By Justin Hunte. HipHopDX was on hand for Snoop Dogg’s preview of his album with Pharrell, “Bush.” Here’s the skinny on Snoop Dogg’s 13th studio album, Bush: It’s 10 tracks, just over 30 minutes in length, and entirely produced by Pharrell. The album features guest appearances from Stevie Wonder, Charlie Wilson, Gwen Stefani, T.I., Rick Ross, and Kendrick Lamar and includes so few instances of profanity that it’s debatable whether the project will receive a Parental Advisory sticker.
“We’ll get one for Kendrick,” Snoop says during a private listening session held in Los Angeles last week (April 23). “Kendrick couldn’t hold it back.” Minus lines like K.Dot’s gem “There’s a trophy in that pussy and I’m gonna cum in first place” off album closer, “I’m Yo Dog” (also featuring Rick Ross), Bush is essentially built for all ages.
“I’ve seen some kids and when my shit comes out, they always showing the babies on Instagram or Facebook,” Snoop says. “There’s like eight little videos they showed me of kids that were like seven or eight years old standing in front of the TV singing ‘We like to go in!’ They don’t even know the words but it’s the cutest shit in the world to see the kids. I don’t trip off of the adults because when I was a kid, I remember certain artists music hit my ears and it never left my soul. I feel like that’s what I’m doing. If I’m hitting the kids in the ear, it’s touching their soul and it’s gonna stay with them forever and they’re gonna love Snoop Dogg. They’re gonna love what I stand for whether it’s the records now or the records they’ll be able to listen to when they grow up or just my movement in general: Me as a father, a coach, as a man in general. They’ll be able to understand the dynamics of who this is through the vessel of the music touching their soul.”
“I think Reincarnated was more of a spiritual upliftment that I was in need for at that time. I think it’s with me forever now and it enlightened me on finding out what I needed to be doing with myself on and off the field. Meaning, during the game and after the game as far as not just making the music and not having a real connection to the people that make me who I am. That journey through Jamaica put me in tune again. Sometime you can get so far into the game to where you lose focus on who really gave you the position of the power. We get clouded with our vision because success puts material things in front of us as opposed to the reality which is the people. Now that I found the people again, my origin is funk, my origin is this music I’m making right now. I’ve never been able to do a whole record like this because I’ve always been Snoop Dogg the rapper or so gangster or so hard or so this or so that. Now I’m able to take full advantage of what I’m doing and make a record that feels good to me and not really trip off of if it’s going to sell. What are they going to say? How they feel? This feels good to me so that’s all that matters. Pharrell is such a great producer to where he knows how to fine tune me and take me and get the best out of me where a lot of people just get a little bit out of me. He gets it all of out of me.”
The Meaning Behind Bush
“Pharrell created that. He created it for many reasons. For the reasons of [marijuana], for a woman’s private area, for a bush afro, for bushes outside. It’s just so many different meanings that when he said it, it wasn’t even no [debate]. But when I was with him in the studio I was smoking. He wasn’t smoking, but that second hand smoke was wearing his ass out. This nigga was fucked up but he was coming up with some dope shit. I was like, ‘You know what? I got him where I need him at right now. He’s so in my zone and don’t even know it.’”
Bush Took 4 Months To Create
“I think it took about four months at the max. We didn’t go back-to-back like everyday. We did three days a month and then we created “So Many Pros.” We did another rough and then we came to California and we did another three days. Then we had to wait for our schedules to come back together and then we did another three days. And then we did like four days. It was almost like that on or off process where we’re trying to find time. Remember, Pharrell’s album was out and that nigga was banging. He’s the hottest mutherfucker in the world and he’s finding time to stop that and come give me this. When we initially went in, it was like, his record was out but it just felt like to me, his record didn’t satisfy all of his tastebuds. He was missing something. Me, was the last ingredient that he was missing. That’s just what I felt. I came in right on time to where he was like, ‘Man, if I could’ve just put this kind of song on there. Wow, there’s Snoop. I’ll just do a whole album with him and I’ll take care of all of what’s missing.’”
Pharrell Wrote Bush For Snoop Dogg
“That’s all Pharrell because a lot of this record he wrote for me or he had it wrote for me. So my pen was mainly for the rapping and a little bit of the melodies on certain songs. But that was him. He gave me the platform and had the people write it and gave me the direction that he felt that I should be in. When you’re writing for Snoop Dogg, you write ‘Hoes.’ It was just melodic and it just sounded good so it wasn’t offensive even when it was dirty it wasn’t offensive. It moved harder when it was ‘So Many Hoes!’ To me it moved harder like that. But then it went ‘So Many Pros!’ I get it because I’m a musical minded person but the average person listening wouldn’tve got it. They would’ve liked ‘Hoes’ or ‘Pros.’ But for the professionalism of business and where I am and where we want to take this record to, that made the most sense and I even appreciate Pharrell for even saying that to me because y’all noticed that. I don’t think I even cussed but two or three times on the record.”
