would be that she’s break new ground kind of like Neneh did with “Buffalo Stance” back in the 80s. However, that doesn’t happen here. High Expectations is a decent enough pop album but it doesn’t stand out in any way at all. There’s no doubt that Mabel has a great voice but it’s a voice that could come from any one of 50 singers right now and there’s no way in a blind listen, you’d be able to identify who sings these tracks. Same thing with the music. All the beats are perfect, radio-friendly dance pop or vaguely hip-hop ballads with nothing on the record that screams out for more spins. This is about as middle ground as radio-pop gets in 2019.
  • Rating: 5/10
Mabel, “Bad Behavior”
  • Album: Berlin – Transcendance
  • Previous knowledge: Albums 2-4 back in the 80s.
  • Review: Well, the name of the album is a bit misleading here. I saw the dance part of the title and figured this was going to upbeat dancey synth-pop but from the opening moments of the lead track, “I Want You,” you get plodding beats and a darker snyth-pop sound, very similar to their original style in the 80s. But in the 80s, Terry Nunn, John Crawford and David Diamond were young and energetic and willing to take some chances. Now they are old and divorced and kind of sound like they are going through the motions a bit. The best songs on Transcendance are the ballads, with “On My Knees” being a true highlight. But attempts at upbeat tunes fall flat and a rerecording of “Sex (I’m a…”) turned into the kind of dance song I expected the album to be, really doesn’t work well in context here. There’s a good EP in here somewhere but as a full album it needs a pulse.
  • Rating: 6/10
Berlin, “On My Knees”

Albums ranked 10/10 so far in 2019 (ordered only by release date)

  1. Terror Jr. – Unfortunately, Terror Jr
  2. Emily King – Scenery
  3. Good Fuck – Good Fuck
  4. The Claypool Lennon Delirium – South of Reality
  5. UB40 – For the Many
  6. Griz – Ride Waves
  7. Pup – Morbid Stuff
  8. Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
  9. Howard Jones – Transform
  10. Mavis Staples – We Get By
  11. Prince – Originals
  12. Yeasayer – Erotic Returns
  13. Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real – Turn off the News (Build a Garden)
  14. Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Servants of the Sun
  15. The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger
  16. K. Flay – Solutions
  17. Tuxedo – Tuxedo III
  18. Dorian Electra – Flamboyant