Snoop Dogg is no more. For those of you who know him from his years of rapping about gang life and women, don't be surprised when his new personality, Snoop Lion, is not quite what you expected. Snoop has a new love and a new focus, and that is all things Rastafari.
The release of the first album under his new identity, the appropriately titled “Reincarnated,” attempts to give Lion's old audience an understanding of the spiritual journey that he has had in Jamaica, where he spent some time studying the Rastafari movement.
After the trip that changed his outlook on life, Snoop Lion has stated that he feels he was always a Rastafari. The album that he has brought back with him demonstrates the former rapper's own version of reggae-style music.
“Reincarnated” starts off with a sound clip of Snoop talking about all the death, destruction, and mayhem that is going on in the world today. After bringing this to the attention of his listeners, he asks for love and support for his music while he is still here on Earth to receive it.
From there, the album turns into a mellow, R&B-style dance mix of songs, which doesn't exactly display his initial intentions of making a reggae album.
Various songs on the album demonstrate his hopes for unity among people, particularly in “Lighters Up,” and his encourages others not to carry guns in “No Guns Allowed.”
The first single from the album, titled “La La La,” is a slow but catchy song with a simple chorus that's easy to sing along with. It does a good job of representing the laid-back feel of the album as a whole.
“Here Comes the King,” another single, shows Snoop's best attempt at a reggae, dancehall vibe. The song communicates the idea of one king, one faith, one religion, and tries to get the listener to join the revolution against people who are haters, each component being an important part of the Rastafarian life style.
Although this album has some genuinely good songs, Snoop fails to display the reggae side of the album that he claimed to be aiming for. After naming big influences like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer, the roots reggae vibe seems to be absent from the disc, and instead a majority of it seems to be a pop dance mix. Clearly, he didn't do enough research into reggae music's founding fathers.
As usual, Snoop has chosen a wide variety of artists to collaborate in select songs. The album features work from Angela Hunte, Akon, Busta Rhymes, and surprisingly, Miley Cyrus on a track called “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks,” where Cyrus assists in singing about Snoop's drug-related activities, a change from the usual pop singer's forte of lyrical subjects.
It was, in short, a relief to hear Busta Rhymes as an addition to a verse in the fourteenth track of the album, “Remedy.” It is almost obvious that Snoop was more comfortable in recording a track like this, perhaps because it reflects his rapper side.
Overall, Snoop Lion has delivered a mellowed out version of his previous albums that doesn't include nearly enough rapping. It was a nice try, but let's face it, Snoop – not everyone who visits Jamaica is meant to be a Rastafari.
Snoop Lion 'Reincarnated' Rating: W W W