‘Runaway’ Features Gwen Stefani
“It’s like, come with me right now while the world is getting ugly. Join me on this journey of happiness. I can put you in a place where you’re not even focused on what the world is doing. You’re focused on what we’re doing. That’s how I maintained my happiness through all of the ugliness going on in the world. I suffered through tragedies. I lost my uncle Junebug. I lost Nate Dogg. I lost Tupac. I lost a lot of people that meant a lot to me but I still maintained my ability to stay fresh and stay positive and stay me and keep happiness in everything around me. I believe that that record is one way of showing that despite the world is getting ugly, you can still maintain your happiness and runaway and have fun and be you and do you.”
“I blame that on Pharrell. I laid both of them on him. He wrote the song ‘So Many Hoes.’ Once I spit it, they was loving it. All the girls, everybody. It was just the shit but they weren’t paying attention to that. Pharrell was like, ‘Man, we should change it to ‘Pros’ because all these pro athletes and sports people love you and it can be on ESPN.’ He just starts thinking out of the box with it. I was like, ‘Well nigga, shit, they like it when I call them hoes. But you know what’s best. If you need me to put on a suit and tie on and clean my face up for you, I’ma do that for you, dawg because you know what’s best.’ That’s what I love about him as a friend, he’s not afraid to challenge me. The average producer would’ve been like, ‘Nah, leave that shit like that.’ He’s like, ‘Nah, I’m gonna challenge you to make it clean because you’re grown now. You ain’t 25 [years-old] no more. You’re 43 [years-old]. You’re grown. You’ve got a daughter. When we put it out this way, it’s going to be accepted by the masses as opposed to it being minimized behind that one word.’”
“Awake” Is About Waking Up The World
“I think we’re trying to wake the world. We’re trying to wake everybody up to what’s good for you. It may be weed. It may be just open mindedness and just being aware of the fact that you should wake up. Some of us walk around sleep and don’t even know it. It’s really speaking to many minds of those that need to awoke, that need to have an awakening. Pharrell, when he gives me songs, we spiritually connect. Sometimes I don’t know what the song means when we we’re doing them. It takes a minute for that song to live with you and for it to grow. Once that motherfucker grows, then it becomes, ‘OK, I get it.’ That’s the spirit of making music sometimes. We don’t understand it until it speaks to you. I don’t know why I made ‘Murder Was The Case.’ I hadn’t had a case. I hadn’t been to jail for murder. But as soon as I wrote it and we put it out, ‘Rapper Snoop Dogg On Trial For Murder.’ That’s why I don’t write songs like that no more.
Snoop Rarely Uses Profanity On Bush
“It was the standard. It was like what people heard. If I sent a record to you and you hear me not cuss, how could you cuss? T.I. did his thing on the ‘Edibles’ song. I like that. He was in pocket. When you send people a record, they’re gonna go off of your vibe. Rick Ross sent me the ‘Quintessential’ record. It’s a new single he has out right now. He sent it to me. Just had his verse and it cut off. I’m like, ‘Damn, this shit sounds like some pimp shit. My whole life is based on some pimp shit. No movies, no money, just pimp shit.’ I’m writing this shit down and I get to the end of my verse and I start singing some shit. My nigga called me after he heard it like, ‘Man, I’ma use that as the hook.’ I’m like, ‘Ok, nigga do your thing.’ He said, ‘Can you do a little bit more at the end?’ He inspired me to do that. When I gave him my record, he showed me the love back. ‘I ain’t gonna disrespect your record. I’m gonna put something down real saucy for you in case you want to go to radio with it.’
Snoop Explains Biting Vs. Paying Tribute
“Realistically, I come from the world of battle rap. I used to be a battle rapper before I got a record deal. I always had the attitude that ‘Y’all can’t fuck with me.’ That’s my attitude when I drop my record. ‘Y’all can’t fuck with me.’ That ain’t derogatory. That ain’t conceited. That ain’t negative. That’s just an energy, a confidence of knowing that my shit don’t sound like yours. You can’t put mines on and put his on and be like ‘They rapping the same way.’ No disrespect to that rap style, but everybody’s doing that. Do you wanna fade away with that style or do you wanna maintain. Right now I may not win. I may not be the most talked about when I come out. But when the dust clears, I’m still gonna be standing. I don’t know who is who when everyone is doing that rap style. I love Future, Migos, I love them all, Drake, I love them all. But I don’t know who is who when the record is on. When I came out as a rapper, every rapper had his own style. If you sound like him, that word was called ‘biting.’ You biting my style. You biting my shit. If you take my shit, you’re biting it. But if you pay it tribute, like which I did with ‘La Di Da Di’ with Slick Rick and Dougie Fresh. Pay tribute to niggas who I grew up loving. ‘C’mon, we’re gonna redo your song, get you paid all over again and let everybody know it’s your shit and put a twist on it for the new kids that don’t even know it exists.’ That’s a different way of showing love as opposed to just everybody rapping the same style.”
