What's a reggae song without the lingo? What's a lion without a roar? These and other mystical questions spring to mind during a first listen of "La La La," the debut single by new reggae artist Snoop Lion, formerly known to the world as Long Beach rapper Snoop Dogg, Snoop Doggy Dogg, the Bigg Boss Dogg, Bigg Snoop Dogg and Snoop D-O Double G.
A few weeks ago, the artist born Calvin Broadus announced that he was setting aside the Snoop Dogg name and quitting the rap game for reggae; just as Garth Brooks once magically became Chris Gaines, Snoop will begin the transition to becoming an honorary Kingstonian. Snoop Lion has started appearing in new colors -- the green, gold and red hues of rasta -- and, conveniently, still gets to smoke the same high-quality ganja.
On Monday, he released "La La La," and listeners/skeptics had their first chance to assess what the hell is going on here.
With a beat concocted by hit producer, crate-digger and tastemaker Diplo, whose hot mixtapes display his obvious love and knowledge of roots reggae, dub, dancehall and reggaeton coming out of Kingston, the song is a sturdy, valid stab at delivering a non-cheesy groove upon which a budding rapper can legitimately begin his transition.