The rapper Snoop Dogg joined the Rastafarian religion and changed his name to Snoop Lion. Changing one’s name is not part of Rastafarianism, but calling oneself a dog is considered insulting. (Note: Language which may be offensive to some people is in the videos below)
“I want to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion,” he said at a press conference.
“Rastas would probably see calling yourself a dog as an indication of lack of self-knowledge,”Edmonds said.
Unlike dogs, lions hold a place of pride in Rasta theology, explained Edmonds, author of a forthcoming history of the religious movement.
Not only did Snoop Lion change his name, but also he plans to change his whole image while in Jamaica. He says he is tired of rap and wants to do something different.
With reggae, Lion has the chance to create music that all ages can enjoy – from children to his grandparents, who might not have been able to enjoy his harder-edged rap catalogue.
"I'm a wise man in the music industry," he said. "Not that I'll never do rap again because I'm always gonna do what I love, but right now I'm Snoop Lion and I'm having fun with this reggae movement so hopefully you guys will enjoy it as well."
He also considers himself the reincarnation of late Bob Marley, who was also Rastafarian and often sang of the “lion of Zion”. Rastafarianism also believes in reincarnation, much as the Hindus do and is said that Hinduism influenced Rastafarian beliefs.
Rastafarianism holds that the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie was not only the messiah, he also descended from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. According to the biblical Book of 1 Kings, the two rulers met briefly and seemed to hit it off.
The lion was the symbol of Solomon’s Tribe of Judah (Christians see Jesus as the lion of Judah).
Rastafarianism also practices smoking marijuana as one of its sacraments and many Jamaicans believe that it gives peaceful feelings and ceremonial harmony, as well as aides introspection of oneself. They also believe that the divine essence rest in the person.
“Marijuana helps them break through the mental boundaries that Babylon has placed upon them and return to their sense of self,”Edmonds said.
Or, as Snoop Lion said on Monday, "I feel like I’ve always been Rastafari, I just didn’t have my third eye open."
A new feature length documentary will feature the priest, Nyabingi, who rechristen Snoop Dogg as Snoop Lion and captures Snoop Lion’s conversion to Rastafarianism in Jamaica last February.
In the longer video below, Snoop Lion said that when the spirit calls you, it calls you in pieces and when he went and saw the priest in the temple, the priest asked him his name and when Snoop Dogg stated he was “Snoop Dogg”, the priest said, “No more. You are a lion. You are the lion.”
Rastafarian priests bestowed the new moniker Snoop Lion upon the music icon when he visited Jamaica in search of "a new path."
"I didn't know that until I went to the temple, where the High Priest asked me what my name was, and I said, 'Snoop Dogg.' And he looked me in my eyes and said, 'No more. You are the light; you are the lion.' From that moment on, it's like I had started to understand why I was there," he explained at a press conference.
After that, he believes he was born again as Snoop Lion.
He also said that Reggae makes people feel good and is love. He believes he is a wise man in the music industry and thinks he can teach young rappers to grow and play, “because that is what you do when you become wise.” He always wanted to perform for kids and now he gets the chance to perform for kids and his grandparents with Reggae music.
The first released Reggae song Snoop Lion released recently, since his conversion is La-La-La-La, but Snoop stated in the longer video that "They can't f*** with me in rap. So it's like I've had enough of that. It's not challenging to me any more. I'm Uncle Snoop in rap." Reggae is a breath of fresh air to Snoop Lion and he feels that it was always in his rap songs and part of him.
He feels he has always been Rastafarian, but did not have his third eye open. He believes it is now open and “it is what it is.” Snoop also stated that his conversion and transformation was "not for fun. It's for real." He calls Rastafarianism a way of life and he wants to make people "do right". He also plans to do a song he calls "No Guns Allowed" and feels with all the shootings "and stuff", no guns should not be allowed, but as a "gansta", he says, one has to carry one at all times. Even so, with the way the world is, he does not want guns allowed.
Below is a 48 minute program concerning his conversion to the Rastafarian religion and the upcoming documentary. One person wept concerning Snoops conversion and transformation.