I remember as a young yout when my family would have parties and hang out sessions at our small one bedroom apartment, and the soulful sounds of Beres Hammond and Gregory Isaacs would echo throughout the building, prompting neighbors and friends to come by and turn a small gathering into a straight up party.Those sounds are what defined my childhood in a sense, as our Guyanese cultures and traditions didn’t stay in Guyana, but only grew as we became Americans. I knew “What One Dance Can Do” as I watched my mother and father rhythmically move to “If I Don't Have You” and coincidentally nine months later, my sister was born. It was the sweet reggae sounds that made me feel good; it was soothing and above all else, about love and having fun.
Which brings us to Snoop Dogg. The Long Beach, CA native has been reincarnated, deciding to switch up his musical styling after a spiritual awakening while visiting Jamaica. He's now known as Snoop Lion, a change that will culminate with a new reggae album called Reincarnated set to be released in the fall.
Snoop said that while in Jamaica, he connected with Bob Marley's spirit and is now "Bob Marley reincarnated."
Snoop went on to say:
"I feel like I've always been Rastafarian…As a 40-year-old man ... I've got to give them something…That's what you do when you're wise."
Snoop Dogg said he's not completely retiring from hip-hop, but is "tired" of the genre because it is no longer challenging:
"Reggae was calling ... it's a breath of fresh air…Rap isn't challenging; it's not appealing."
I applaud Snoop for his spiritual awakening and switching his style to reggae music; any time an artist gets enlightened by another culture and/or religion, it’s worth talking about and watching. It’s obvious he was influenced by the spiritual nature and the good vibes reggae music provides, not to mention the abundance of marijuana use that goes along with it - something Snoop is no stranger to.
I admire Snoop for trying something new, it’s endearing, I’m a fan and have been since “Doggystyle,” when me and my seventh grade classmates would mimic Snoop as if we were the Dogfather himself.
And it’s understandable why Snoop transformed his style, as rap music has grown tiresome with the same gun talk, drug running, pimping and shootouts that have continuously been sprinkled throughout the genre.
But here’s thing, I can't think of any other artist who went through the name change thing and their career flourished - especially after their name was already established.
Artists have switched their styles up however, Lil Wayne did a rock album that was dope, but many didn’t take to it.
Nas did a collaborative album with Bob Marley’s son, Damien, that was also a classic, but Nas wasn’t going around calling himself Nas lion, he’s The Don.
And as a fan of reggae, I’m "Putting Up A Resistance" to Snoop's transformation. Listening to some of the songs, it sounds like Snoop singing with a Jamaican accent; there's no authenticity, it doesn’t feel genuine to me.
The music is there and so is the sound, but at the end of the day, it’s Snoop singing on a reggae song, nothing more. Hopefully he can create a sound that sends me back to the small apartment party sounds and soul I’m accustomed to.