By Josiah Martin | Asst. A&E Editor
Snoop Dogg is a talented and multifaceted artist — an interesting figure in the world of music. His 16th studio album Snoop Dogg Presents Bible of Love is, to say the least, an uninteresting project.
Before saying anything else about this release musically, it must be stated that this album is long. Gruelingly, unnecessarily long. At two hours and 14 minutes, Bible of Love surpasses the length of any other double album worth naming. The Beatles’ self-titled record is a measly hour and 33 minutes. The Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death is a quick hour and 49 minutes.
Creating an album of such astounding length is fine so long as the music contained within it is interesting, dynamic and capable of holding the listener’s attention for the entirety of the runtime. Unfortunately for Snoop Dogg, and very unfortunately for his listeners, Bible of Love is slow, homogenous and overall unenjoyable.
Bible of Love is primarily a gospel album, produced by Snoop Dogg and featuring music written and performed by a variety of gospel artists. Snoop Dogg himself only appears on nine of the 32 tracks.
Gospel is a compelling and beautiful genre of music, so the tracks should be able to stand on their own, especially with features like gospel superstars The Clark Sisters and vocal legend Patti LaBelle.
With a few exceptions, however, most of the songs are run-of-the-mill gospel music, reminiscent of the type of flat organ-and-choir stock music you’d expect to hear in a shopping mall candle store.
The anomalies, however, are notably enjoyable and worth mentioning by name. “Defeated” features a stand-out lead vocal by pastor and gospel musician John P. Kee. “Sunshine Feel Good,” “You” and especially “Chizzle” have a more tangible Snoop Dogg influence on their production, and balance his funk-inspired style of hip-hop production with gospel music in a very effective way. “My God” features a passionate and memorable lead vocal by James Wright and the best of Snoop Dogg’s few raps on the album.
Lyrically, the album explores religious themes in a fairly predictable and traditional gospel way. Snoop Dogg’s verses do come off as earnest and not as forced in their subject matter as one might expect going in to the album. It seems that Snoop Dogg did intend to do an honestly religious album, and his lyrics feel genuinely heartfelt. Possible accusations that he chose to create a gospel album simply to sell records are easily refuted by the fact that this album appeals to nobody.
The issue with Bible of Love is that it should have something for everyone, with its unique blend of styles. On the contrary, it has nothing for anyone. Gospel fans aren’t going to pick up a Snoop Dogg album, and hip-hop fans aren’t going to pick up a gospel album. The only types of people who will listen to the entirety of this album are hardcore Snoop Dogg fans and masochistic Arts & Entertainment writers.
Bible of Love is not worth the listen. If it were a third of its length, and branded as simply a gospel compilation album, it might be a pleasant treat for fans of the genre. This project was clearly well-intentioned, but Snoop Dogg did not do all that he could to help this album reach its full potential.