So when their supergroup, Mount Westmore, formed in 2020 – at the height of lockdown nostalgia for classic hip-hop act resurgences – it held promise as a potential treat for long-time fans. Released initially over the summer as a series of NFTs, Snoop, Cube, 40, $hort is now available to the general public. But the hour-long, 16-track debut is ultimately not worth the wait. Instead, it stands out more for its stale content, interchangeable beats, and a surprising lack of chemistry between stars who’ve previously worked together – in some cases recently – to great effect.
Before the album’s release speaking to HipHopDX, $hort detailed how the quartet of notorious alphas were pushing each other in the booth. At one point, the other three thought they’d pushed Ice Cube too far and told him to tone down a particular verse. He returned a few hours later and said “I’m not changing shit.” In the same article, the Oakland legend refers to the mood in the studio as “jamming, jamming, jam.”
In the few moments that it works, it’s lightning in a bottle. The four are clearly working to outdo each other on “Too Big,” featuring an earworm of a hook from rapper P-Lo and a fleeting appearance by Dr. Dre, with references to Ferraris, doormen, and smoking with Snoop. Another bright spot, “Free Game” is exactly what it sounds like: the four statesmen taking turns putting the younger generation – which is most of us at this point – on some life lessons, gratis. Buoyed by a funky, 90s throwback beat and a slick opening verse from E-40, the track features the four rappers acknowledge their current stations in life and the industry and decide to give the world a few pointers.
E-40 and Too $hort are clearly the better rappers on the project, outshining their colleagues regularly. They’re able to reference the past without seeming stuck in it, sounding inventive in a way that Snoop and Ice Cube can’t quite keep up with. On songs like “Big Subwoofer” it sounds like Snoop is on cruise control, rather than trying to elevate: “somethin’ to smoke on/ bad bitch to poke on,” he raps thoughtlessly. Unfortunately, the Long Beach native doesn’t offer anything much more inventive than that throughout the hour.
Ice Cube’s results are a bit more mixed. His blistering monologue on “Have a Nice Day” hearkens back to his political roots, namedropping the prison industrial complex and mainstream exploitation of Black culture. He’s in his element as he spits, “See, Granny used to sing ‘We Shall Overcome’/ Sixty years later, we barely got a crumb.” More often, however, like on the overproduced “Activated,” he’s clearly giving lip service and the listener suffers.
Ultimately, Mount Westmore’s debut Snoop, Cube, 40, $hort is a fun meeting of the minds by four West Coast mainstays. It’s not a certified classic, but then again this is a side gig for icons who don’t have much more ground to cover when it comes to music and it plays as such. It’s definitely made for fans of the individuals’ previous work and the West Coast genre, and perhaps even for the artists themselves. That comfortable dynamic might’ve made for a fun time in the studio, but it makes for a hollow experience for the average listener.
I like about half of that Mt Westmore album. Felt like the beats on some were amazingly dope af then half was kinda average run of the mill retreads of hyphy sounds 40 already did a couple albums of.
— Stylie And The Family (@djwyliestylieee) December 18, 2022
This Mt Westmore album is good but it’s not for people born after 1995 this not them folks type of music but Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, Too Short, & E-40 did their thing
— DJ (@DJTooReal920) December 20, 2022
This Mt. Westmore album pretty tight as is but I still want a sequel with Dre, Quik and Battlecat on some of them beats. An Ice T verse. A King T verse. Money B. Spice 1. Mac Mall… The potential is off the chain like a broken bike! https://t.co/v5xdwCncww
— Mayor Of My Square ♥️🖤💚 (@MAYORCOOLEY) December 10, 2022
MOUNT WESTMORE???!! 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/1EPooFT45v
— Aye Yo Jazz (@itsayeyojazz) December 15, 2022