Snoop Fills in for Pharrell During Stevie Wonder Session

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Don’t be surprised if Snoop Dogg’s name is listed as a co-producer for “California Roll,” a song on his album Bush, out on May 12. When working on the track that features Stevie Wonder, the rap star provided relief for the album’s supervising producer Pharrell Williams. According to Snoop, the “Happy” singer froze up during the session.

After completing an earlier version of the song, Snoop suggested that the record needed some input from Wonder, and mentioned requesting the iconic artist for the track. Williams was not convinced that Snoop could secure a feature from Wonder.

Snoop asked his manager to schedule a conference call with Wonder’s daughter and assistant. “They got him right on the phone,” Snoop said during an interview with Yahoo Music. “I’m like, ‘Unc, what’s happening? I’m with Pharrell. We in the studio. We got a record for you.’ He said, 'Pharrell?’ … I’m like, 'It’s so motherf——g magical right now. Just come play the harmonica on it.’ He’s like, 'I’ll be there.’ I had to lure him in with the harmonica.”

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When Wonder came to the studio, Williams was in an off-kilter state, the results of secondhand smoke from Snoop Dogg’s marathon marijuana sessions. Between the contact high and being star struck, Williams was not functioning as normal. Snoop could not get Williams to snap out of it.

“So Stevie [goes] in the booth. So I’m like, 'Alright Pharell, he in there cuzz produce him,’” Snoop recalls. “He’s looking at me like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ I said, 'N—-a, produce him.’”

Williams’s unresponsiveness prompted Snoop to take the production lead and begin directing Wonder. “I said, ‘Steve, yo, play the harmonica cuzz from top to bottom. Play it anyway you want to play it.’ So he started playing. He knocked it all the way down.”

After Stevie finished playing the harmonica for the track, Snoop suggested asking him to add some vocals to the song, but Williams was still disoriented. "I said, 'Stevie, Pharrell said, won’t you put some vocals on it?’” Snoop explains. “So he started putting vocals in, filling them in, dropping mother—–g pieces in there. Pharrell was so high, he got up and walked out of the room.”

Snoop and the engineer completed the recording with Wonder and when Williams returned a couple days later and heard the results, he was impressed. “He was like, 'Man that s–t was dope that y'all did.’ He said, 'I don’t remember none of that.’ But the vocals and the way we had it arranged with the harmonica – Drew the engineer had it already set up to where all P had to do was put his magic on it.’”

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