Reincarnated is a good movie for many reasons. For starters, it is a fascinating and unique character study on the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg. It also really teaches the audience about the birth of Reggae music, the rastafarian culture, and the socio-economics of Jamaica. Finally, it dispels many myths about rappers and rap artists, while confirming other stories or revealing truths. But how did Snoop’s re-awakening start?
Officially, Snoop’s exit from the rap game started after the death of his best friend, frequent collaborator and 213 co-founder Nate Dogg in 2011. He takes about it openly both in the beginning and end of the film and the emotion is written all over his face. But in a way, it started many years earlier after the deaths of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. In fact, Snoop was supposed to be in the car with Tupac the night he was killed, but they had had a “misunderstanding” the night before and so Snoop had stayed behind. After Biggie died, Snoop gathered all his friends and colleagues in the house of Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan and sqaushed any beef that may have been remaining. For a while he was an unofficial members of the Nation and even attended a Saviour’s meeting in 2009. Snoop’s spiritual side and thirst for growth has always been there.
It is evident that Snoop is not engaging in some sort of Joaquin Phoenix/Andy Kaufman-esque style stunt. For starters, he is deeply attentive to those who speak to him and is very aware of his cultural surroundings, often seeing similarities between the ghettos of Jamaica and Los Angeles. He also believes there are similarities between The Wailers – the godfathers of modern Reggae music – and 213, the trio he created with Nate Dogg and Warren G. He even goes so far as to visit the legendary Wailer in his home, smoke some ganja with him, and learn about the history of Rastafari.
The music itself is not bad bad. Granted, it’s not Bob Marley great, but according to the film, Snoop is the first American to attempt a true reggae album, so let’s give him slack for his above average fist attempt. He has big name collaborators and friends helping him out. The record is produced Major Lazer, a great alternative label run by DJ/Producer Diplo. Bunny Wailer, with much convincing from Snoop lays some vocals on one track. Also appearing are Snoop’s wife Shante, daughter Cori B (an aspiring artist herself) and Police drummer Stewart Copeland. Many other collaborators appear as well. But my favourite part of the film, comes when Snoop the Alpha School for Boys and starts freestyling with their music class – made up of mostly brass and woodwind players. The kids were identified as “troubled” and Snoop mentions that he can relate to them on a personal level as well.
Not only has Snoop Dogg become Snoop Lion, but at the end of the film he is given the name “Berhane”, which means light, by an elder in the Niyabinghi mansion (branch). The second single “No Guns Allowed”, which features Cori B and Drake, drops on April 2nd, along with album pre-orders. The full record hits stores on April 23rd, 2013.