Snoop Lion: Recarnated. Puff puff pass.
If you are looking for an insightful documentary about the highs and lows of the American rap scene in the 90’s, it being the foundations of modern rap and hip hop and all that, then this is definitely not it. This is a documentary that was created by Snoop Dogg and his music industry people to help push a record. It’s basically an hour or so of people smoking fatties and Snoop being his comedic self, take it as you like.
Reincarnated could be segmented into three parts. The first section follows Snoop and his posse to Jamaica. He does want to rap anymore, but rather, take on the world of Reggae instead, and he doesn’t want to be Snoop Dogg anymore either, but “Snoop Lion” instead. So, Snoop Lion, Diplo, and a bunch of other guys that are responsible for Major Lazer head to the Rastafarian mecca under the guise of making a record together.
There are some attempts at creating music, Major Lazer’s backing beats were as good as ever, and Snoop did some super autotuned ‘singing’ about smoking weed over the top, and wha la, they made reggae music for the modern age.
To celebrate their music making, they all go into the jungle in search of kush, (this took about 20 minutes of screen time). The group got really precious that the ganja was all natural and a treat from the earth. There was a scene where Snoop’s cousin, who also came for the trip, is standing in the jungle and says, as he giggles,”I’m rolling [a blunt] in the jungle!” In the next scene we see that he has become so fucking sweaty and stoned and is rolling around on the ground in the weed littered jungle. It was pretty damn hilarious.
After that, they decide that in order to make a great reggae record Snoop must meet with masters of the genre who reside in Jamaica. So he hangs out with a guy called Bunny Wailer, and they talk music, and the meeting ends with a big old smoke down. Bunny smokes from a manky homemade pipe that is created from a carrot and pen canister, it’s pretty gross. Snoop gets some studio time in after his meeting with Bunny, and some highlights that I picked up from his new range of tracks were the numbers Smoke Da Weed, and a really rubbish song about juice and how it was good for your insides. Interesting stuff Snoop, ain’t no Drop It Like It’s Hot though…
Midway though the film, Snoop sits down and talks of his family, both in blood and of those within the rap game. There is some interesting footage of Nate Doggs funeral and a pretty heartfelt story from Snoop about the night Tupac was shot. This is where you saw Snoop’s true self with real feelings, no bitches or bongs. This modesty and expression of self is short lived though.
The third section of the film marks Snoops final period in Jamaica. Shit gets weird. He goes to some reggae cult gathering and the local people say things like “the prodigal son has returned”. They’re all together performing weed fueled religious rituals (Snoop of course is snowing off his Cali greenery) and dudes with no teeth and dreads the size of my leg hang out and chant together.
By the end of the film, I was a bit tired of Snoop’s various renditions of a Jamaican accent and how he fit “Jah Mon”or “Yeah! Rastafaria!” into most conversations. I also felt a bit sorry for his pathetic looking little dread locked plaits. In the ending credits, both Snoop Dogg and Snoop Lion were listed, which made me a little confused (as did the entire previous hour and a half of the viewing), did Snoop really want to be Snoop Lion? And did he even want to do a reggae album? Or was this just a big marketing ploy and a way for the 41 year old (kinda past his prime) artist to surface to the top of the music world again? It was an entertaining viewing, and all the pot smoking antics were pretty hilarious, but you can’t fool me Snoop Dogg/Lion.
Words by Carol Bowditch.