Good thing we saw Snoop perform Doggystyle in full over the weekend, because based on a Monday afternoon press conference, he's really running with this reggae alter ego. We've already heard his first single "La La La," but here are the hints we picked up indicating exactly how real Snoop Lion is:
- Snoop opened by saying "Jah Rastafari"
- This: "It's not that I want to become Snoop Dogg on a reggae track," said the erstwhile Calvin Broadus. "I want to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion. But I didn't know that until I went to the temple of the Nyabinghi Center."
- Like the title of the full-length documentary Vice made of the rapper's experience in Jamaica (playing at the Toronto Film Festival!), Snoop was indeed Reincarnated: "This was like a rebirth for me, to where it feels like I'm 19 or 20 years old again, like I could do 20 more. … It's a breath of fresh air, and it's a challenge at the same time. Rap is not a challenge to me. And no disrespect, and don't take it the wrong way, but they can't f*ck with me in rap. I had enough of that. It's not appealing to me no more."
- Being called "Uncle" is problematic: "Now, as a 40-year-old man in the music industry, the artists call me Uncle Snoop. I've gotta give 'em something now. I can't just keep taking 'em to the dead-end street and dropping 'em off. I gotta teach 'em how to fish, how to plant, how to grow. I'm a wise man in the music industry."
- This musical change-up comes from a nice place: "I've always wanted to perform for kids, my grandmother, you know, people around the world who really love me that can't accept the music I've made," Snoop says. "This reggae music is a music of love—happiness and struggle."
- Embracing Rastafarianism isn't a fad for Mr. Lion: "I felt like I've always been Rastafari. I just didn't have my third eye open. But it's wide open right now, so, it is what it is."
- He has authentic Marley support: "We embrace Snoop," said Bob's son Rohan, in attendance at the press conference.
- Diplo produced the entire album—something he'd never had the opportunity to do—and he wasn't interested in creating a quick little curiosity: "The whole record is gonna be Snoop with a new voice," he said. "The main goal is about records people can really feel, not just about things that are gonna jump off in the club and what's gonna be hot for the radio."
- The whole crew took the lineage very seriously: "It sounds like some early reggae music," Snoop says. "We wanted to make it feel like a record that came out of a 1970s collection and it just has a new twist on it. We were searching for true reggae music. A lot of times when we do what we do as artists, we look forward instead of looking back. And when you look back you pay homage and give respect and love, and that's what this record is all about."
Check out highlights from Snoop Lion's press conference below and let us know if you're psyched for Reincarnated in the comments: