Snoop Lion Reincarnated: Former Snoop Dogg Rebirthed to Rastafarian; Releasing New Reggae Album
Snoop Dogg is no more. Now, the rapper changed his name to Snoop Lion because he wants to be in touch with his Jamaican roots.
According to the Associated Press, the rap artist said at a news conference Monday at Miss Lily's a Caribbean restaurant in New York that he was "born again" during a visit to Jamaica in February and is ready to make music that his "kids and grandparents can listen to."
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"I feel like I've always been Rastafarian," Snoop said of the spiritual Jamaican movement. While there, he said, he visited a temple, was renamed Snoop Lion and was also given the Ethiopian name Berhane, meaning "light of the world.
Snoop didn't explain why he was switching from "Dogg" to "Lion," but it's likely a reference to the Lion of Judah, a religious symbol popular in Rastafarian and Ethiopian culture.
"I have always said I was Bob Marley reincarnated," Snoop told a crowd of reporters at the news conference. He added, "I feel I have always been a Rastafari. I just didn't have my third eye open, but it's wide open right now."
The former gangster rapper is releasing a reggae album called "Reincarnated" in the fall, which was written and recorded over three weeks in Jamaica, according the New York Times.
Wearing a Rasta knit cap, sunglasses and a Kobe Bryant jersey, Snoop held forth about positivity, good vibrations and being "called by the spirit" to begin singing reggae. Now that he had reached the midpoint of his life - he turned 40 last year - he said he wanted to renounce violence and write in the reggae genre, which he called "music of love."
The new songs, he said, might give him "a chance to perform for kids and grandkids," something he felt his work as a rapper would not let him do.
Snoop described his decision to do the album as a spiritual revelation, but others involved in the project said it was, in fact, carefully planned and executed.
"There comes a point where you say I done it all, or there isn't much more to do," he said. "This was like a rebirth for me."
"Rap is not a challenge to me," he said. "I had enough of that. It's not appealing to me no more. I don't have no challenges. I'm 'Uncle Snoop' in rap. When you get to be an uncle, you need to find a new profession so you can start over and be fresh again. I want to be a kid again."
According to the Associated Press, Snoop played five songs for a small crowd, including one called "No Guns Allowed." It features his daughter and includes the lyrics, "No guns allowed in here tonight, we're going to have a free for all, no fights."
"Reggae was calling ... it's a breath of fresh air," he said. "Rap isn't challenging; it's not appealing."
He said that in Jamaica, where he stayed for 35 days, he grew closer to his wife, who saw his transition. He added that he's excited to perform music that his family and children can listen to.
"As a 40-year-old man ... I've got to give them something," he said. "That's what you do when you're wise."
"It's so tragic that people are doing stupid things with guns," he said.
Bob Marley's son Rohan attended the conference and gave Snoop his blessing.
The album was produced by Diplo, who was also there, and will feature Snoop singing. It will be released on Vice Records.
A coffee table book about Snoop's rebirth is also in the works.
He also has a scheduled show tonight, Wednesday, Aug. 1, at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom.