Snoop Dogg changes name to Snoop Lion, readies reggae CD
Snoop Dogg is seen here performing at the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 10, 2012. The Canadian Press Images PHOTO/Ottawa Bluesfest/Patrick Doyle.
The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012 12:53PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 31, 2012 5:30PM EDT
NEW YORK -- Snoop Dogg wants you to know that he's tired of hip-hop, is Bob Marley reincarnated and is embracing reggae instead of the culture of guns he once rapped about.
Also, he's got a new name: Snoop Lion.
The artist said at a news conference Monday 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."
The former gangster rapper is releasing a reggae album called "Reincarnated" in the fall. He said that in Jamaica, he connected with Bob Marley's spirit and is now "Bob Marley reincarnated."
Bob Marley's son Rohan attended the conference and gave Snoop his blessing.
"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.
Later, he 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."
"It's so tragic that people are doing stupid things with guns," he said.
Snoop, best known for hits like "Gin and Juice" and "Drop It Like It's Hot," is an avid supporter of marijuana rights and has been banned from entering Norway for two years after trying to enter the country with a small amount last month.
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."
Snoop Dogg said he's not completely retiring from hip-hop but is "tired" of the genre because it is no longer challenging.
"Reggae was calling ... it's a breath of fresh air," he said. "Rap isn't challenging; it's not appealing."
The album was produced by Diplo and will feature Snoop singing. It will be released on Vice Records.
The album will be followed with a documentary of the same name, also produced by Vice. It features Snoop making music and will include some personal elements of his life, a producer of the film said. It will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
A coffee table book about Snoop's rebirth is also in the works.
"It feels like I'm 19 or 20 years old again," he said.