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Snoop Dogg Is Reincarnated - As A Lion
Snoop Dogg has announced he is turning his back on rap after being "born again" in Jamaica and is changing his name to Snoop Lion.
The veteran artist, known for his gangster rap, says he is ready to make music that his "kids and grandparents can listen to" and is releasing a reggae album called Reincarnated later this year.
His shock announcement came at a news conference in New York, during which he played five songs, including one called No Guns Allowed, featuring his daughter.
The album will be followed up with a documentary of the same name, which will show him making music and include some personal elements of his life, a producer of the film said. It will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7.
The film follows Snoop Dogg as he journeys to Jamaica to record an album with Diplo. While there, Snoop is embraced by the Jamaican people and Rastafarianism.
During filming, he opens up about his long and sometimes violent journey from teenage gang member to a middle-aged hip-hop superstar.
Along the way, he says, he shed the name and persona of Snoop Dogg and was rechristened Snoop Lion by Rastafarian priests.
"I have always said I was Bob Marley reincarnated," Snoop told reporters at a news conference at Miss Lily's, a Caribbean restaurant in New York, reports The New York Times.
He added: "I feel I have always been a Rastafari. I just didn't have my third eye open, but it's wide open right now."
The 40-year-old said he wanted to renounce violence and write in the reggae genre, which he called "music of love".
Snoop, whose legal name is Calvin Broadus, said he went to Jamaica to get close to reggae legend Marley's roots. While visiting a Rastafarian temple, "the high priest" told him his name was no longer Dogg.
"He looked me in my eyes and said, 'no more. You are... the lion'," he said.
The new songs, he said, might give him "a chance to perform for kids and grandkids," something he felt his work as a rapper would not let him do.
The rapper-turned-reggae artist said: "There comes a point where you say I done it all, or there isn't much more to do. This was like a rebirth for me.
"Rap is not a challenge to me," he added. "I had enough of that. It's not appealing to me no more. I don't have no challenges. I'm 'Uncle Snoop' in rap.
"When you get to be an uncle, you need to find a new profession so you can start over and be fresh again. I want to be a kid again."