“I have always wanted to make a song that could really stand for something so when Obama invites me to the Whitehouse, I’d have a song to sing,” says the rapper formerly known as Snoop Dogg. Those words pretty much set the stage of expectation for “Reincarnated,” an entertaining documentary which follows the veteran West Coast rapper as he navigates through the island of Jamaica in search of spiritual and artistic inspiration. It’s impossible to watch “Reincarnated” without chuckling. Although the amiable rapper addresses several serious issues, the tone of the film is predominately lighthearted.
As we meet Snoop, amidst a cloud of smoke, he’s preparing for his month-long pilgrimage to Jamaica where he plans to record a traditional album of what he calls “true reggae music.” Now the rapper who turned 41 last year has reached the midpoint of his life, he’s chosen to renounce violence, embrace peace and love, a doctrine of the Rastafarian lifestyle.
“I have always seen similarities with Bob Marley and always felt a connection with Rastafari,” shares Snoop. “And it’s not because of the weed,” he clarifies, “but for what Bob stood for. I wanted to document the reggae message.”Accompanied by his closest cousin Daz Dillinger, Snoop also takes along the hit maker Diplo to produce the tracks and hires a team of three songwriters, led by Angela Hunte.
Snoop Lion in Jamaica
Delving into the legacy of Rastafarian culture, there are visits to several landmarks on the island including a trip to Tivoli Gardens, a herb field in the mountain of Jamaica, Trench Town, the Alpha Boys’ school in Kingston and a spiritual meeting of the minds with Bunny Wailer.
“I’ve been to Jamaica before for concerts, but wanted to go this time and understand Rastafarianism and really see all sides of the island,” says Snoop.
Wearing a Rasta knit cap, a Rasta vest and both wrists adorned with Rasta colored beaded and shell jewelry, Snoop is candid and nostalgic as he reflects on his own childhood after a visit to some of Jamaica’s most deprived areas. In the film, he talks frankly about his best friend Nate Dogg, who passed away in 2011, the circumstances surrounding rapper Tupac’s death in 1996, his split with death row and his own long and often violent journey in the rap game.
Halfway through, he experiences a religious epiphany in the Clarendon section of the island, is rechristened Berhane, meaning light by Rastafarian priests and adopts the moniker “Snoop Lion.”
A fun chronicle of the rapper’s journey to spiritualism, you will laugh at some of Snoop’s antics, but by the end of this absorbing and exhilarating ride, you will be glad you watched it. It proves to be the ultimate rapper’s delight, chock full of historical anecdotes’, unforgettable vintage footage — adding it pays homage to reggae music and the island of Jamaica.
“Reincarnated” opens March 15. Snoop Lion will be in Dallas to celebrate St. Patrick’s weekend with fans.
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. She serves as the Entertainment Editor for Trendy Africa.