Snoop Dogg played his first live show under his new reggae persona Snoop Lion at a gig in Canada last night (August 3).
The West Coast rap legend, who recently visited Jamaica and subsequently claimed that he was the reincarnation of Bob Marley, took to the stage at The Hoxton in Toronto for a relatively low-key unveiling of his new direction, which culminates with a Major Lazer-produced reggae LP later this year, ‘Reincarnated’.
Opening with a projection of the trailer for the forthcoming Snoop Lion documentary, also called Reincarnated, Snoop arrived onstage an hour and a half behind schedule, clutching a lit spliff amid life-sized cut-outs of assorted safari animals and a lion seated on a purple throne. Dressed head to toe in white, Snoop also gave subtle nods to his former identity, with a large, silver-glitter ring bearing the ‘Snoop Dogg’ name.
Seguing between songs with cuts from Bob Marley’s ‘Could You Be Loved’ and ‘Iron Lion Zion’, Snoop played several Dogg faves in their original form. The performance, however, ventured into the bizarre with trad-reggae retakes of songs like ‘Gin & Juice’ and ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’.
While direct references to the reincarnation were brief, ‘No Guns Allowed’ – one of only a small handful of new tracks previewed – was prefaced with a call-to-arms for the renouncement of street violence: “With all the death, destruction, negativity around, I wanna bring some positivity, positive energy to the world,” he declared.
Earlier this week, Snoop spoke out about his radical change in direction and explained why he had undergone such a drastic transformation after his visit to Jamaica. “For this project, I had no intention of making a reggae album, but the spirit called me. Anytime the spirit calls you gotta know that it’s serious and real,” he said. “I didn’t want to be Snoop Dogg on a reggae track… I wanted to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion, but I didn’t know that until I went to the temple and received the name Snoop Lion from the Nyabingi priest. From that moment on, I started to understand why I was there and was able to create something magical in this project… something I haven’t done before in my career.”
The rapper recently teamed up with Diplo to the release a reggae single, titled ‘La La La’. You can listen to the track below.