“First N–ga taught that crippin’ to your kids, huh,” proclaims Snoop Dogg — and rightfully so. Unless the average middle class American [white] kid was jamming to groups to Compton’s Most Wanted, which wasn’t a sure bet in pre-Internet hip-hop, Snoop’s brand of ‘Gangsta Rap’ on the much-lauded Doggystyle was an eye opening experience. So much so that they tried to shut the genre down, ironically giving it more allure (like telling kids to stop smoking). Since then  Snoop has soared to unbelievable heights; from making too many classics to list here, to television appearances and cult status. He’s the most recognizable face in hip-hop history, his latest album, Coolaid, seems like a victory lap.
Last week Snoopy unleashed the project’s lead single, “Super Crip,” produced by heavyweight Just Blaze. The track was an exciting reworking of the iconic west coast funk of yesterday, with an undeniably current feel. Over the electric soundbed, Snoop sounded reinvigorated, and fresh. Coolaid, as a complete package, is much the same. Snoop is a legend, and he knows it — he spends a good portion of the project’s 20 tracks exploring his status, reminding everyone that he’s the nucleus of west coast hip-hop, and giving long-time fans the refreshed, focused Snoop Dogg they deserve.
The album seems to have three very distinct lanes, thick, syrupy, west coast funk, music to crip to, and filler. The latter includes songs like the “My Carz,” and the album’s intro, “Legend,” with an awkward slow-flow on a one-off trap beat that seems out of place. Snoop hits his stride, though, as soon as the second joint, “Ten Toes Down,” drops. From the Paid In Full excerpt, we can begin to understand that Snoop wants listeners to know that he (just) can’t leave the game alone. Perhaps, he wonders if completely abandoning his core audience would render him forgotten, much like Mitch contemplated in the emotionally charged scene [in the film]. On the song “Coolaid Man,” Snoop subtly let’s other artists know that not only does he not sound like anyone else out — but that he’s aware of who’s been borrowing his style.
With multiple collaborations with Alicia Keys’ beau Swizz Beats and Just Blaze, and guests verses from the likes of his smoking buddy (and Mac & Dre co-star) Wiz Khalifa, Detroit Capo Trick Trick, and west coast legend in his own right, Suga Free (amongst a host of other), Snoop delivers a solid track list. If the west side street-hop doesn’t hit you, the radio-ready vibe of “Point Seen Money,” featuring Jeremih, the funky “Feel About Snoop,” or the club-ready “Double Tap,” featuring E-40 and Jazzy Pha, will. There’s something for everyone, no matter which era/iteration of Snoop you’ve come to most closely identify with.
From the super dope artwork to the overall vibe, the project is worth a spot on your summer playlist. Roll a fatty, turn up, and beat the summer heat with tall glass of Cool Aid.