*1/2 (out of four)
In his well-intentioned but self-serving documentary “Reincarnated,” Snoop Dogg—sorry, Snoop Lion, his new reggae persona—says many things he can’t substantiate:
>> Hip-hop is a form of reggae and reggae is a form of hip-hop, so there’s no difference.
>> He, Warren G and Nate Dogg were sort of like Long Beach’s version of the Wailers.
>> He made pimpin’ lovable and fashionable.
>> Death Row Records put Mexicans, blacks, Bloods and Crips on the same page.
Perhaps that lack of accountability is inevitable when Snoop Lion produces a Snoopadelic Films Production about Dogg’s transition to Lion. Much of “Reincarnated” finds Mr. Lion traveling to Jamaica to research the Rastafarian lifestyle and record new peace-and-love material with Major Lazer. Snoop continually asserts his long-time spiritual kinship to Bob Marley and the Rastas. However, his affinity doesn’t appear to go deeper than a daily fondness for weed and his understandable longing for peace and positivity following a rough, drug-dealing upbringing and the deaths of many friends and family members.
Now in his 40s, Snoop says he’s wiser “like Budweiser.” The most compelling, convincing aspect of “Reincarnated” comes from watching his new music develop from puny imitation to legit, meaningful reggae. At first, Snoop notes his desire to enlighten people with his new stuff. Then he sings about smoking weed, not seeds, and that “natural berries are so good for the system.” Very enlightening.
Later, he works on songs with more to say about death and regret, even if it’s laughable to hear a collaborating songwriter note that seeing an ashtray reminded her of … an ashtray, and she wanted to write about that. It still leads to something evocative, which is more than you can say of the generalized commentary about Snoop’s early criminal days or acquittal for murder. The same goes for the numerous shots of Snoop’s cousin, clearly enjoying his supporting role of tagging along, not working and smoking all the Jamaican grass he can find.
Glad you got to roll a blunt in the jungle, man, and that your story could be told to the masses.
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U
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