Tag Archives: Snoop Dogg


I’ve yet to discover a Lil’ Uzi Vert song that’s as good as U.Z.I. and this is no exception, but it’s put me on a whole new search that’s been much more fruitful.

Lil’ Uzi Vert – All Night

While Uzi is busy rapping boringly and ripping off Young Thug’s “termite” double entendre, Cardo is steady making a taffy machine out of my skull behind the boards on this track.  Like Rocko’s I’m High earlier this year, “All Night” is one of those songs that I’ll blast shamelessly on the strength of the beat alone, despite its huge discrepancy with the rap quality.  But while researching Rocko’s pick brings you to an obvious “oh, 808 Mafia” dead end, this little Vert track had me scratching my head.  Car-who?  Some cursory searches reveal that he provided the backgrounds for Meek Mill’s Levels and a couple of minor hits for the likes of Wiz Khalifa, Sir Michael Rocks, and Mac Miller, but so far these more well-known examples are some of his weakest and from what I’ve heard of his recent material, he’s due to be a very sought-after producer for at least a certain subset of rappers and listeners.

Young Jeezy – The Realest (feat YG)

His texture palette is definitely the initial attraction for me, but I’ll try to avoid an annoying onomatopoetic description of the types of sounds he uses and focus on the two things that I can explain with words that make him special.

Whereas Lex Luger will forever be remembered as the champion of maximal rap production, Cardo is able to to achieve the same density of sound Luger did while having enough finesse and subtlety to to make it not just powerful, but immersive.  Lex Luger hit you like a cinder block wall wrapped in steel; it crushed you, it flattened you against the pavement like some used-up flavorless Juicy Fruit under a trucker’s bootheel.  Cardo can make almost the same beat but make you feel like you’ve been swept up in a deep ocean or deep space current and you can still make out certain fleeting details of your surroundings as you’re forcefully yet delicately towed along.  There’s just as much power, but it’s in a fluid form that feels like it’s interacting with your mind, muscles, bones, and senses in intricate ways that the Lex Luger wall of sound could never hope to accomplish.

Young Jeezy – Birds Could Talk

The other factor that sets Cardo apart from the pack is his unyielding sense of urgency, which is achieved mostly through a masterful sensitivity to timing in the rhythmic structures of his beats.  I remember this one Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire freestyle video where he says something about how he’ll always prefer a beat that “tells a story”, and while usually I think stories are kinda overrated I think I agree with him in this sense.  I think what he is referring to is not that the beat slowly build and morph and resolve over the course of four minutes to tell one complete “story” in one play through, but that like a story, on a small scale each element seems to occur as a direct result of what happened previously.  I think a good story (and a good beat) has to have some kind of sensical causality to it while still being unpredictable enough to keep you interested.  Cardo succeeds at this time and time again, and it makes his music captivating in a way that many producers will never achieve.

The side benefit is that it makes the rappers on his beats sound amazing because under Cardo’s influence, even Jeezy’s basic flow is suddenly a crucial element in this very intricate texture that makes you hear his voice as a seamlessly integrated instrument in the soundscape as much as a way of delivering a verbal message.  And if you have a more elastic flow like PartyNextDoor’s, it melts just as easily into the mix, stretching and contracting time like a Star Trek anomaly while Cardo’s synths rotate dizzyingly around your head.

King Louie – Clique’d Up (feat. PartyNextDoor)

Or take this more conventional beat he made for Snoop.  I can’t remember the last time a Snoop song held my attention for this long, and I think it’s the production that makes that possible.

Snoop Dogg – Passenger Seat

For your browser’s sake I won’t embed any more videos in this post but if I still have your attention, take the time to hear his soulful yet spacey track for Vince Staples and Joey Fatts, this floaty bouce with Iamsu! and P-Lo, and some rugged determination from Pizzle.

My only concern for the wellbeing of his career is that while he has great range and his production is consistently urgent, immersive, and fresh, there’s not much in the way of “catchy” songs that would turn him into the hitmaker that he would need to be to get to that DJ Mustard or London on da Track level.  Hopefully he can find a way to either gracefully integrate that element into his already well-defined sound or keep developing his current approach and be ok with not being on the radio all the time.  Either way, I’m excited to hear what’s next.

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I don’t like pushing negativity on here and I promise my next post is gonna be about a bunch of music I really like but ever since we found out about NOISEY’s highly questionable media tactics a week ago, I’m a little hypersensitive to their bullshit.  So when I saw this headline I felt like I needed to say something.

