Soundtrack albums are the schwag-weed of the rap world. They’re lousy with seeds (superfluous guest spots) and stems (obtrusive movie dialogue), and no matter how tightly sequenced the final product is, they leave the impression that someone had to stretch their supply. But if the MIA release date for Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s ganja-fueled buddy flick Mac And Devin Go To High School is any indication, the movie is secondary to the music, and the pound-for-pound quality of the accompanying album seems to confirm that. While the sharp keys and lite Jackson 5 bounce of the Bruno Mars-aided single “Young, Wild And Free” have a disconcertingly high sheen, the rest of High School offers G-Funk from the bottom of the bong, encompassing purple horn-drenched Baduisms (“Talent Show”), rough-cut ’80s synth samples (“6:30”), and even glitchy bloops and bleeps (“Smokin’ On”).
Considering that a Mac And Devin lyrical word cloud would undoubtedly take the form of a weed leaf, it’s shocking that Snoop sounds less stoned than at any other time during his career, whether he’s rapping in double-time against the syrupy soul of “OG” (featuring Curren$y) or spinning spacey riddles over atmospheric R&B on “French Inhale.” Likewise, Wiz sounds invigorated by working with his idol; he doesn’t kowtow and he’s never lacking for innovative ways to rap about getting high. (To wit: “Prepare for quantity, but quality is what you spend for / If there’s a marijuanaology, I’d be a mentor.”) If Cheech And Chong are looking for a continuation course, they could do a lot worse than to start here.