The last couple of years have seen a stampede of rappers branching out into dance music, many of them under the tutelage of David Guetta. Count Snoop Dogg among the pack; he turned up on Guetta’s “Sweat” last year, surprising absolutely no one — after all, for Snoop to turn down a guest verse would be like Carl Weathers declining a free brunch buffet. But a new DJ mix from from the Death Row legend under his DJ Snoopadelic alias suggests that the Los Angeles rapper is grooving to the beat of a different drummer. Instead of glowstick-friendly stabs, whooshes and drops, Snoop’s “Tekno Euro Mixx” offers a selection of some of the duskiest, silkiest house around.
It sure ain’t “Euro tekno,” but no complaints there: the hour-long mix includes moody, disco-infused tracks like 6th Borough Project’s “Just a Memory,” Kasper Bjørke’s “Heaven (Prins Thomas Diskomiks),” Lovebirds & Vincenzo’s “M.U.S.I.C. (Fred Everything’s Lazy Days Remix)” and even Genius of Time’s “Houston We Have a Problem.” (He particularly seems to have a thing for Hot Toddy, who turns up on remixes of Joey Negro and Crazy P.) Taking in labels like Clone Royal Oak and 20:20 Vision, it’s the kind of tracklisting you might expect from Aeroplane or the Juan MacLean, but never Mr. Gin & Juice.
In an era when too many commercial jocks are tailoring their playlists to the digital retailers’ top-10 charts, it’s refreshing that Snoop doesn’t seem to mind digging a little deeper. One cut, Martin Buttrich’s “Meeting Dave Dish,” dates back to 2004, and then there’s Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It,” from 1979, which nestles nicely amidst shimmying nu-disco two decades its junior.
It’s hard to say whether or not it’s been mixed in Ableton, with Traktor or Serato software, or on CDJs. (It can’t be vinyl, because “I Can’t Help It” slows considerably without lowering in pitch.) The mixing is loose enough to suggest, however, that it was done in real-time, and not patched together in audio software. Again: refreshing.
Snoop’s next album, Reincarnated, is due out later this year, but in the meantime he seems to have reincarnated himself — at least for the time being — as house music’s unlikeliest champion. With the O.G. in the house, it looks like DJ Sneak finally has some competition for the title of “Real House Gangster.”