Snoop Dogg goes reggae; gets stoned…
“I’m a point in my career now when I have to say something,” Snoop Dogg explains to Bunny Wailer, as the two men stoke up some fruity Californian weed. Reincarnated finds the Californian rapper at a transitional period in his life. He has just turned 40, but arguably of greater impact is the recent death of his school friend and collaborator Nate Dogg. In an introspective frame of mind, Snoop sees parallels between himself and Bob Marley – “not just the weed, [but] the struggle, the love, the peace, the power” – and heads to Jamaica to get a “real thorough understanding of reggae, Rastafari and the whole lifestyle” while also recording an album at one of the island’s high-end residential studio complexes.
Directed by former NME staffer and now Vice editor Andy Capper, Reincarnated is an intimate film about Snoop’s personal journey to becoming Snoop Lion – an epithet bestowed upon him by Bunny Wailer, a man for whom weed is apparently best smoked through a device resembling a hollowed-out carrot. Throughout the film, Snoop finds resonances with his own life. A visit to Kingston’s beleaguered Tivoli Gardens neighbourhood prompts memories of gangbanging on the eastside of Long Beach – “21st Street block East Side LBC!” Elsewhere, a nocturnal trip to Trenchtown with Damian Marley sets Snoop musing on the parallels between Marley Snr, Wailer and Peter Tosh and his own friendship with Nate Dogg and Warren G.
But this isn’t just a film about one man’s path to spiritual fulfilment and the recording on an album. It is also a film where some men get deeply stoned – often with hilarious consequences. A journey to a weed farm deep into the Blue Mountain Range with some toothless dudes who look like pirates provides some great stoner comedy – Daz Dillinger rolling around on the floor, too stoned to get up, is priceless. The film is particularly strong on context, with Capper getting good interviews with Snoop, commendably honest about his time as a gangbanger, his relationship with Death Row boss Suge Knight, the death of Tupac Shakur and his own criminal activities. “I’m wise, or a bit wiser,” says Snoop, with a smile.