This week, Snoop Dogg announced his reinvention – he is now a reggae musician. In fact, Snoop says he’s the reincarnation of Bob Marley. He’s changed his name, too. The man is now Snoop Lion. The question is, is Snoop's conversion to reggae a game changer for that genre?
It’s an interesting choice on Snoop Dogg’s part, to go with Marley as his touchstone to reggae. In the pantheon of reggae artists, none comes even close to Marley for worldwide recognition. Sure, there’s Jimmy Cliff or Lee Perry or Peter Tosh, but any one of them is a distant second to Marley. Toots, Bunny Wailer and Junior Murvin are all best known to those close to the genre. Even Marley’s own kids, while successful, haven’t reached the fame of their father. It’s no reflection on the quality of these artists, but reggae has one huge star, until perhaps now.
It could be argued that Snoop Dogg’s arrival to reggae is the best possible thing that could happen to the genre. He comes to it already as a legitimate star. The man has sold millions of records, tours worldwide and appears in movies and TV series. In the world of rap he’s a legend; few other artists bring his star power. If his contribution to reggae is well received, it could bring a lot of new fans to the genre. But can a rap star suddenly become a legitimate reggae star?
The answer lies in the music itself. Snoop Lion has just released the first single from his new reggae album. It's called "La La La."
No question it sounds like reggae. Old school reggae even, and yet Snoop Lion’s voice is immediately recognizable. What could be easier for a sing-along chorus than simply the words, “la, la, la”? Most importantly, Snoop Lion feels comfortable singing reggae. He sounds natural. It’s a very promising first peek into the album.
It’s a fascinating moment for rap, reggae and even American culture when one of hip-hop’s leading figures moves on from gangstas and pimps to embrace the love and light of the Rastafari movement. Even if Snoop Lion isn’t the saviour of reggae, then perhaps reggae will be his salvation.
What do you think of Snoop Lion’s new sound? Let us know below.
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on Aug 03, 2012