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Do yourself a favor and don’t read the interview, use it as motivation to never ingest anything NOISEY produces.  I’m not saying that there should never be humorous content in a music publication but when you see the pitiful, generic, two-paragraph treatment they gave to Sean Price’s death yesterday and the most recent interview they did with Sean early last year which is only 2 questions longer than they give to some white dude on the internet who said 4 words of a rap song simultaneously with the rapper in the recording, it’s pretty clear where the priorities and sentiments lie with the NOISEY editors.  There’s plenty of interesting (and humorous) content in the rap world, you don’t need to swallow NOISEY’s bullshit, fuckin’ onion head bastards.

Sean Price – Onion Head (feat. Tek)

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7 Days of Funk (DâM FunK + Snoop Dogg aka Snoopzilla) – Hit da Pavement

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The other day Matt sent me this video with the simple commentary “no limit era snoop: the most under-appreciated era of snoop.”

C-Murder – Down For My N’s (feat. Magic & Snoop Dogg)

I probably don’t know enough about other people’s opinions of Snoop to confirm or counter Matt’s assessment, but I think that song is pretty interesting in light of this one.

Kendrick Lamar – Tammy’s Song

I think the relationship between these two songs is a nice microcosm of what Kendrick Lamar is: his roots, background, and inspiration are unquestionably in the street, but he adds a level of nuance and balance by subtly shifting turns of phrase (and also introducing a genuine interest in a female perspective), and then occasionally goes a little off track with it (the whole “turnin’ dyke” direction).  That part just feels a little too late in the game to make a joke, or at least that joke.  Don’t get me wrong, you can ask my girlfriend, my blog, or my iTunes play count if I like Kendrick Lamar a lot and the answer will be unanimously “yes”, but every now and then I remember that he also particularly turns me off sometimes.  Usually not though.  Usually he’s doing something cool like turning a C-Murder song into a relationship analysis or a Janet Jackson song into a complex reference to a Janet Jackson movie.

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In the spirit of posts like these, here’s another great interview of an artist by another artist, rather than by an interviewer or journalist.  These are always the best.

Snoop Dogg interviews the RZA on GGN

And here’s a link to part 1 of The Show (follow related videos for later parts), the documentary that Snoop mentions in the interview that began Snoop and RZA’s personal relationship.  It’s a disarmingly raw, honest snapshot of the 1995 rap world, with a lot of good insight and information.  Definitely as worth watching as the interview above, if not more.

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Just in case y’all missed this.

REINCARNATED (official trailer)

Snoop Lion – La La La


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I never thought I’d say this, but I kinda wish Snoop wasn’t in this video at all and it was just these little kids rappin’ the whole time.

Snoop Dogg – I Wanna Rock (G-Mix) (feat. Jay-Z)

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When I first saw that this video was out, my reaction was: “wait wait — MORE “Freaky Tales“??”  Too $hort’s been workin’ this concept for over 20 years now, and while $hort is proven himself to be able to sustain his original rap style for a weirdly long period of time with continuing success, I was still surprised to see him jump back into this series after all this time.  Needless to say, I was really excited.  I love how true to himself he’s stayed over the decades, never compromising for anybody or anything, and continuing to make awesome music and command the respect of pretty much everybody in the rap community the whole time.  Too $hort is a great example of the kind of artist I talked about in my previous post, the kind that understands that it isn’t his job to be an upstanding moral character for the youth of America.  He tells the story of the streets he knows, and for the people that live in that environment he’s lived in, his stories have resonance.

As it turns out, this is actually not exactly a continuation of the “Freaky Tales” ethos, it’s a remake of the original “Freaky Tales” from the 80s, but cut down by about 2/3 and has Snoop (who maybe should have gone by “Too Tall” for this video) rapping half of the time.  I can’t pretend like I wasn’t still captivated the whole time though, who wears a Langston University T-shirt with no chains on in a rap video in 2012?  And where does Snoop do his flannel shopping?  Damn!

Too $hort – Freaky Tales (feat. Snoop Dogg)

Anybody else notice the “Clicc Here To…” link at the top of that video at the beginning?  It’s pretty crazy that Snoop is still keepin’ up with all the old traditions after all these years.  I guess he’s not the only one, though.

I first heard about “Freaky Tales” back when I first discovered Too $hort’s super early material a few years ago, and if you want a complete breakdown of the “Freaky Tales” saga, with full versions of all the songs included, check out Andrew Noz’s in-depth research.  And if you wanna see the man himself lay out the history of the original track, you have to watch this interview which clearly happened on the same day that video shoot did.

