Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” is far from my favorite, yet somehow no song captures the fun times I had in the 90’s quite like it. Every time Snoop utters the phrase, “With so much drama in the LBC…” I’m immediately taken on a trip down memory lane. I’m on Third Street in the MQT with Andy, Tews, and Gillespie drinking 40’s before an Erotic Chieftains gig. I’m at a party sippin’ on gin and juice at 910 Elmwood in Oshkosh with Tyson and Craig Mack. I’m at one of the countless basement parties at 3013 Maryland in Milwaukee with the Project Crew. Maybe I’m just in Tyson’s Chevette (RIP, Ho) with Tyson and Tews on a Friday night on the way to T Bell at 1:00 AM for a six pack of soft tacos and a million laughs. That song doesn’t just bring back good memories. I actually feel them in my heart when I hear it.
It’s been years since anything Snoop recorded has moved me like that, but now I have Anderson .Paak. After 2016’s Malibu and Yes Lawd! became two of my three favorite albums of this decade, I had impossibly high hopes for Oxnard when it dropped in this past November. To call it a disappointment is unfair. Were people disappointed in whatever Michelangelo painted after the Sistine Chapel? Unlike the previous two albums, Oxnard actually has a few tracks that I skip. Still a good hit rate, but not 100% like the others. I’ve still been listening to it for two months straight, not counting occasional breaks for Christmas music. I love Christmas music, but it doesn’t exactly bang in my truck on the way to work like “Tints” or “6 Summers“.
The song that has continued to grow on me is a healthy dose of 1990’s nostalgia called “Anywhere” featuring Snoop Dogg. The track opens with a nice laid back beat and a dope bass line. Then Snoop steps in sounding like it’s 1993 again reminiscing about the old days. He’s rapping about G Funk and shouting out Nate Dogg and Warren G. Then after 16 bars of classic hip hop .Paak slides in. Damn near every line is a reference to R&B music from back in the day. H Town, 112, Dru Hill, De Barge, Ready for the World, Xscape, Jodeci. In the chorus .Paak starts sounding just like Jodeci singing, “We’ll get back to all that ghetto shit we liiiiiiike…” and I can picture Craig, Tyson, Ruhl, and I playing this song on the jukebox at Nads while drinking summer hummers and smoking shitlogs.
Anderson .Paak made an appearance on The Daily Show sans Snoop in December and performed a stripped down version of the song. As always, .Paak’s voice is silky smooth and his drums sound impeccable. T Nava is on the vocorder/talk box sounding like Roger Troutman. There’s a trumpet player (sorry, was unable to get his name) with some heavy effects on his instrument somehow making it sound like something completely different even though it’s obvious to the eye that he’s playing an actual trumpet. It’s a mellow performance for a guy that’s usually high energy.
What I’m attempting to say in 500 words is that nobody has quite nailed the feel of the mid-90’s hip hop/R&B jam like Snoop and .Paak did on this song. Don’t sleep on it. I’m also saying that I miss my boys and we’re overdue to hang out.