so, everyone knows snoop dogg. for almost as long as i can remember, he's been in the forefront of the music scene. he started out in the early 90's as dr. dre's first protege, and has soared to damn near immortality since. his laid-back flow has inspired countless wannabes, and his chill, gangsta attitude has been nothing but magnetic.
lately, snoop's been a go-to guy for your album or remix if you want the rap community to hear you. he and busta rhymes have been on countless artists' songs - so much so that it's kind of gotten to a point (in my opinion at least) that having snoop or busta on your song doesn't really mean anything anymore. sometimes the pairing is even mis-matched (see the pussycat dolls' "buttons", lucy pearl's "you", and angie stone's "i wanna thank ya"). and snoop has changed camps so much (suge knight's death row, to master p's no limit, to pharrell's star trak) that he's kind of lost a sense of stability.
however, that may all change with his new album due out some time in the next couple of months. if the first single "vato" is any indication, he'll be doing some real throwing back to his g-funk roots. and not "throwback" in the sense that mary j. blige tried to do on her album "love & life" - those never really work. but listen to his new song, i've posted it below:
snoop dogg featuring b-real - vato
produced by the neptunes and featuring a chorus from b-real of cypress hill, this song could stand its own against "murder was the case" or "ain't nothin' but a g thing". this is the kind of hard rapping that's been noticeably missing lately. what's considered "hard" nowadays is people making loud, abrasive threats and boasts over equally as cacophanous beats (see three 6 mafia, t.i., david banner, etc.). snoop schools them all in this song as he reminds us that subtlety is infinitely more effective than brash, show-off-iness. the same theory applies to horror movies: the scariest ones aren't where the villain is fully explained as some otherworldly monster who has to feed every dozen years or so, but as the quiet sociopath whose motives (and sometimes identity) aren't wholly revealed.
such is the case with snoop on this new song. his calm, cavalier attitude makes much more of a mark on the listener's ear than any grand posturing. this is what hard rap should sound like. add an incomparable neptunes beat which doesn't quite sound like the material you're used to hearing from them, and the guest appearance from b-real (isn't a collaboration between these two long overdue?), and you've got a great goddamn new song. i don't know how long the song will be available from this post - maybe a week or two unless it gets downloaded a lot before then. but take a listen and remember why snoop is so big in the first place.
along the same lines of oldschool artists releasing new material these days, i took the liberty of downloading the new janet jackson album "20 y.o." yesterday.
i consider myself a janet fan. her 80's and early 90's stuff are straight up classics. i'm a particular fan of "alright", "the pleasure principle", and "that's the way love goes". so it's nice to hear janet referencing her old material, however minimally, on her new album. that's the whole point of this album - janet's been in the biz for twenty years now, and feels she must celebrate. every now and then you might hear a tiny snippet of an old song (the beginning two seconds of "i get lonely" can be heard on one of her interludes).
janet brings the old and new onboard with this album. mainstays jimmy jam and terry lewis (who janet has been working with since she started) and boyfriend jermaine dupri all provide their midas touch. also, relative newcomer johnta austin lends a hand. also on board are a few guest artists, which sadly are more strange than anything. they don't really complement janet's style very well. miss "my neck, my back" khia shows up on the second track (and first song) - a move which made me do a double-take. as could be expected, she brings a whole lot of nothing to the table. the steadily fading nelly is also heard on the first single "call on me". you'd think he'd have learned his lesson to stop singing after that awful song with tim mcgraw, but apparently nelly is as stupid as he is talentless.
but it's the three songs after the khia-assisted "so excited" that got me all excited that janet was back and better than ever - well, at least better than "velvet rope" and "damita jo". the succession that is "show me", "get it out me", and "do it 2 me" are so good that janet fans across the nation will be raising their arms in triumph. sure, the titles are rather demanding - seeing as how they all have the word "me" in them - but we've learned long ago to not expect anything less from janet ("miss jackson" if you're nasty).
however, and it pains me to say this, almost every song after those three trail off and whimper. the momentum she's built up with three solid, danceable hits fizzles off into light, breezy b-material. what happened? janet, you were rocking out so well for the first third of the album! is it your older age showing? because you can't front and imply to us that you aren't down for having a good time anymore. we know you love dancing your ass off. we love doing it with you. so give us more! MORE!
you're probably better off just buying (or illegally downloading) the tracks i've mentioned here. but who knows, maybe you're such a hardcore janet fan that you'll find something to like in the dozen other tracks i've dissed. as long as we keep showing her that our love's true, that we'll never doubt her, our hearts belong to her, that's alright with me.
i just wanna do a little shout-out to daft punk here. i recently watched their movie "interstella 5555" with my friend josh that was an accompaniment to their songs from their album "discovery". that album came out in 2001 and was a true classic. hardly a misstep on that one. and after watching that movie, my love and interest in daft punk has been all renewed. i strongly suggest you rent or buy the movie. you won't be disappointed.
in particular, i've been listening to this song a lot lately:
daft punk - voyager
josh put it so right: this song is awesome to drive to. it's an incredible chill-out piece, and (in my opinion) goes along best with the scene it portrays in the movie - more than any other. so take it, listen to it, enjoy it.
boo-ya for my first post!
Current Mood: chipper