In a now-infamous clip from a 2014 interview with G-Unit, Snoop Dogg expresses his disapproval of every rapper nowadays biting the Migos-originated “Limerick Flow”:
Two years later, it appears as if Snoop has found himself on the other side of the fence: Using flows and subject matter out of his reach in hopes of maintaining relevance on his latest LP, Coolaid. And while Snoop by no jacks any of Migos’ flows in particular, there is still something very upsetting about seeing such a Hip-Hop legend feel the need to do this at this point in his career.
Coolaid starts off with “Legend”, the track that is perhaps the worst offender of this album’s unoriginality crisis. Lyrically, it’s nothing out of the ordinary for Snoop; a track in which the Doggfather exhibits menacing braggadocio skills, abilities he rightfully deserves being over 20 years strong in the Rap game. The problem with this track is both the beat and, moreover, the way Snoop approaches it. This song would be perfect for a Meek Mill or Rick Ross-type, but not for a man who has displayed his originality since his early work with Dr. Dre, up until last year’s Funk-inspired BUSH.
Out of the 20 tracks on Coolaid, only half are actually enjoyable. The album only really starts to show signs of life during its third song, the Too $hort-featuring, Afrika Bambaataa-sampling, “Don’t Stop”. It is a funked out, West coast banger that reminisces of the G-Funk era, in which Snoop was at his peak.
It’s tracks like this on Coolaid that are the highlight of the album: Tracks that don’t find Snoop stepping out of his element. On “Super Crip”, Snoop reminisces over his hood days of the past over one of Just Blaze’s most scorching beats in recent memory. On “Oh Na Na”, he links up with the Cheech to his Chong, Wiz Khalifa, for a laid-back smoker’s joint over some smooth production brought by cousin Daz Dillinger, the man responsible for many hits on Doggy Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle. “Two Or More” recalls sweet, funky memories of both R&B (Rhythm and Gangsta) and BUSH, two of the best albums in Snoop’s later career.
While these tracks are quite enjoyable, it is more the songs that miss that make this Coolaid so hard to drink up. From the highly forgettable “Ten Toes Down”, to cringeworthy numbers such as “Light It Up”, “Side Piece”, and the begging-to-be-trendy-two-years-late “Double Tap”, you can’t help but to think that Snoop should’ve taken more time with his return to rap, having chosen to release the project barely a year after BUSH.
Another area in which Coolaid fails to deliver is with its guest appearances. While this wouldn’t normally be an essential to in most rapper’s cases, the features on Snoop’s recent albums are usually something to look forward to. Unfortunately, E-40, Wiz Khalifa, Jazze Phe, and Jeremih fail in comparison to the Gwen Stefani, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, and Stevie Wonder of BUSH, or even the Miley Cyrus, Drake, Akon, and Rita Ora of the Reggae-fusing Reincarnated.
Although there is some high-grade producers on the album, their results are truly hit or miss. While beats by legends like Just Blaze (“Super Crip”, “Revolution”) and Timaland (“Got That”) work firmly in Snoop’s favour, tracks with Swizz Beatz (“Light It Up, “Let the Beat Drop”) tend to flat. Not even the J Dilla-produced “My Carz” could serve as Snoop’s saving grace.
Don’t get it confused, Snoop is still a legend in the game, even if the Coolaid song with the same title fails to show why! The project has its moments but is overall messy, unfocused, and lacking general inspiration. It is safe to say that this is Snoop’s weakest album in the past 5 years, collaborative work included. With his last two albums, BUSH and Reincarnated, Snoop saw success working with clear concepts and fewer producers. Once the sugar-buzz of Coolaid is out of his system, perhaps he should take note from these projects on how to conquer his next LP. 4/10