Snoop Dogg recently became the latest player in the name-change/identity- crisis game that has become synonymous with entertainers like Diddy (Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy Dirty-Money) , Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def). He is now to be known as Snoop Lion.
Following a trip to Jamaica last February to record his upcoming album “Reincarnated,” Snoop Dogg announced at a press conference in New York that he is changing his name to Snoop Lion. The rebranding happened after the 40-year-old West Coast rapper was rechristened by Rastafarian priests.
When asked what his name was, Snoop Lion recalled that the priest said to him, “You are light; you are the lion.”
While in Jamaica Snoop Lion, born Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., shot a documentary set to premiere at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, also titled “Reincarnated.” The film highlights his personal struggles with gang violence. “Whether it’s me performing live in stage or me going through stages in life, that’s what my life has always been based on. And that’s what forced me to find a new path,” said Snoop Lion in the documentary’s trailer.
Snoop Dogg has been known to associate with the Crips, a west coast gang, and has faced previous arrests for drug possession. He was most recently banned from Norway for two years after Norwegian customs officials found eight grams of marijuana in his luggage and said the entertainer has carrying more cash than legally allowed.
“It’s a way of life,” said Snoop Lion. “I feel like I’ve always been Rastafari, I just didn’t have my third eye open.”
Finding inspiration in Bob Marley, Snoop announced he is turning to the “music of love,” as he sheds his harder, rough persona. Snoop’s soon-to-be-released album is dipped in Jamaica’s culture donning a traditional reggae feel, a long stretch from Snoop’s gangsta rap niche. During his stint in Jamaica Snoop wrote and recorded his album in three weeks. He said he was “called by the spirit” to sing reggae at the news conference.
“Reincarnation,” the album, will not focus on hustling, making money or drug dealing, like Snoop Dogg’s past records. Producer Diplo went along with Snoop Lion on the trip to produce tracks for the album. His team of songwriters was led by Angela Hunte, who wrote the hit single “Empire State of Mind,” for Jay-Z and Alicia Keys.
The first single off the “Reincarnation” album is “La La La.”