Snoop Dogg has been spitting rhymes for over two decades and it has earned him a reputation as one of the greatest MCs of all time. But the legend has come to a crossroads in his career.
Yesterday (July 30) during a press conference at the legendary Miss Lilly Caribbean restaurant in New York City, Snoop talked about a spiritual and musical awakening.
He’s going under the alias “Snoop Lion,” his reggae alter-ego, and putting recording rap albums on the backburner to venture into reggae music. His new LP Reincarnated is slated for release later this year.
“I’ve been the greatest, top five top 10 [MC],” he told the reporters yesterday. “When you win so many accolades for something you’ve mastered, you wanna try something different.”
Snoop described recording reggae as a “breath of fresh air” and maybe more importantly a “challenge.”
“This feels like I’m 19,20 years old and I can go 20 more years,” the rap veteran said of his reincarnation. “Rap is not a challenge. No disrespect, but they can’t fuck with me in rap.”
The Long Beach, California native also acknowledged that a lot of younger MCs look up to him as an “Uncle.”
Several months ago, Snoop traveled to Jamaica in search of answers.
“The spirit told me to basically find something connected to Bob Marley’s spirit,” he disclosed. “I’ve always said I’m Bob Marley reincarnated.”
In Jamaica, Snoop was moved to record an entire reggae album. He called on producer Diplo, as well as an assortment of songwriters. He also decided on his new name “Snoop Lion” after meeting with a Berhane Priest.
“He told me ‘Snoop Dogg is no more,’” the iconic MC revealed. ”I wanna bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion. I didn’t know that until I went to Berhane Center.”
When the event’s host and moderator Sway asked Snoop if this change meant he was going to officially convert and become Rastafarian, Snoop answered:
“I felt like I’ve always been Rastafari,” he said. “I just didn’t have my third eye open.”
Snoop also was clear to say he hasn’t written off making new rap music and he definitely was not denouncing the music he’s made in the past (Snoop actually performed the entire Doggystyle album at an NYC Concert on Sunday). It’s just that reggae is where he is as an artist and a man right now.
“I don’t wanna come off the rollercoaster. I’mma ride it out,” he said.
Diplo said it is a producer’s “dream” to work with an artist for an entire project and he was honored to get down with Snoop.
“The chemistry was amazing,” Diplo boasted. “The music we wrote all together is some of the best I’ve ever been apart of.”
Later, Snoop got the ultimate co-sign from Rohan Marley—son of Bob—who was in attendance.
“Music in general is universal,” Marley said. “Jamaica is part of music, we don’t separate ourselves. We embrace Snoop. We love Snoop Lion.”
Among the tracks Lion previewed were his first single, “La La La,” and “No Guns Allowed,” on which he calls for an end to firearm violence.
“I can’t keep taking them to the dead-end street and dropping them off,” Snoop said about the messages to his fans.
The Dogg’s Jamaican Journey was filmed by Vice TV. The documentary goes to the Toronto Film Festival in September and is slated for proper release at the top of 2013.—Shaheem Reid (@ShaheemReid)