Beyond Snoop Lion: “Reincarnated” Documents a Hip-Hop Legend in FluxPosted by Nathan S. on 04/16/13 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion, Snoop Dogg, Movies
Let's be honest. When we first started hearing about Snoop Dogg's transition to Snoop Lion, most of us assumed it was more marketing plan than genuine change. And we weren't wrong to think that. When it comes to making that money, the man's not exactly a stranger to the wonderful world of advertising. But then I saw his new "Reincarnated" documentary.
Let's put aside Snoop Lion and his "Reincarnated" album for a minute though. We'll get there. First and foremost, this documentary made me realize just how little we really know about Snoop. Calvin Broadus has been a nearly daily part of our lives for two decades now, we've seen him go through every conceivable phase of his career, which has given us the false impression that we now him well. But it's not until you hear him talk candidly about how Tupac's death affected him, how Nate Dogg's death affected him, the stress a potential gun charge put on this family, that I realized how little I understand about his life and the incredibly amount of pressure he's under.
But in that context, his move to reggae makes more sense. Throughout the "Reincarnated" movie he insists that gangster rap has taken him as far as it will go. He's now 42-years-old with children old enough to truly understand his music. What grown man wants to keep making "Deez Nuts" until the day he dies?. (Except for Too Short.) For the first time he's truly thinking about his legacy; as he says, he looks at Jay-Z hanging out at the White House realizes he's too much of a liability for someone like Obama to ever associate with.
The documentary chronicles a man attempting to reinvent himself, someone who's truly dedicated to making a positive impact. To make that change, he needs to make a clean break with the Snoop Dogg that did "Gin & Juice", and in his search for a new direction he found reggae. Throughout "Reincarnated" it's still hard to tell if he truly, truly believes in Rastafarianism or sees it as a means to an end, but at the very least he has done his homework. He does visit the slums of Jamacia, he does get the blessing of the legendary Bunny Wailer, he does participate in Rasta ceremonies and he does, of course, smoke enough pot to put a large horse into a coma.
If "Reincarnated" the album doesn't sell well, will we still be looking at Snoop Lion if five years? Frankly, I don't know. I'm not sure if even Calvin Broadus knows. But I do know that "Reincarnated" is the best look yet at one of hip-hop's true legends, and for that reason along it's worth watching.
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