MOVIE REVIEW: Snoop Lion – Reincarnated (2013)

SNOOP LION – Reincarnated (2013 Vice films)

Directed by Andy Capper

What the hell?  It’s not April 1.  Are you on the wrong site?

Nope, it’s me, LeBrain.  And today we’re going to be talking about a Snoop Lion movie.  Snoop Lion, aka the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg.

It may surprise you to learn that Snoop Dogg/Lion entertains me.  It was one of my old staff guys, Matty K, who exposed me to Snoop’s music.  I enjoyed the humour in the lyrics and his smoove voice.  He’s funny. And, let’s face it, who didn’t think he kicked ass as Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch?

Reincarnated is a documentary that chronicles Snoop’s transformation from gangsta to peaceful Rasta.  This process included a visit to Jamaica, to record his first ever Reggae album (Reincarnated) with such talented artists as Bunny Wailer, Damien Marley and Stewart Copeland of The Police.  (Snoop: “We got the drummer from The fuckin’ Po-lice!”)   He also had the last surviving Wailer.  The creative process of the album is observed, and it’s always fascinating to me, to watch songs evolve.  Snoop’s singing voice does well with Reggae.  He is a natural fit, and he had some damn good guidance there in Kingston.

Snoop discusses his early adult life as a pimp bluntly and honestly, but says that he wasn’t comfortable with that lifestyle and image any longer after his friend Tupac Shakur was killed.  The night Tupac died is described in full detail; a heavy moment in the film.  After this, Snoop decided on a change of lyrical direction, under the guidance of Master P of No Limits records.  Louis Farrakhan became a guiding force to Snoop at this time, and Snoop was inspired by the Nation of Islam to clean up his act.  The process of transformation led him to many moments of epiphany, but the death of his friend Nate Dogg in 2011 really hit him hard.

I won’t lie to you, there’s a shit-ton of weed in this movie.  One memorable scene involves a trip up a mountain with some local Rastas (where they grow the herb) to smoke the herb.  While climbing down the mountain, Snoop’s cousin falls down laughing, and can barely stand, having smoked so much.  You will even see Bunny Wailer smoking a pipe made out of a carrot, I shit you not.  It’s there, it’s part of it.  If that’s not something you need to see, fair enough.

As fascinating, sincere and transformative the movie seems, I did wonder if Snoop has maintained his Rasta values and practices?  Or if this too was a phase?  In researching for this review I found that Bunny Wailer has since accused Snoop of “outright fraudulent use” of Rastafari.  This issue comes up in the film itself in a segment with Bunny.  He does not seem to like the commercialization of Rastafarian culture, through popular music, images and style.  It seems that since the movie, he lumps Snoop into that category.

Be that as it may, I’m only going to review the film, regardless of that controversy.  I enjoyed it, quite a bit actually, and I’m putting the album on my Amazon wishlist.

4/5 stars

37 comments

  1. Holey smokes! I wanna see this!!

    Get review, Mike! So what if it isn’t Rwk. You’d probably have your own spin on a Britney Spears doc and I’d read it.

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        1. There’s a Katy Perry on Netflix. I would consider watching it but there would be ulterior motives. Netflix has been a lot of fun for us so far. I watched Bad Grandpa .5 last night, I might squeeze a review out of that.

          Shoot I had better get on that first coffee of the day.

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        2. I’ve seen the KP film – I am not a big fan of hers, but I enjoyed it. Showed her as a human being struggling to keep her personal life together. I actually shed a tear for her.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. No, I didn’t totally get that…he’s off the sauce and is trying to build a life for himself that includes Katy. He’s lonely, and married Katy at the wrong time because she was away and touring and he hates to travel…They broke up and she had to continue to perform – which took bravery. She was heartbroken. But, yeah, marriages can be complex. I can see it from both points of view.

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        4. Well that’s certainly a lot more complex than the average breakup. Yeah I’d like to see that. Don’t know if I can muster a review. My wife is writing her Musical Crimes of LeBrain piece. It’s potentially devastating!

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        5. I was counting on it, Mr. Bond.

          Err, Sarca. Sorry. I was being evil in my mind.

          No, I knew she’d find some funny stuff but I’m really happy with it. It’s a nice way to cap off the RST. Some funny shit before we go all dark for the end.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. Yeah big time.

          And do you know what I’ll be doing exactly 7 days from now?

          Trailer Park Boys Season 8 marathon. It comes out on the 5th and I have my weekend planned around it.

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  2. Snoop has always been a little bit of a guilty pleasure to me. I’ve always liked him and Dr. Dre, but not much else of rap.
    I love Katy Perry though… and I did a review of the Pink movie on Netflix.
    I ain’t scared!

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  3. When I first read this, my thought was that I had absolutely no desire to see this. I’m all for artists discovering new things, but I wouldn’t be too into it if he’s calling it a transformation and he’s really just trying the dress on to see if it fits. Like when Bon Jovi cut his hair and said he’d always meant to be wearing flannel, after grunge made a lot of people move away from the music of his band.

    But on further reflection, this might be interesting just to further the picture I already have of Snoop. I’m not bothered by the ganja, I couldn’t care less. But I’d be curious enough to watch it just to see if Bunny’s right and he’s just a tourist, or if he’s really searching for something and thinking/hoping he’s found it.

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    1. Honestly I would say any music doc is worth watching — like Sarca and I were talking about with the Katy Perry one. Who knows you might see me review that.

      This was really excellent. As I said I tried to review just the movie and not the controversy afterwards, but the soul searching and reminiscing alone was worth the price of admission. Making music with Dr. Dre, 2Pac and all those guys.

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  4. Okay, I watched this film last night. I have a few things to say. But, first, I realize this is a Vice film, created to shock and awe.

    I am not sure he is absolutely clear on what it means to be Rasta: just because you smoke weed and go to Jamaica, does not make you full-on Rastafari. In fact, not all who are Rasta smoke weed. They believe their bodies are temples – some therefore abhor the ganja.

    Second, although I found that Snoop was genuine in telling us about Tupac’s murder, and Nate Dogg’s death, I still feel something a bit off about how this has made him “change” into a Rasta. He already turned his life around through the guidance of Farakkhan and the nation of Islam – a religion that does not believe in Jesus Christ, but in Mohammed. And now he is trying to adopt a philosophy that sees Halie Selassie 1 as the second coming of Christ. It seems like BS to me…

    Third, I am convinced this film was created as a marketing ploy to promote his record. The Rasta way is just something to further market it. Yes Snoop came from the gangs, and has now cleaned up his act. But, he is also a multi-millionaire who needs to market his shit any way he can. Bunny W has a huge point.

    I didn’t get anything more than him trying to mellow out on weed to make me believe he was going to live out the rest of his days as a rasta. Time will tell though. Prove me wrong, Snoop!

    I obviously didn’t like this film as much as you did lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair enough! You gave voice to some things that I chose to skip. Such as the role of Jesus Chris in the Nation of Islam vs. Rasta. I chose to give Snoop the benefit of the doubt, due to the fact that he’s obviously not a religious scholar regardless of having spent time with people like Farrakhan.

      So, I’ll reveal my feelings now as well — giving benefit of the doubt again — I think Snoop went with best intentions, but is a spiritual wanderer and will never settle into one philosophy. I think the film was an opportunity and they went for it and made a lot of people aware of the “big change”.

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        1. I’ll admit I’ve gone from path to path, although not as wide as Snoop! Although I am an adherent to science I still have room in my heart for a spiritual side and that’s probably always going to be there.

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        2. I have gone down my own path as well…from full-on church-goer to total ambivalence, to agnostic. I don’t really consider myself spiritual. I do believe in developing a higher consciousness. I am also working on my own inner peace – but that does not recruit help from a higher power.

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        3. Everybody tries on different hats and imaginary friends and philosophies in their ifetimes. It’s actually a good thing. It’s a sign of a person at least trying to think their way through their life.

          But Sarca’s review of the movie makes me agree (even not having seen it). I’m just extrapolating from your review and her comments here, but it sounds to me like it’s part spiritual searching film, part marketing vehicle. And the parts may not be of equal size.

          Maybe I do need to see it now, dammit.

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        4. I think you’re getting the right impression from us. I’m just more a “benefit of the doubt” kinda guy, I think.

          I think it’s worth seeing, I mean for me, Netflix is free for a month, so I’m cramming in absolutely EVERYTHING that even remotely interests me. Watch Collin Farrel’s Total Recall yesterday and was pleasantly entertained for an afternoon.

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        5. They remade Total Recall? Oh ferf*ckssakes. Are there no new ideas anymore? Is the well dry? What could possibly convince someone that they should do that film over again? And why now?

          I am SO sick of remakes and reboots and re-dos. How many different Hulks do we need to see before they feel like they got it right this time?

          And the worst of it is, we’re dumb enough to watch it. We give them money and so to them that’s approbation to go and do it again. And again. And again. Ugh.

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        6. Hey Sarca thanks for the link! We’ll be watching that.

          As for remakes, I know they do it all the time. Hence my rant. I think it’s pretty pointless. All that time, money, energy and celluloid spent repeating yourself when you could be trying to move things forward. It’s a shame the culture demands it and allows it.

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