Swallow the Lion to Get Rid of the Dogg
Sometimes an artist comes to the point were he feels the need to redefine himself. Some musicians’ evolutions are gradual from point A to point B. Some change as a means to stay current so they don’t merely fade away. With others it’s a sign of maturity, an aging musician whose musical style and lyrical dialogue transform from adolescent tendencies to subject matter that is more relevant to them now. The emergence of Snoop Dog’s latest release would fall in the last category. Released under the moniker Snoop Lion, Reincarnated shows a side of the artist we have not seen before: a reggae album.
As a rapper, Snoop owned one of the smoothest deliveries in the game and that gift transitions well into his new found niche. From the first note of the opening track “Rebel Way,” you can tell that this is going to be a great experience. Snoop’s voice has a unique distinction to it, and though he may not be the best singer his voice is pleasing to the ears and carries an air of familiarity.
A Snoop album wouldn’t be a Snoop album without homages to marijuana. On “Lighters Up” and “Smoke the Weed,” Snoop’s favorite pastime takes center stage. Even though these tracks still have the characteristics of a reggae jam, the underlying presence of Snoop’s west coast roots are just begging to come out and speak a few bars.
The most surprising track on the album appears in the form of a love song. “The Good Good” is as the name suggests: good, really good. Sentiments like “Oh this love / Is the best drug there could ever be / And I get high on you and me” shows that Snoops change from hip hop to reggae shows a softer side of this original gangster. Reincarnation may not be the best reggae album or even the best album released by Snoop, but it’s fun and consistent and that’s what makes it worth a listen.