Monday, 6 July 2009

Snoop Dogg's coming album, Malice in Wonderland, is the next of many precursors to 'Detox'

As rumors spread throughout the Rap community concerning action taking place in the Aftermath Music camp, Snopp Dogg's 2009 album, Malice in Wonderland (to be released in September) contributes to the anticipation over Dr. Dre's prospective album, Detox. Dre, the label's founder and CEO, has been talking about his coming album since some time in 2000, periodically making guest appearances on the albums of essentially every artist he has produced over the last decade (Snoop, Fifty, Eminem, and rumors of Xzibit to name a few). Thus his guest appearance on Snoop Dogg's newest album is no doubt yet another means of heralding the coming of Dre's Detox. Although many in the Rap community have been grumbling over the lengthy postponement of Dre's new album (most are bitterly complaining about how Dre "fell off," in the words of his last hit, "Forgot about Dre"), the rapper/producer's momentous role in Eminem's Relapse makes clear that Dre is very much still Dre (no pun intended) both as a rapper and a producer.

But all talk about Dr. Dre aside, the details on Snoop Dogg's Malice in Wonderland, though scarce at best, promise that the album will live up to expectations. Following the success of his last album, Ego Trippin' (which debuted at number three on the Billboard 200), Snoop's 2009 album will feature guest appearances by Pharrell and the Neptune crew in addition to Dr. Dre. Snoop, who claims that the record takes influences from composer Lalo Schifrin, says Schifrin's darker, more sinister compositions will have a significant coloring on Malice in Wonderland. This sort of mood setting will certainly influence Snoop's own rapping style which (apart from his well known associations with Dr. Dre),is defined by a style which is simultaneously funky and smooth; his ability to construct rhythms around funky, hip hop based grooves settles his music in a comfy space somewhere between hard rap and funk. No doubt Snoop has created for his music a kind of rap which the genre has not often seen, and thus his experimentation wich Lalo Schifrin's music will definitely create a similar sort of musicality. Perhaps one of the greatest rappers of our time, Snoop's ability to evoke head nodding in his listeners is rarely matched.

Malice in Wonderland, thus, promises to find a place in the rapper's repertoire which will match if not surpass the multiple hits which have come to define Snoop Dogg's music ("Gin and Juice" and "Beautiful" come to mind as some of the greatest Rap grooves which the genre has ever seen). Not only that, but after the great commercial success of the number one single on Snoop's last record, "Sexual Eruption," the rapper made comments on how his great success as a rapper has freed his stylistic choices, and allowed him to pursue musical ideas which are uninfluenced by audience reception (this, of course, is largely contradicted by the censorship which he allowed the hit single to undergo). Regardless, however, I wouldn't be surprised to see a great deal of new influences appearing in Snoop's Malice in Wonderland that he has not ever experimented with before (perhaps in the way he claimed Lalo Schifrin's sinister compositions influenced the album). The result of this musical experimentation, of course, waits to be defined, but it will no doubt be interesting to see how this sort of "dark, sinister" emotion will influence Snoop's funky, hip hop based grooves as we wait for what I hope will finally be Dre's release of Detox.

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