Director: Andy Capper
Cast: Snoop Dogg, Dr.Dre, Daz Dillinger, Diplo, Damian Marley, Bunny Wailer
Running Time: 96 minutes
Release: March 22
Last summer, Calvin Broadus shocked the music world when he told us he was no longer a doggy dog, he had now been reborn a proud lion. And to go with his new moniker, he would be taking a new outlook on his musical output, he would embrace his desire to make the music of the Rastafari, reggae. Absconding to Jamaica for a spiritual journey and to record his first album with Diplo and his Major Lazer cohorts, he allowed Vice Films along for the ride.
The tone for Reincarnated strives to be introspective—“my life has always been about stages, being on the stage, and going through stages”, he sagely notes—as Snoop ruminates on his life up to now and the man he is, but ends up landing firmly in weed exploitation territory, and it’s unintentionally funny at times for it.
Outside of time spent in the studio, Snoop and his entourage go on trips—quite literally—to meet people heavily involved in Rastafari culture, visit the ghettos of Trenchtown and Tivoli Gardens, spend time jamming with the Alpha Boys School band and even find time to be baptised. He aims for it to be spiritual but there’s as much enlightenment here as a cocaine-fueled stag in Prague. The yearly national marijuana output of Jamaica is smoked in joints, blunts, bongs and pipes as Snoop and his cousin, Daz Dillinger, hilariously negotiate jungles in search of the freshest of herbs.
In between scenes in Jamaica are interviews and footage with Snoop around the time of Nate Dogg’s death, who Snoop grew up with and formed 213 with along with Warren G. It acts as the closest the film brings you to explaining why he made the choice to switch genres for anything other than a publicity stunt. That said, its placement in the film stunts its impact a little considering the reefer madness you’ve just been privy to.
Musically, you see the shift Snoop has made, with access to the studio delivering interesting insights into his lyrical output; the guns are out and love is the message–he’s still rapping about juice, only there’s no gin in the mix anymore. While no doubt patchy in places, Reincarnated is likely a must-see for anyone interested in hip-hop history or just generally musically inclined. For the rest of you, there’s the joy that can only be garnered from hearing Snoop consistently saying “Ras-taa-far-eye” in his best Kingston accent, which is something.