For Snoop Dogg, the making of Reincarnated was publicized as a religious experience. Shedding the violence of his Death Row Records days, the reformed Snoop Lion is a character his three children can idolize. “I can’t believe I might be killing my community” Snoop reminisces over the slow burn of “Tired of Running” that features a duet with Akon that’s smoother and nearly as intoxicating as chilled Henny and Hypnotic. Snoop tosses more dirt on his former gangster lifestyle on ”Rebel Way”, which finds the former drug dealer and pimp now professing the power of peace and love.
Executive produced by Major Lazer, the affair is an approachable relative to Jamaican roots and dancehall. However, while Snoop could have enlisted local talents to deepen his journey, he brought along household names to solidify the release’s cross-over potential. Miley Cyrus’ harmonies in “Ashtrays and Heartaches” only slightly advance her self-described path away from the pop realm; lacking the needed emotion to convey the tumultuous adolescence of the fictional narrator. Drake’s output stays closer to the album’s intended spiritual undertones. On “No Guns”, his lone hook cuts the track’s prevailing youth chorus runs with a gritty anecdotal reality. A tale that likely grew from his childhood spent partially in Memphis but translates to global regions of hardship.
Before falling into Snoop’s Rastafari renaissance, remember that this is also the man who claimed to be a member of the Nation of Islam in 2009 and tried reaching into the R&B world with his project Nine Inch Dicks in ’06. Non-Jamaicans like Matisyahu and Gentelmen have successfully adapted the Rastafari messages into their work, but with the Vice film crew documenting the experience, Snoop Lion managed to enrage the Rastafari Millennium Council with this freshest marketing ploy.
Essential Tracks: “Tired of Running”