Snoop Dogg Says He's 'Bob Marley Reincarnated', Goes Rasta for New Project (Video)

Snoop Dogg Lion press conference P
Rebecca Smeyne

Taking on the name Snoop Lion, the rapper embraces reggae on his new album and brings his Jamaican experience to the Toronto Film Festival in the form of a documentary.

Call him Rasta Dogg. Rap superstar Snoop Dogg recently donned a tam and recorded a reggae album in Jamaica, under the name “Berhane,” or Snoop Lion.

“This awakening was necessary,” he told a press assemblage at Miss Lily’s jerk joint in New York’s West Village on Tuesday. “I don’t even know why, I don’t know how. I thought I was going to make another gangsta record. I thought I was going to do another pimp album. I thought I was going to do what I do. But this called me and put all of that to rest.”

PHOTOS: Celebrating 4/20: 12 Pivotal Moments in Pot Culture

The album, Reincarnated, featuring the lead single, “La La La,” was produced by Major Lazer, the team known for their work with Beyonce, Usher, M.I.A. and Santigold.

“Snoop wanted real reggae music,” Major Lazer’s Diplo explained. “He wanted to sing and find a new voice. It’s a dream for a producer to work on an entire record. I always work on a song here or a song there, but working on an entire record is very rare to do that with an artist nowadays. There’s no label here. It’s Snoop putting together the project and Ted. That’s 100% creative control. That doesn’t exist anymore.”

Snoop Dogg’s manager Ted Chung brought all of the parties together, first contacting Diplo and then Vice magazine co-founder Suroosh Alvi (pictured at bottom), who both “signed on immediately.” Vice was brought aboard to film the Reincarnated project and put out an album.

“We make documentaries in conflict zones,” Alvi said. “I didn’t know what we were signing up for. After being in Jamaica for three or four days with Snoop and the whole team, I realized we were making a feature-length documentary. It was not what I was expecting at all. It’s a real challenge to tell Snoop’s story from back in the day, 2-1-3, Doggy Style up to now. It took some time to gain his trust, and after that he saw what we were trying to do and he opened up to us.” (The doc has been accepted by the Toronto International Film Festival.)

STORY: Kevin Macdonald Talks 'Marley,' Music and Marijuana

Snoop opened up at length when MTV's Sway asked him if he was tired of hip-hop. “I’ve been making rap since 1985,” he replied thoughtfully. “I’ve been pretty good at it. I’ve had a long career in rap. Been on top. The greatest. One of the greatest. Top 5. Top 10. All that. It’s just to a point you win so many accolades for a certain thing you’ve mastered you want to try things that’s different. It just seems that reggae music was calling on me because it’s something I always had in my music. If you listen to my early rap music, I always made reggae references, always had me sounding like I was Rastafari. Now that I’m able to do it, it’s like a breath of fresh air, and it’s a challenge at the same time because rap is not a challenge to me. With no disrespect. - don’t take it the wrong way - but they can’t fuck with me in rap. It was like I had enough of that. It’s not appealing to me no more. I don’t have no challenges. I’m Uncle Snoop in rap. When you get to be an uncle you got to find a new profession and start over and become fresh again. I want to be a kid again. I don’t want to grow up.”

Christened Berhane by a Rasta elder, Snoop crowed, “I’ve always said I was Bob Marley reincarnated. The Marleys blessed me, because I gave them information of me doing this project a while back before I started to get their blessings, to make sure they understood that I was coming home. I’ve always been their brother. For them to see me come home it was like our brother has finally awakened. He’s really with us now.”

Watch the trailer for Reincarnated below: 

Twitter: @THRMusic