Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TBG Beats: "Kush" -- Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg and Akon

M'man Nick'a e-mails:

"The new Dr. Dre song is the same old piano loop sh*t...and quite awesome."

new Dr. Dre song is called "Kush". Before the above e-mail, I hadn't heard it. Nick nailed the most notable feature, as Andre Young does love those piano keys. As for the "awesome"?

Yeah, I'd say that's spot-on.

The administrators at YouTube have been atypically authoritarian in taking down the unreleased song from their site, so I can't guarantee that the above link will work. If it doesn't, head on over and give one of the other illicit copies a listen.

Dre -- who's never been known for his lyricism -- is helped here by some overt ghostwriting. My guess is that Dre's recent reconciliation with former protégé The Game resulted in the first verse. The growling delivery when Dre spits, "Cross that line..." and the serpentine sentence structure are straight out of Game's playbook.

I can't say I've ever been a fan of Akon, but his hooks are usually solid -- particularly on party cuts -- and he's just here to give Dre a bit of a rub with the young'uns. Snoop Dogg, on the other hand, sounds better here than he has in ten years ("Still I am. Tighter than the pants on") I'm not ready to forgive Tha D-O-double G for his last two or three albums, but his energy in the second verse is worth the return of some goodwill.

The bridge is little bittersweet for me, though, as the Nate Dogg sound-alike ("Hold up, wait a minute...") is an unpleasant reminder of the health woes that have befallen
the genuine article.

Oddly, in an era where ANY album publicity within the music industry is an endangered species, Dr. Dre has gone on the offensive to
tamp down discussions and expectations regarding his long-awaited Detox album. If "Kush" is the first single, I'm ready to put it towards the top half of the singles in Dr. Dre's catalog. And, since you didn't ask, here's the list without "Kush":

Deep Cover -- The definitive west coast track. Instantly legitimized Snoop Dogg and the g-funk genre.

California Love -- Originally slated for Dre's never-released Chronic II follow-up on Death Row Records. The addition of Tupac turned it into the label's biggest hit.

Let Me Ride -- Love, love, love the beat. The remixes with extended Snoop verses are equally phenomenal.

Still D.R.E. -- Famously ghostwritten by Jay-Z. Snoop's "sticky icky icky" throwaway line took on a life of its own.

Nuthin' But A G-Thang -- Overplayed to death on all the old-school rap stations. Unquestionably one of the seminal songs of the 1990s.

Keep Their Heads Ringin' -- I'm in the minority on this, but I've always dug this song. On the soundtrack of my life for the summer of 1995.

Bad Intentions -- Dre's failed attempt to create a new Snoop Dogg. Knoc-turnal had a decent flow, but he always seemed overshadowed by the beats.

Natural Born Killaz -- True story: I was once at a strip club where THIS was one of the songs played.

Tha Next Episode -- The unreleased original version was better, but Nate Dogg's appearance at the end nearly saves this one.

Forgot About Dre -- Mrs. Bootleg LOVES this track. For me, the Eminem hook got old quick.

Dre Day -- The first Death Row Records diss track. It became the template for their over-the-top attack cuts in later years.

Been There, Done That -- This song and this album never happened. Cool? Cool.


NY Jon said...

Lists are FUN to bash!

"Forgot About Dre" is too low. WAY too low. And I'm glad you can appreciate how wrong you are about "Keep Their Heads Ringing". That's from Dre's "I want off this label" stretch where the most effort he expended was the narration of the "intro" on Dogg Food.

Other Joe said...

Apparently he's on the cover of the latest issue of The Source.

The Aftermath Album gave us three memorable things:

1) Been There Done That
2) East Coast-West Coast Killas
3) Mel-Man - Shittin' On The World - a horrible song complete with a picture of Mel-Man literally "shittin' on the world" that Google Images does not have a photo of.

that mexican guy said...

Snoop Dogg, on the other hand, sounds better here than he has in ten years...

I think you're right about Game writing for Dre and I'll bet that he did Snoop's verse too. The line is from Game's reflexive need to poke at everyone.

I like "Kush" a lot but I wonder how an artist nearing 50 years old can convincingly promote a rap album unless EVERY song is just ONE Dr. Dre verse with a focus on the guest stars and beats.

(Come to think of it, that's what he did on his first two albums.)

Other Joe said...

@Mex - I read online the "new Snoop" for this album is going to be Kendrick Lamar. He's had a few mixtapes out. Hope he fares better than Hittman after all is said and done.

I remember hearing something about the reason why the album has taken so long is that Dre had to find the right balance of what he should say as an almost 50 year old and what the public would really want to hear. Sounds like he's going to drop some old age wisdom with his verses and let Kendrick and the others preach the gangsta lifestyle.

Josh said...

Other than disagreement on Forgot About Dre (I'm with Jon), I'm in almost complete agreement with you on your list. That's stunning. I'd probably slot it at number 6 and stick with the rest as is.

that detox nicka said...

I thought that WAS Nate Dogg in the song!!!

Not really his singles but I like Phone Tap-Firm, Hello-Ice Cube, Guilty Conscience-Eminem, Say What You Say-Eminem, Just Dippin-Snoop, The Watcher 2-Jay Z, Imagine-Snoop...

that mexican guy said...

LOVE "The Watcher 2". If ever a song could be dated (Truth Hurts? Aftermath Rakim?!) and underrated it's this one.

"Guilty Conscience" is just crazy. Still. Holds up really well by itself and the video is a classic.