As pop stars go, not many have had a busier year than Snoop Dogg (or Snoopzilla, as he has called himself for this album). During 2013, hip-hop’s ultimate ‘Mr.Cool’ released two albums, underwent two name changes and even found himself the subject of a feature-length film documenting his journey to become a Rastafarian. As the year comes to a close, funk is the latest trend in the world of Snoop as he teams up with Dam Funk to release 7 Days of Funk.
As the title suggests, this is a funk album, not a hip-hop album. It therefore represents Snoop’s second non-rap album this year as he swaps the reggae fuelled Reincarnated sound for more familiar, bass heavy G-Funk. This is not the first funk release from a well-respected hip-hop artist this year, as The Roots teamed up with Elvis Costello to release September’s superb Wake Up Ghost. Yet, where the latter is a funk album personified by its live instrumentation, 7 Days of Funk is the more hip-hop sounding product. Heavily influenced by the West Coast hip-hop sound that Snoop helped create alongside Dr Dre and previous group Tha Dogg Pound, 7 Days of Funk is a thumping, auto-tune-heavy thrill ride.
The synth-heavy sound is apparent from first track ‘Niggaz Hit The Pavement’ which features James Brown’s iconic “Ain’t it funky!” ad-lib at the beginning. Snoop sounds as smooth as ever, effortlessly gliding through the gloriously layered synths with his usual blend of cool. There is a very Doggystyle feel to this record, and if you subtract the gangsta undertones from Snoop’s 1993 classic, then the atmospheres garnered by both records are not too far apart.
The transition from the opening track into ‘Let It Go’ is truly superb and it is hard not to bust a groove as the album unravels, providing the perfect soundtrack to every Hollywood house-party from the 90’s. The album has a celebratory feel from start to finish with Snoop proclaiming “We came to funk with you one time making everybody wanna get up”. ‘1Question?’ is a particular highlight and it’s hard not to imagine the Steve Arrington assisted joint being played in R&B clubs all over the land. The production is masterful throughout and the chemistry displayed suggests a double-act that has been working together for over a decade, rather than a mere matter of months.
There are certain shortcomings, not least the length of the album, which at eight songs stands more as an EP than a full-length album. Others may tire from a second album in one year that features singing, and not rapping, from the West Coast OG and you can’t help but long for him to unleash his flow on at least a couple of the many excellent beats present here. That being said, appearances from Kurupt and Tha Dogg Pound provide a rap rawness on ‘I’ll Be There 4U’ and there is still much to savour. Snoop has spoken of his desire to venture into other genres and styles other than his beloved rap music, an originality that should be admired if not always applauded.
Overall, 7 Days of Funk is a feel-good funk album of the highest quality, blending Dam Funk’s funky vibes with Snoop’s West-Coast sound to create a hugely enjoyable album. It may not be the best album you’ve heard this year, but it could well be the most fun.
Check out ‘Niggaz Hit Da Pavement’ below.