Certain people are placed on this Earth for particular reasons. Richard Pryor had the unique ability to make people keel over with laughter. At the peak of his career, Michael Jordan arguably played basketball at the highest level ever witnessed. And Denzel Washington showcases his theatrical skills to millions worldwide in every one of his feature films. In the case of Calvin Broadus, better known as Snoop Dogg, his seemingly inexplainable ability to make quality music happens to be his niche. From emerging on the national stage in the early 90’s, to recording songs with 2Pac, to his stint on No Limit Records, to the present day, Snoop has managed to solidfy himself as an iconic figure in the culture, both on an off the mic.
Malice N Wonderland, his tenth solo album, attempts to show Tha Doggfather as a more crafty, adaptable vet opposed to the stereotypical reluctant “old-timer” resistant to change. Right off the bat, Uncle Snoop seems at home on the bouncy “I Wanna Rock” with its progressive old school vibes that make for an instant jam. Obviously paying homage to the Bay Area, the hyphy influenced “1800” finds Dogg flowing damn near effortlessly. The track seems tailor-made for a guest spot from E-40, but instead features background vocals from former King of Crunk and song’s producer Lil’ Jon. Jazmine Sullivan joins the fantasy ride on “Different Languages” as Snoop proudly proclaims his undying love for the mother of his children. Snoop gives the listener a look into their personal life when he exclaims, “Jay got Beyoncé, I got Shante/ With no entree, that’s my baby.”
One of the more endearing qualities Snoop has always exhibited has been his big brother-like relationship with younger artists. Aided with a mean drum pattern, Snoop, Problem and Nipsey Hussle all dismantle Terrace Martin’s “Upside Down,” serving as an acceptable introduction to the mainstream for the aforementioned Hussle. On “Pronto,” his “nephew” Soulja Boy checks in for the so-so club record laced with an Auto-Tune hook. Producer Danja crafts “That’s The Homie” as it stands one of the more entertaining records and allows Snoop to flex his networking prowess with connections in damn near every major U.S. city and even Nigeria.
Although every melodic moment isn’t exactly a radio smash (“Secretz” for one), The-Dream delivers a pair of ace’s with the trendy “Gangsta Luv” and “Luv Drunk” where the two wax poetics over a piano heavy instrumental making for a smooth ride to help close out the LP. Ultimately, the standout record serves as his collaboration with Brandy and Pharrell on “Special.” Given his successful history with The Neptunes’ producer, the two add yet another impressive record to their résumé with Snoop addressing wifey again, only this time in a more relaxed and reserved manner.
Malice N Wonderland proves Snoop can still make an exceptional album the masses can gravitate towards and support. His one-of-a-kind flow and the knowledge of how to actually craft an enjoyable record will likely continue to serve as one of premiere blueprints in Hip-Hop. With 2010 fast approaching, Mary Jane’s biggest supporter is preparing for his third decade in the game with no signs of slowing down. So expect to see more blunt smoke, hoes ridiculed and game laced, because we all know, ain’t nothin’ like a gangsta party.