Reggae singer Snoop Lion–formerly the rapper Snoop Dogg–has put up a new single from his forthcoming album “Reincarnated” titled “No Guns Allowed”:
Given the highly emotional debate over guns that has raged since the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in December 2012, some might question the timing of this song’s release, but Snoop has been working on the songs from “Reincarnated” presumably since 2011. It’s very unlikely this was penned with any pending gun laws in mind.
Rather, it seems Snoop’s focus is entering a new life phase, which appears to include a subtle rebuke of the gang culture so closely tied to the style of rap which made him famous. While he has stated in interviews that he cannot abandon his identity as a “East Side Long Beach Rollin 20s Crip,” other songs from “Reincarnation” emphasize unity over the territorial aggression of gangsta rap.
The real pitfall of “No Guns Allowed” is its production. Snoop and his daughter Cori B give solid vocal performances with a seldom-rousing melody, but the Major Lazer arrangement and Drake guest verse lack any flicker of inspiration. Couple that with the distractingly lazy use of what I assume is a sample from Beirut’s “Nantes,” and the track doesn’t groove or inspire quite like other pre-release “Incarnation” cuts, such as “Lighters Up.” I guess it’s inevitable; the Major Lazer/Mad Decent world of music has defined reggae for a good many years now, and Diplo & co. are in such high demand, they probably have to rush a few songs here and there to keep up.