FOR HIS 16TH ALBUM, SNOOP DOGG HONORS HIS GRANDMOTHER’S DEDICATION TO GOSPEL WITH A SWEEPING, 32-TRACK EFFORT THAT FEATURES SOME OF THE MOST FAMOUS NAMES IN BOTH GOSPEL AND R&B
BY TIA KIM
A conversation concerning who was the most innovative rap artist can quickly descend into at least condescension, at most acrimony. It’s easy, then, to point to its earliest practitioners, like DJ Kool Herc and DJ Hollywood, for special mention, then to the first true sales giants like Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, and very shortly afterwards Dr. Dre and The Notorious B.I.G., who turned hip-hop culture (of which rap is a component) into a national phenomenon. For our money, however, the first artist to combine sales success, synergistic branding, and true cross-media-platform integration was and is Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., aka Snoop Dogg. In the years since his 1993 debut studio disc, Doggstyle which debuted at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Billboard top R&B/hip-hop’s album charts the Long Beach, California native has sold more than 35 million albums, in part because of an innovative vocal style in which understatement somehow makes the words more powerful. In short, Snoop doesn’t need to shout. But of course, that’s just one component of the 46-year-old’s wit, which also includes a degree of self-parody and a canny eye for off-music projects, principally movie appearances in films like Training Day, Starsky & Hutch, and Brüno, as well as numerous TV projects.
And while he may not need to raise his voice, he might, given his March released Bible of Love, need to be saved. His sixteenth album and first-ever gospel project, it’s also the first release from Snoop’s All The Time Entertainment label, which was launched to provide a platform for gospel artists. Co-executive produced by Lonny Bereal, the 32-track double disc offers airspace to a wonderfully diverse roster of voices spanning generations, mostly from the R&B ranks. Standouts include B. Slade, Faith Evans, Rance Allen, The Clark Sisters, and Tye Tribbett.
Crediting his grandmother for introducing him to gospel music, Snoop explained of the new project, “I am blessed to have so many legendary friends join me on this journey. As the country is in one of its heaviest times and is so divided, I wanted to make an album that spreads love and unity around the world. That’s what I was taught, so that’s all I know. Real love.” Amen to that!