First he was Snoop Doggy Dogg, then simply Snoop Dogg. Now, 20 years after the release of his debut single as a solo artist — the still-vibrant "Who Am I (What's My Name?)" — the laid-back rapper from Long Beach has altered his identity once again. And this time he's changed his sound too: Next month, Snoop Lion is to release a full-on reggae album called "Reincarnated," the product of an extended trip he and his crew took last year to Jamaica.
"One king, one faith, one religion," he raps (in ersatz island patois) over a bouncy groove in the single "Here Comes the King." "And if you love me, come and join the revolution."
As befits a multi-platform media star such as Snoop, cameras accompanied the MC to Jamaica, documenting the experience for a new film also titled "Reincarnated." The movie, directed by Andy Capper, was produced by Vice, the Brooklyn-based company that recently organized Dennis Rodman's controversial excursion to North Korea. Call this latest project dancehall diplomacy.
Capper captures plenty of diverting adventures in and around Kingston, as Snoop jams with a band of sweet-faced school kids and visits a marijuana field deep in the foggy recesses of Jamaica's lush Blue Mountains. (There may be more weed smoked in "Reincarnated" — in blunts, bongs, even the occasional hollowed-out carrot — than in the collected works of Cheech & Chong.)