Wednesday 26 July 2017

Music: Doggumentary by Snoop Dogg ***

(Parlophone)

John Meagher

John Meagher

Doggumentary, Snoop Dogg's 11th album, began life as a sequel of sorts to his groundbreaking 1993 debut, Doggystyle. In fact, its working title for some time was Doggystyle 2.

Quite why the rapper wished to revisit his debut after so many years is unclear -- maybe he saw it as an opportunity to go back to his controversial, edgy roots. And, let's face it, it's been a long time since this millionaire businessman, actor and rap icon has been either controversial or edgy.

But the album hasn't turned out to be a sequel after all. Instead, it's a sprawling, ambitious, 21-track affair that puffs its chest out defiantly and declares its maker to be king of all he surveys. Doggumentary offers self-aggrandisement at practically every turn.

Very few artists could get away with a collection as lengthy as this and, sure enough, there's an album's worth of filler here. But there are also several reminders that Snoop Dogg remains someone to be reckoned with -- a rapper capable of the sort of crossover appeal that most of his peers and many of the young pretenders can only dream of.

There are a breathtaking number of guest appearances on the album -- so many, in fact, that it's sometimes easy to forget that this is a Snoop Dogg venture. Among the huge cast lending a hand are Kanye West, T Pain, Gorillaz and, implausibly, R Kelly.

West's contribution, Eyez Closed, is especially strong featuring, as it does, the ever-reliable John Legend. Then there's funk pioneer Bootsy Collins, whose trademark Parliament-Funkadelic sound helps make Toyz N Da Hood and We Rest N Cali soar. And most striking of all is Superman -- a two-minute ditty featuring, of all people, Willie Nelson.

With so many musicians on board, it would take a special talent to keep the focus. Instead, Doggumentary is all over the place when listened to whole, Yet, there's no doubt that individual tracks go a long way towards burnishing Snoop's reputation.

And you're unlikely to hear another album this year that shoehorns in quite as many genres as this one.

Burn it: Superman; Eyez Closed

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