I had no idea ’til I saw this that Too $hort was producing that shit too, I wonder if he produced the stuff I put up in this post a while back too?  Wouldn’t be surprised.  Keep it up, $hort.

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One thing a lot of rap detractors like to pretend and insinuate is that the problematic ideas expressed in many rap songs (violence, misogyny, materialism, etc.) are only newly problematic.  No one can deny that these ideas are present in rap music or that they are problematic, but I feel like I see more and more evidence all the time of the antiquity of these ideas in our culture as well as our music.  Why can Johnny Cash shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die, but when Weezy empties his clip, then rolls his window up, people start raising their eyebrows?  Why can Robert Plant claim that “the soul of a woman was created below“, but when Dre, Snoop, and Daz assert that “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks“, they’re being offensive and destructive to society?

The materialism present in some rap music is probably not as hot-button an issue as these previous two, it’s usually at the end of a long list of complaints by people that want to disparage this music and is framed as more of an annoyance than a full-fledged indictment.  But today I found a really great example of even this more minor evil of rap having its predecessors in more “wholesome” music.

The Majorettes – White Levi’s

Name-brand dropping in rap songs definitely a lot more widespread than it was in 60s pop, but it’s good to be reminded that it wasn’t absent.  It reminds us that our culture really hasn’t changed that much, certain parts might have grown and expanded recently, but the issue itself is not at all new.  The Majorettes’ attitude toward name brands is the same as Rick Ross’s.  But how many people do you know that would scoff and turn their nose up at a rapper named Gucci Mane, but would find this song completely harmless, aesthetically and morally?  The point isn’t whether you want to be an advocate for materialism or not (or violence or misogyny for that matter), it’s whether or not you truly believe that the music we’re making is creating or bolstering these societal problems.  There isn’t a single one of us that doesn’t have a violent side, a bigoted side, a greedy, materialistic side.  But are we really going to believe that hearing a song where an artist channels that particular part of him or herself for a few minutes is going to make people that hear it drop everything and completely indulge that part of themselves?  When I hear a song like Waka Flocka’s “Bustin At ‘Em“, I’m no more likely to murder anyone after listening to it than before because I’ve been raised in an environment that teaches me that things like murder aren’t good things to do, and I live in an environment that doesn’t push me to abandon my morals to survive.  It’s when we create situations where there is little or no choice but to do things you know are wrong or when people start getting relaxed about teaching the youth these moral lessons that they can begin to be affected by something like a song in this way.

But I don’t believe it’s the artist’s role in society to always take the moral high ground and set a glowing example for the youth.  That’s not their job.  That’s why we have parents, grandparents, teachers, elders, priests, rabbis, shaman, monks, imams, chiefs, presidents, and countless other societal roles that are charged with the occupation of being examples to follow in ethical matters.  These are the people that need to be stepping up to do that job, it’s their job to stand on a hilltop or behind a podium and make sure you know that it’s not OK to steal from people, or to persecute people, or to murder people.  It’s the artist’s job to whisper in your ear that if you happen to have a passing thought or urge that defies these moral absolutes, you’re not alone, or crazy, or sick.  As long as our moral leaders are doing their jobs and our society isn’t pushing big groups of people into desperate circumstances, then it’s safe not to fear our artist’s whispers, because all they are doing is comforting us in our times of weakness and imperfection, allowing us to be comfortable with being human.  Flocka himself explained how his music plays that role in our society.

It’s for people that’s going through or living what I’m talking about. It teaches them how to relieve stress verbally instead of physically.

You don’t have to love the vices, you just have to admit that you’re susceptible to them like everybody else is.  I think we could all get along a little better if we all admitted that to ourselves, and each other.

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Ok, now that you’ve had a little time to absorb all that old school flavor from yesterday, here’s the continuation.

This track is reeeal dirty, especially for a New York rapper from the mid-80s.  I might expect some shit like this from Too $hort or somebody like that, but I feel like the east coast is a little more timid to go this far on record, but Just-Ice fuckin goes there.

Just-Ice – That Girl is a Slut

The most obvious track to bring up in relation to this track is Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di” (yes, the inspiration for Snoop and Dre’s “Lodi Dodi“) which it seems came out just a little before the Just-Ice track did.  But what’s especially exciting for me is knowing where the drums came from on this track from the great King Geedorah.

King Geedorah – The Fine Print

Yeahhh, 2/3 slow, 1/3 amazing.  That’s a formula I can get behind.

And if you just can’t get enough Just-Ice-inspired music, here’s a Redman track that reworks the song that got all this started in the first place.

Redman – It’s Like That (feat. K-Solo)

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