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Snoop Lion & the Jungle set to debut August 3 in Toronto

Scott Hixson

Snoop Lion rawrs with awesomeness

Snoop Lion, formerly known as Snoop Dogg, is exploring the world of reggae with newest LP, “Reincarnated”

Snoop Lion, the alter-ego of legendary rapper Snoop Dogg, has teamed with superstar music producer Diplo for his newest album, Reincarnated, a strictly reggae project.

Snoop Lion, also known as Snoop Dogg, DJ Snoopadelic or, of course, Calvin Broadus Jr., and Diplo, Thomas Wesley Pentz, are working to reinvent the nature of the legendary West Coast rapper’s career as Snoop Lion recently discovered his inner Rastafarian while in Jamaica.

“Rap is not a challenge to me,” Snoop lion spoke at a gathering of journalists and friends at Manhattan’s Miss Lily’s restaurant Monday. “With no disrespect to other rappers, but they can’t f—k with me in rap … I’ve won every accolade you can get in rap, they call me ‘Uncle Snoop’ in rap. When you’re an uncle, it’s time to find something new … I want to feel like a kid again.”

Diplo produced the entire Reincarnation album under his pseudonym, Major Lazer, and spoke highly of Snoop Dogg’s sudden career shift. According to Diplo, the album contains “some of the best” music he’s ever made. “He wanted to do real reggae,” Diplo said. “To sing and find a new voice. It was a dream to work on an entire record [as opposed to a single]. That’s very rare.”

Snoop Lion, 40, spoke of his transition from Dogg to Lion, “It’s not that I want to become Snoop Dogg on a reggae track,” Snoop Lion said. “I want to bury Snoop Dogg, and become Snoop Lion. I didn’t know that until I went to the temple, where the High Priest asked me what my name was, and I said, ‘Snoop Dogg.” And he looked me in my eyes and said, ‘No more. You are the light; you are the lion.’ From that moment on, it’s like I had started to understand why I was there.”

The album’s debut single, La La La, is already available on iTunes. The single features popular Reggae singer, Jovi Rockwell, singing background vocals over tropical melodies. Snoop’s vocals are laid back, as always, and the accompanying video harkens back to low-fi productions like 2007’s Sexual Eruption

Snoop Lion spoke of another track on the Reincarnated LP, No Guns Allowed. “There’s a lot of killing going on in this world, and nobody ever speaks on it until it happens. And I’m tired of it … It’s so tragic that people are still doing stupid things with guns,” Snoop Lion spoke of the song. “I could never have made a song called ‘No guns Allowed,’ because I’m supposed to be a gangster and we supposed to keep one on us at all times … But after looking at my life and what it is now and my kids, and all the things that go on in life, I feel like it should be no guns allowed.”

When MTV’s Sway asked legendary reggae musician Bob Marley’s son, Rohan Marley, if Snoop’s sudden transformation seemed suspicious, Rohan responded, “Music is universal. Jamaica is just part of music, so we were open to Snoop.”

Snoop Lion continued to speak of his career transformation, saying, “I’ve always wanted to perform for kids and my grandmother, people around the world who really love me and can’t really accept the music that I make. This reggae music is music of love – happiness and sadness.”

The Reincarnation LP is set for release later this year on the Vice label. According to the rapper’s website, the first live appearance of Snoop Lion & the Jungle will be at Toronto’s Caribana 2012 on August 3.

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