Stewart Copeland

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