Snoop drops the Dogg, aims for reggae style

Fri Sep 7, 2012 7:56pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

TORONTO (Reuters) - Rapper Snoop Dogg insists, for now, he is dropping the 'Dogg' to take on a new moniker, Snoop Lion.

Snoop became one of the world's most recognizable names in rap music after his 1993 debut album "Doggystyle" helped forge the rise of gangsta rap. But the California singer and actor with the tough image of guns, drugs and "pimping" out women now claims he is now embracing reggae music, peace and love.

His transformation, he told reporters on Friday at the Toronto International Film Festival about a new documentary chronicling the change, should not be too surprising: "I was always saying to myself I was Bob Marley reincarnated."

His new nonfiction film, made by his own company, is called just that, "Reincarnated." Like many music documentaries in recent years, it serves partly as a promotional piece for his upcoming reggae album of the same name, showing how each song was recorded, including with reggae master Bunny Wailer.

Still, in keeping with his old image, as he travels to Jamaica to discover the roots of Rastafarian culture, there are copious comical shots of Snoop smoking what appears to be marijuana joints and pipes.

His larger point however, is that at the age of 40, he is older, wiser and has embarked on a spiritual and musical odyssey. His new name, the film shows, was not picked by him but rather handed down by Rastafarian priests in Jamaica.

"They just crowned me 'The Lion' because it is associated with Rastafarians and associated with reggae music and they felt like the Dogg was no longer needed," he told reporters. "It was just a natural transformation. It's like from 'The Dogg' to 'The Lion', you understand me?"

Unveiled in July, it's at least the third name change for Snoop, who began his hip-hop career as "Snoop Doggy Dog" and is also known as "The Doggfather" and "Uncle Snoop." So skepticism about his embrace of reggae has been rife on social media sites.   Continued...

Rapper and actor Snoop Lion attends a news conference to promote the film ' Reincarnated ' during the 37th Toronto International Film Festival, September 7, 2012. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill