All photos by Rebecca Smeyne.
When Snoop walks into a room, it's different from when you walk into a room, or when I walk into a room - a hush blankets the conversation and all eyes are on him, as if something awful just happened and he's the only one who can make it better.
OK, to be honest, I've only seen Snoop walk into a room once, last night at Manhattan's Miss Lily's restaurant in SoHo. Flanked by Diplo, Sway, VICE founder Suroosh Alvi, and Snoop's manager Ted Chung, Snoop made a series of announcements in what was arguably the most low-impact press conference in human history; he was as chill as you could possibly imagine. You can scroll down to see some visual proof.
"I've always said that I'm Bob Marley reincarnated," Snoop said to the small audience of press and fans, which actually included Rohan Marley, Bob's son. Rohan took this comment better than I would have, and confirmed that the Marley family, and all of Jamaica, was on board with Snoop's recent career moves.
That move is a transformation Snoops been undergoing, from Snoop Dogg the rapper to Snoop Lion the reggae star. The change will be manifest on his new album REINCARNATED, which was recorded during a trip to Jamaica. "La La La" is the debut single off the record - you can stream the track below:
Between sporadic exclamations of "Jah! Rastafari" Snoop Lion discussed his recent metamorphosis with reverence and gravity. "As a 40 year old man in the music industry, the young artists call me Uncle Snoop. I gotta get with something now. I can't just take them to a dead end street and drop them off. I have to teach them how to fish."
He went on to explain that he's "been making rap since 1985, and I've been pretty good at it. Reggae music was calling on me because it's something I've always had in my music. Now that I'm able to really do it, it's a breath of fresh air, and it's a challenge to me, because with no disrespect (and don't take this the wrong way), they can't fuck with me with rap."
Diplo chimed in from time to time, saying earnestly that "some of the songs we worked on this record gave us goosebumps. In this day and age, the market is defined by having hit songs, and with this record, the main goal was to make good music, which is something you never hear. There was no label here, that's 100% creative control, and that just doesn't exist anymore."
The official trailer for REINCARNATED, the new documentary on Snoop Lion, produced through a partnership with VICE and Snoopadelic Films.
Alvi spoke to the creation of a feature length documentary, directed by VICE Global Editor Andy Capper, which will make its debut on September 7 at the Toronto International Film Festival. "After being in Jamaica for three or four days with Snoop and the whole team, I realized that we were making a feature length documentary here, this was amazing. We're really proud of what we filmed down there."
Alvi continued: "Even though we're from different places, I think we had a similar worldview, and that was a real surprise, but we've been outliers and rebels in media, and that's exactly what Snoop's been doing for his entire career." The audience was left with the feeling that this partnership made perfect sense, that the footage captured down in Jamaica was really something special.