The problem Calvin Broadus has is persuading the rest of us that he still a baaaad muthafucka. Snoop is now 45 and a rather avuncular figure in the US, with his own reality TV show in which he comes across as, God help us, likeable. Those days of running with the Crips in Los Angeles are long behind him, a testament to the redemptive power of huge amounts of money.
Is he still of the streets? Neva Left is the defiant response, his best collection for many years. Snoop has immersed himself in a studio with a collection of artists who broke through at about the same time as he did. So this is kinda trad rap, much as Kenny Ball used to dotrad jazz.
But none the worse for it — the album is richly melodic (Snoop always had an ear for a good tune) and the rhythms hugely sophisticated. All underpinnedby Mr Dogg’s rich, soft growl of a voice.
On his day, there is no one in this marvellously profane genre who can touch him. The mask slips a little from time to time — in one song he talks about riding a bicycle with his grandkids in the park. And on the lead single from the album, ‘Mount Kushmore’ — a clattering homage to Snoop’s favourite thing of all, marijuana — he mentions an intention to ‘slip my dick in your daughter’. At your age, Snoop,that comes across as just a littlebit pervy.
The answer to the question, is he still bad? On this showing, not bad at all.