21 December, 2011@4:33 pm
Like-minded individuals Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa have joined together for Mac & Devin Go To High School, a full-length movie and accompanying soundtrack. Admittedly, with Wiz’s buzz deflating slightly after the lukewarm response to Rolling Papers, and an album from Snoop that went virtually unnoticed by the hip-hop community (Doggumentary), expectations for this were pretty low. But after a few listens, Snoop and Wiz’s collabo is surprisingly solid.
While not exactly billed as a concept album, it definitely is one, as Snoop and Wiz adopt the roles of Mac and Devin, two teenage stoners that rap about girls, weed, and high school, over a series of chilled out, grooving west-coast beats. The album opens with it’s most agressive track, “Smokin’ On”, a bouncy Juicy J concoction that may be looking for club-play, but it’s only used to grab the average listener’s attention, as the rest of the LP is as chilled out as the duo’s collective personalities.
So, without the pressures to create a major radio single – and a definitive concept to stick to – the album has a strongly focused direction and sound, that of mellow, 70′s soul samples and rhymes from the perspective of their younger selves. Tracks like the Exile produced “You Can Put It In A Zag…” and the Nottz helmed “6:30″ have just the right amount of rawness, while both “Talent Show” and the Jake One backed “Go Steady” pervert usual academic concepts into lush, pimped out tracks to smoke or drive to. Even the album’s lead single, “Young, Wild, and Free” (feat. Bruno Mars) is a likeable radio cut that doesn’t overdo it with lame pop formulas or over-the-top production.
Both in their element, Snoop and Wiz have a natural chemistry on the mic together, not unlike that of Redman and Method Man. Mac and Devin Go To High School is a beautifully consistent LP, that surprises on all fronts. With Wiz and Snoop both delivering passable solo releases this year, perhaps this is just what they needed to restore faith in their fanbases. Roll that shit, light that shit, smoke it.
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