For weeks, it seemed, I had been receiving emails from the Def Jam record label about a new album from Snoop Dogg. It was called The Algorithm, and was a compilation of sorts, the first project from Snoop in his role with the company, announced last June, as a ‘creative consultant.’
Then I was sitting on my couch one day last week, in the late afternoon, watching a show with my daughter. It was called Ask the StoryBots, on Netflix, and in the show, each episode is about these little robots (I think they’re robots?) named Beep, Bing, Bang, Boop and Bo, as they try to answer a question.
The particular episode we landed on that day, totally at random, was called: “How Do Computers Work?” And so there I am, halfway paying attention, my eyes focused on my phone, looking at some random ass thing, my kid tucked under my arm, staring straight at the screen, when who shows up — Snoop Dogg! He’s explaining computers, rather succinctly I might add, and I think, this guy is everywhere.
Later that day, I get in the car to run a few errands —Thanksgiving was coming up — and I turn on the album, Snoop Dogg Presents Algorithm, which had been released on November 19th. I get through one song, “Alright,” featuring Redman, Method Man and Nefertitti Avani, and I think, gee, this is … different. Pianos, bass, an actual groove. It felt like old Snoop Dogg, and that was a good thing.
But it was the next song, “No Bammer Weed,” that really jumped out at me. Potentially inspired by RBL Posse’s 1991 Bay Area classic “Don’t Give Me No Bammer,” which saw itself get a real remake last year by Wiz Khalifa with “Bammer” (including a Snoop Dogg cameo in the video), the song is ostensibly about what its title suggests — an ode to good weed; hardly the most original concept, particularly when it comes to Snoop, but the beat is infectious, and Snoop attacks it with a renewed energy, C-walking all over the track.
The rest of The Algorithm is a mixed bag (“Murder Music,” featuring Benny the Butcher, Busta Rhymes and Jadakiss, seems to have a gotten a lot of attention), a mish-mash of different styles, potentially by design. Consider the title, a play on the notion that, these days, there is nothing an artist can do but submit themselves to the will of the algorithm, the complex set of computerized whims that, whether you are on Spotify, YouTube or some other streaming service, seemingly spits out music at random, based on things you’ve already listened to, things you might want to listen to, and things that record labels want you to listen to.
The effect, Snoop seems to suggest, is that whatever you want, this album has got. And he might actually be right.
Listen: Snoop Dogg — “No Bammer Weed”