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Hip Hop took center stage in Los Angeles at Super Bowl LVI. Among the star-studded line up of artists Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, and Mary J Blige was Los Angeles’s pride and joy – the one and only Snoop Dogg. It was a particularly eventful week for Snoop. Besides opening the Pepsi halftime show alongside his longtime partner in crime Dr. Dre, the 50-year-old rapper also acquired the infamous Death Row Records on Wednesday and released his 20th album BODR (Bacc On Death Row) on that very label on Friday. They say hip hop is a young man’s game. Back in 1993, when Snoop Dogg broke out onto the scene with his debut album Doggystyle (also dropped on Death Row), I’m sure he would have agreed. But now I think it’s fair to say that while there’s a ton of new fresh blood in the scene, heavyweights like Snoop are reminding us that the art of hip hop, which they pioneered, is now a middle aged artform. Let’s hop into a few of my favorite joints off BODR.

The album starts with “Still Smokin”. It’s an intro skit of Snoop Dogg telling an associate that he had a dream that he was back on Death Row. A few seconds later, we’re hit with that classic 90s gangsta funk beat as Snoop blesses us with a one-verse song where flexes his 160 million net worth, rolls up the chronic, and reminiscences about the early innovators on Death Row – Pac, Suge, and Nate Dogg. This one makes you feel like it’s 1995 again. Palm trees. Low riders. 40s of Old English. The whole deal.

The second track is my favorite on the album. Another single verse, “Gun Smoke” is no-holds-barred-gun-bar-barfest. If you were to just see this verse transcribed on paper, you would see hints of 21 Savage, G Herbo, or even Dutchavelli. Snoop’s pen on this song is an ode to the street hip hop of the 2010s and 2020s as shows that even one of the pioneers in the game can be as versatile as anyone. On the track, “Doggyystlyin,” he also takes it back to the old school laidback effortless gangsta flow we saw him perfect on “Murder Was The Case.” He drips his gang affiliations and his hood over a dark beat and funky bassline. Snoop may not always rap like this. But when he does, he’s seriously good at it.  

While I’m personally a fan of the harder street version of Snoop, one of the biggest reasons he’s aged this well is his stylistic/emotional versatility. He has jams like “Coming Back” where he can rap over a feel-good beat that you’d likely play at the family cookout by the pool. “Coming Back’s” hook is assisted October London who wraps the song together with his feel-good melodies. Assisted by TI and Sleepy Brown, Snoop Dogg delivers another uplifting motivational track with “Gotta Keep Pushing”. On this track, Sleepy Brown sings, “Keep your head up and move // Love will always come through // You gotta keep pushing on”.

There’s a few other notable moments on the album. The Game makes an appearance on “Jerseys In The Rafters” and DaBaby continues to shine in his prime on “Pop Pop”. From front to back, Snoop proves he’s still got it. The fact he can lift you up emotionally on one track but gun you down on another track proves he’s only refined over the years. It’s been almost 30 years since Doggystyle, and he’s come full circle and is back on Death Row. I’m really excited to see what else the new Death Row owner has in store for us in the not-so-distant future...


Kris Kuganathan

Photojournalist - Orange County

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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