During my college years, I wrote a history thesis paper on how "Gin and Juice" became not only the cornerstone of modern hip-hop and mainstream hedonism but also how it single-handedly impacted inner-city youth in this generation. A powerful paper considering Snoop Dogg's only intention to was as a mere party anthem.
Snoop Dogg's lengthy discography gives you a pretty good idea of the man behind the voice - a gang banger (he was formally a member of the notorious Crips) who has three pleasures in life - sex, drugs and music. (maybe even in that order) It would be hard to say otherwise with singles like "Drop It Like It's Hot," "Gangsta Luv" and more recently "Young, Wild and Free" with Wiz Khalifa.
But everyone grows up someday.
Snoop Dogg spent much of his winter in Jamaica, taking in the sites. He was totally encompassed in the physical beauty of the island as well as the peaceful Rastafarian way-of-life. On one occasion, he went to a Rastafarian temple. He came upon a high priest who asked for his name.
"No more. You are the light...you are the lion."
With that, Snoop Dogg was reborn as Snoop Lion.
The name change doesn't come subtly. With the name change comes a new reggae album, appropriately titled Reincarnation as well as a documentary and even a coffee book.
Snoop Dogg isn't the only hip-hop artist who has converted to another religion. Ice Cube and Busta Rhymes converted to Islam, Kurtis Blow converted to Christianity and Adam Yauch (Beastie Boys) converted to Buddhism. Even Dante Smith dropped the name Mos Def for his Islamic name, Yasiin Bey.
Below is his first single, produced by Major Lazer. Diplo (1/2 of Major Lazer) will be producing Reincarnation.