Snoop Lion Talks Reggae Transformation
By RAPHAEL CHESTANG
October 23, 2012
These days, Snoop Lion (formerly known as Snoop Dogg) is serious about spreading a positive message, but he hasn't done away with his sense of humor.
The rapper-turned-reggae artist released Pocket Like It Like It's Hot (a remixed video version of 2004's Drop It Like It's Hot) earlier this month, and on Tuesday he spoke with ETonline about making the video as well as Reincarnated (the documentary which follows his spiritual awakening in Jamaica) and whether or not he'll ever make another rap album.
ETonline: Who came up with the idea for the [Pocket Like It's Hot] video and how did it come about?
Snoop Lion: They approached me about it, and we put a team together (like Andy Milonakis around it and a couple other people that I had trust and faith with the comedy side of what I do). I liked the idea and, you know, went to the studio and made it happen and it worked. It was all about an idea that was brought to me that I enhanced and liked, and I went ahead and put my team around it to make it work.
ET: You've done a lot with comedy -- we've seen you on the Comedy Central Roasts and Soul Plane and you've worked with Andy Milonakis before. Have you ever fielded ideas for your own sitcom?
Snoop: Most definitely. You know, I had a [sketch] show called Doggy Fizzle Televizzle, which was on MTV. I always wanted to figure out a way to do a great sitcom like a Good Times or What's Happening. You know, some things from the '70s that really had an effect on me as a kid.
ET: Would you ever consider doing something like that moving forward?
Snoop: Yeah! If it's written correctly and the role on there for me is appropriate for what I'm going through at the time and if I can bring a positive message -- most definitely.
ET: Speaking of what you're going through, I gotta ask about your transformation and the documentary. When you initially went down to Jamaica, what was the plan?
Snoop: The plan was to go make a record, and to film the process of me making a record ... the transformation is kind of hard to explain. I'm glad I documented it because you wouldn't really understand it until you've seen it. Hopefully when the movie comes out it will better explain to you and everyone else who wants to know how it happened.
ET: What would you say is the major difference between Snoop Lion and Snoop Dogg?
Snoop: I can't tell, because it's still in the process. It's kind of hard to say what's the difference because it's not two different people. It's not two walks of life. It's a journey and it's a transformation. To me it's a little bit of both in everything.
ET: One thing with the reggae vs. rapping -- it seems like you have more of a focus on putting out a positive message. Do you feel like you could've made that switch staying in hip hop?
Snoop: No, that ain't me. I came out in hip hop, gangsta rapping. That is who I am. That's what I'm going to always be in hip hop. That's why the transformation into reggae fits better, because to me reggae is about love and peace and unity and struggle. And, you know, [in] Rastafari a lot of the guys come from oppression and come from being abused and treated bad. So they give a positive message and turn it around and come from that same perspective that I come from but just on another level, but it's all music. It's a great thing.
ET: Can you tell us anything about the collaborations on the album?
Snoop: We got Bunny Wailer on a song -- from The Wailers. Chris Brown gave me something. Snoop Dogg and Snoop Lion.
ET: We look forward to that. Will we ever see another rap album from Snoop Dogg?
Snoop: To be or not to be? That is the question. Or as we say -- to G or not to G? That is the question. We'll see. I don't think I could ever stop. I just think that, right now, this is what feels good to me. I've been doing rap ever since I've been a rapper. So that's probably 1978 when I started and it's 2012 ... And to be able to take what I learned from rapping and be able to spin it into reggae music is beautiful because there's a little rap in reggae and there's a little reggae in rap, so it's all complimentary. 'Cause remember, one of the forefathers of hip hop is a Jamaican native -- that's Kool Herc.
ET: There is such a strong correlation between the two forms but, for you personally, has your approach to making music changed at all?
Snoop: Yeah, a little bit, because I'm kind of watching what I'm saying. You know, because I want to say something. And before I never had to watch what I was saying, because I didn't give a f*** what I was saying because it was coming from my heart and I was speaking from a young adolescent who was an ex-gangbanger, ex-drug dealer, so I was speaking what I thought was best at the time, which was what I was going through. But as an older man I have to speak on things that make a difference and things that matter -- using my power the right way to say something.
Snoop's Reincarnated documentary is eyeing a theatrical release for February 2013. Check out the Pocket Like It's Hot video below.