Snoop Lion will share his Jamaican journey in February, the rapper-turned-reggae star told Billboard.com on Tuesday.
The documentary film “Reincarnation” will come first with a theatrical release, with the album of the same — recorded in Jamaica with Diplo‘s Major Lazer — perhaps two weeks after.
“If i just drop this music, it leaves room for questioning,” Lion, formerly Snoop Dogg, explained. “You wouldn’t understand the whole journey or the transformation. When i allow you to see the movie, to go on the journey with me, to see exactly why I’m the lion, why the music changed — [you’ll] have a full understanding.”
Though his sound has changed, it won’t be the first time the hip-hop world’s heard him trade raps for singing.
“People respect me, so musically I can do whatever I like,” he said. “When i took on a song that I had called ‘Sexual Eruption,” it was a song where there was singing, 90% of the song, and it was one of my biggest records. One thing about me and the people, they appreciate my voice, no matter what it’s doing. If it’s singing, rapping, talking, they appreciate the voice and the time that I put into giving them something creative from me.”
“Reincarnation” will come with a positive message, one Lion said he couldn’t have shared through hip-hop.
“I came out in hip-hop, gangsta rapper, West Coast, that is who I am, that is what I will always been in hip-hop,” he said on a call with journalists. “That’s why the transformation into reggae fits the mode better because to me reggae is about love and peace and unity and struggle.”
While he didn’t discount the possibility of future rap albums, “Reincarnation” promises to be a serious transition — one that altered his writing process, as well.
“Before I never had to watch what I was saying because i didn’t give a fuck what i was saying,” he said. “Because it was coming from my heart. I was speaking from [being] a young adolescent who was an ex-gang-banger, ex-drug dealer, so I was speaking what I thought was best at the time. But as an older man, I have to speak on things that make a difference, and things that matter and using my power the right way.”
He was particularly struck by the gratitude of the Jamaican people in the face of poverty, and says he’s looking to President Barack Obama to turn around the U.S.’s own economic difficulties.
“That man deserves to be in office for another four years, point-blank,” Snoop said. “Y’all gave Bush 8 years to fuck the country up, give this man 8 years to clean this shit up.”
However, the musician hasn’t lost his sense of humor, presiding over a reworked video version of his hit “Drop It’s Like It’s Hot” as the Hot Pockets-touting “Pocket Like It’s Hot” earlier this month with help from comedian Andy Milonakis.
“That was the idea that they presented me with,” he said. “I liked it, [I] put my team around it to make it work.”
The video has nearly four million views — topping this year’s other hip-hop snack anthem, viral hit “Hot Cheetos & Takis,” which has 3.5 million — though Snoop says it wasn’t an influence.
“I never heard it,” he said.