If you haven’t already heard, the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg went to Jamaica, smoked copious amounts of high-grade marijuana, and came back “reincarnated” as Snoop Lion after being dubbed as such by the “High Priest” (oh, I bet the priest was high). I know, I know, sounds unbelievable, but it’s true – or at least the part about the name change. Snoop made the official announcement on Monday, July 30, 2012, and already a few tunes and some previews to an upcoming documentary are all over YouTube.
I’ve scoured the internet over the past week in search of Snoop Lion, Dogg, or otherwise and they are all abuzz with Snoop’s announcement. It’s actually quite entertaining, and some of the reactions are as entertaining if not more so, particularly some vlogs (video web logs) on YouTube. Snoop’s official position is that his rap career has run its course, and he’s ready to make a different kind of music; one with a more positive message, but the resounding consensus is that Snoop, a known pot smoker, met his match on the Isle of Jamaica.
As for me, I love everything about it. I love just about everything about Snoop Dogg; His personae, his music, and of course, his doggy style – always have. I also love reggae, and I love the fact that a man at forty years old can recognize the limited shelf life of a rappers career, and decide to completely change direction… or has he? Seeing Snoop in the reggae garb somehow just feels right, and as Snoop said of himself, “I’ve always been a Rastafari, I just didn’t have my third eye open”.
And then there is the Hip-Hop community, which seems to be skeptical (and that’s being nice) regarding the rebirth of Snoop. One statement did resonate with me though, which was that at least Snoop recognizes his declining relevance in Hip-Hop culture, and that they respect him for admitting it. But really, all Hip-Hop, R&B, Urban or, let’s not mince words, ‘Black Music’ artists popular amongst the black community typically have a shorter shelf life than their white counterparts. I don’t know of too many reinvented black artists, and African Americans don’t flock to see aging black artists like whites flock to see Bruce Springsteen or Roger Waters. It’s just a cultural phenomenon.
Then again, Calvin Broadus, a.k.a. Snoop Dogg is no fool. His career and image have been so well played (Soul Plane excluded) that one might wonder if this is just a publicity stunt like so many pop artists and personalities before him. Is Snoop Lion by design? Is it a carefully thought out plan for media hype, a haphazard decision made on Snoop’s own impulse and emotion, or perhaps just one blunt too many?
Either way, this should be interesting to watch, and I look forward to the ongoing adventures of Snoop Lion… fo shizzle.