After a religious conversion on his trip to Jamaica in 2012, Snoop Dogg officially became Snoop Lion and announced the release of his new album, Reincarnated, and a documentary following in its footsteps. This reggae album was advertised as a peek inside of Snoop’s Rastafarian experience. This album was one of my first experiences in the world of reggae and essentially my first foray into the artist formally known as Snoop Dogg. It was probably wrong of me to assume that I wouldn’t enjoy the album, yet I was more than surprised with the depth of his message and the unexpected musical talent.
“It’s so much death, it’s so much destruction and it’s so much mayhem and it’s so much misunderstanding in music, we losing so many great musicians. And we don’t love them while they here. And I want to be loved while I’m here. And the only way we get love is to get love.” Snoop says in the introduction to the title track “Rebel Way”. In the first 30 seconds, the listener is encouraged to take Snoop seriously. He has a message to convey, and this album intends to do so. The lyrics following this spoken-word bit remain forthright and unapologetic. “Time is moving fast…old dreams will fade for the new ones made/Nothing stays the same…do it the rebel way…”
The album isn’t without its flaws however. Angela Hunte’s vocals in “Got Away” sound like they’re competing with the beat rather than coexisting harmoniously. But other than this one song, I really have no major qualms with Snoop Lion’s new album. “No Guns Allowed” channels Rasta’s love and positive thinking while delivering a necessary and heartfelt message about the violence consuming our media.
Akon’s “Tired of Running” is probably the best song on the album. The song is initially from Akon’s 2006 album, Konvicted, but has taken on a slow reggae groove. It is an excellent addition to Snoop’s redefined and recreated image. The most surprisingsong on the album, however, is Snoop’s collaboration with Miley Cyrus. “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks” shouldn’t work. Miley Cyrus and Snoop Lion seem inherently incompatible. Instead, we have a solemn yet hopeful tribute to those who have departed.
While initially hesitant at the newly reinvented Snoop Dogg, Reincarnated quickly proves my fears to be unwarranted. It’s an wonderfully delightful album that is definitely worth a listen.