April 24, 2013

Test Spins: Snoop Lion, Reincarnated

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Gone is the Snoop Dogg of old, as former hip-hop artist Calvin Broadus continues his already illustrious career with a new identity: Snoop Lion.

Reincarnated is a representation of Snoop’s current career position.  No longer capable of innovating through hip-hop, he takes to reggae as a means of extending his musical livelihood.

The result sounds more like a mid-life revelation then a musical reinvention.  Clearly, Snoop assimilates well with the weed smoking and blissful nature of reggae culture.  In concordance with the album, Snoop released a documentary about his time in Jamaica, where he was fully embraced by the locals.

Yet, the music itself feels diluted.  Rather than utilizing the smooth flow and lyrical genius that has defined his hip-hop career, he relies on his singing voice far too much. Though Snoop integrates well with the Jamaican lifestyle, he does little to convince us that his musical talents fit the reggae mold.

However, this genuinely does not seem to matter to Snoop.  His lyrics advocate for peace, strength, unity and hope, a far cry from the gangster rap of his earlier days.  Thus, it appears that he has reached a carefree point in his life.  Knowing that his best days are behind him, he fully embodies the positive vibes of Rastafari rather than lament over the decline of his musical prowess.

Snoop saves the album by employing stellar production from the likes of Major Lazer and with guest appearances from Angele Hunte, Akon and Drake.  However, he seems to take a backseat to these musicians, and when he does sing, his voice is hardly recognizable.

Though the album offers little novelty to the reggae genre, it succeeds with catchy hooks and positive vibes.  More than anything, Reincarnated epitomizes Snoop’s embodiment of the reggae culture, a move that extends his career and makes for a feel-good album.

Original Author: Scott Goldberg