Snoop Reincarnated, directed by Vice Global editor and filmmaker Andy Capper and co-produced by Vice Films and Snoopadelic Productions, is a film about the creative transition of Calvin broadus Jr from the rapper Snoop Dogg to the reggae artist Snoop Lion. Or, it’s a piece of self promotion to accompany Snoop Lion’s soon to be released reggae influenced album of the same name, depending on how you look at it.
The film is a portrait of Snoop Dogg as he goes to Jamaica to learn about Rastafari culture and religion, record his album with its executive producers Diplo and Major Lazer, and explain the transition from hip hop to reggae, both spiritual and creative.
There’s a lot of weed smoking, mild humour and warmth, moments of reflection on his musical and personal history, as well as tiny snippits of what he learns about life and music in Trench Town. The film also features Bunny Wailer, an original member of reggae group The Wailers along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, who has since accused Snoop Lion of “outright fraudulent use of Rastafari Community’s personalities and symbolism”.
None of this makes for a particularly finished-feeling film, but it does provide some insight into Snoop Lion’s thinking behind his new musical direction and his state of mind at the time of recording the new album. It’s perhaps more like an extended video interview where he got to make up the questions.
It’s clear Snoop feels he has exhausted his possibilities in hip hop and wants to keep things interesting, bringing reggae to his audience’s ears in a way that honours the past as much as possible. He is also clearly striving to bring more positivity and peace into his own life as well as that of his family, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with that. Indeed, perhaps the most intimate and sincere part of the film is the brief interview with Snoop’s daughter, Cori B., who features on a song on the album called “No Guns Allowed”, confirming that her dad is indeed happier and more smiley since he’s visited Jamaica.
However, those hoping to be educated about Rastafari culture and Reggae music, or to be convinced of both the sincerity and longevity of Snoop Lion’s transition, will either have to look elsewhere, take him with a pinch of salt (as he clearly does himself), or just wait and see.