No stranger to the Nickelodeon house band Big Time Rush (he appeared in their TV movie Big Time Christmas)—or, for that matter, pop-rap hybrids—Snoop Dogg does his best to find a pocket in the pleasant enough beat of the 2010 track “Boyfriend.” He’s slightly off throughout his two verses, but there’s still an oddball charm to them—usually, when he guests on pop tracks like this, he’s either an all-too-willing punchline or a cheap nod to the urban market. (Sometimes he’s both.) But here he both provides some contrast and injects specificity into an otherwise pretty ordinary song.
The appeal of Snoop’s verses, however, has much more to do with their clever, creative placement within the structure of the song than with anything he actually raps. By placing the verses at the beginning and end of the song, a crucially rewarding sense of narrative is inserted into “Boyfriend.” Snoop steps up, talks the kind of game teenagers haven’t yet developed the ability to, and then hands it over to the boys for the loverman platitudes. Then, he sneaks back in at the end, to wrap it all up. If not for the painful, Slumdog Millionaire and Twilight-referencing bridge, “Boyfriend” would feel like an excellent Snoop Dogg crossover track that just happens to have the longest hook ever. As is, it’s one of Snoop’s more interesting appearances in the world of unadulterated pop.