“That’s my uncle. That’s my teacher. What people don’t know is that our relationship is so deep. From the moment I seen him, I seen him at AM/PM on crack with no record deal doing super bad when I was on Death Row Records. He came up to my car. I was like, man, ‘Are you Charlie Wilson from The Gap Band?’ He was like, ‘Yeah.’ I was like, ‘Man, I love your shit, man.’ I gave him a few dollars. I was like, ‘Man, if I ever could do something for you, I would love to help you, man.’ Long story short, my homegirl Val Young—Lady V, which is an OG in the game—she brings him to the studio. I put him on a song called ‘Off The Hook’ with me, him, and El Debarge. Now imagine this: They’re all on crack. But I’m on weed. The spirit is, ‘I don’t want y’all doing crack no more. Let’s make some music. Let’s figure this out.’ From that day we started working together. Then he brought his counselor up there, his drug counselor who eventually became his wife because she stood by his side every day of his life. I love her to death. Just seeing him going on the road with me and show me how to perform. I was good, but he showed me how to be great. He really taught me how to hold the crowd. He taught me how to musically direct a band; how to have conversation when I’m on stage; how to never lose connection with the crowd and how to always sound better than the record on stage. That’s a trick. A lot of niggas gotta rap over their shit. I’ve never done that. Charlie Wilson has never done that.
“And then to see me go to No Limit Records, he was still there with me. I brought him on that journey. Then to see me get back with Dr. Dre, to see him get with R. Kelly, to see him get with me and Pharrell, and now to see him be the #1 touring act. He’s the #1 touring act right now financially. Look it up. God is good. I don’t even credit myself. I look at it like it’s a spiritual thing. That’s why it all comes back around again. It’s so magical that when you put your heart in the right place, this is what happens. To see his success means more than my success because that’s somebody I grew up loving and I seen him at his lowest point. Now to see him at his highest point—and he beat cancer—to see all of these amazing things happen for him and him being a mentor in my relationship with my wife when me and my wife were having problems and him telling me ‘Fuck that, nephew, go home. Leave them hoes alone. You going home.’ And really being there for me and redirecting me, this is a real relationship right here. A lot of times we can’t say it, but if you listen to my record, there’s a reason why he’s on every mutherfucking song.”
Quincy Jones Taught Snoop How To Make Hit Records
“It’s an instinct. It’s like a kid that rides a bike and then he ain’t rode a bike in 20 years and you give it back to him. He’s gonna master that shit. It’s a technique. We have an instinct about what we want to hear. E-40 once told me, ‘Cousin Snoop, you know why you great? Because you pick dope beats.’ It ain’t what you say, it starts with the beat. You gotta pick the dope beat to get it going on and on.’ When I’m with Pharrell, he’s a dope beat maker so it ain’t hard to pick. And if me and him both picking the same shit, we’re already halfway home. The other half is the lyrics. If I’m a dope rapper, what are we dealing with? We play the odds when we’re in the studio. Quincy Jones taught me that. He said, ‘When you go to the studio, have a target that you’re aiming at and play the odds. That way you’ll make a hit record. Don’t go in there trying to make a hit record because you won’t.”
Bush Addresses Snoop Lion Vs. Snoop Dogg
“It’s all together. It was hard to understand because anytime you change in your life for the betterment of the right, there’s gonna be a lot of misunderstanding. If I would’ve just said ‘I’m Snoop Lion a cold killer / I been killing and eating muthafuckas in the jungle for years,’ niggas would’ve went with it. But I was like, ‘I’m on peace.’ But I had to show the movie and the documentary. Once you saw the movie and the documentary and the journey and the connection between me and Bob Marley and Reggae music and how Reggae has always been a part of my music, but I never understood Reggae music. I just loved the way it sounds and I love the Reggae artists and I loved the Rastaman that I would always meet and the way that I smoke weed, but I didn’t understand the culture.
“When I went there to discover the music culture, I found the spiritual culture that addressed me better than the culture that I was raised in as far as the Baptist church. It spoke to me as a man. The Baptist church spoke to myths as a kid. My grandmama know all them old Bible myths. The Rastafari was speaking to me right now. When you read something that’s so close to you and you read something that’s so not you, what are you supposed to believe? This man right here looks like me. That man in the Bible look like me, too. He looks just like this but they twist it this way and this way untwist it. I’m old enough to understand now. Momma, you can’t make me believe what you want me to believe. I got enough thought now to where I may need to be teaching you too, momma, because you may be lost. Them old ways, remember they taught us with trickery. They tricked us in everything they taught us. That’s why it’s their history and not ours. That’s why you must got find out what your history is and make it your own history. His-story. Hello.” Bush will be released on May 12 and is currently available for preorder on iTunes.