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SXSW: Snoop Lion goes reggae, still raps, sorta covers 'I Love Rock 'n' Roll' -- VIDEO

Snoop Lion’s much-publicized Jamaican-journey documentary Reincarnated officially hits theaters today, giving curious fans a look into the how the gin-sipping rapper once known as Snoop Dogg (and Snoop Doggy Dogg before that) transformed into the reggae-loving Rastafarian he is today.

To mark the movie and the upcoming album of the same name, due April 23, and the 41-year-old celebrated with Lionfest, a Snoop-centric event he debuted at Vice‘s SXSW HQ last night. (Vice is also helping to release the movie and album.)

Donning layered black and grey shirts, sunglasses, and his signature brass-knuckled microphone, the rapper didn’t waste any time spreading the gospel of his new identity. After airing a trailer for the doc, he began his set with “Here Comes the King,” a dub-tinged, Major Lazer-produced cut from Reincarnated. (Major Lazer, by the way, was on-hand at Lionfest all night.) It was a good start, giving Snoop leeway to follow it up with another one of his new reggae numbers, “Lighters Up.”

But the updated Snoop still isn’t above dipping into his back catalog to thrill an audience, so he offered up his O.G. classic “Gin and Juice” — though not without giving it a reggae facelift. Unsurprisingly, the tampered song was still a hit; at this point, that song is bigger than its genre.

In fact, Mr. Lion offered up quite a few standout tracks from his LBC gangsta days, like “Bitch Please” and his Chronic-era Dr. Dre assists “‘Nuthin’ But a G Thang” and “Deep Cover” (even though they all feature the kind of imagery that the reincarnated Snoop says he’d like to avoid now that he’s had a spiritual awakening.)

He even performed “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” during the show — a funny choice, considering that he kept the original chorus intact. But, hey, classics are classics. Or maybe the fact that Beats By Dr. Dre had its own Pill speaker-hawking shop set up in the corner of the venue made him nostalgic?


5 things we learned from GQ's Snoop Lion profile

snoop-lion_510x292It’s Snoop Lion. Not Snoop Doggy Dogg. Not Snoop Dogg. Snoop Lion. Get it straight.

The former Death Row gangsta rapper and Dr. Dre protegé has been more or less officially reincarnated thanks to a new album, Reincarnated, and a documentary film called …Reincarnated.

And as would be the case with any star’s major identity shift, Snoop’s transformation has invited a host of new publicity, including a profile in GQ’s January issue.

For the piece, writer Drew Magary accompanied the reborn reggae artist to a meal in L.A. and later, to a medical marijuana dispensary. Here’s what we learned:

1. Snoop, 41, never thought he’d live this long.

“You always think 21 is your number in the hood, you know? Twenty-one. I’ve doubled up. As you become a man, you start having kids and living. You put the guns away, and your music becomes Hey, I’m with my kid and I’m living now…as opposed to Fthat – I’ll shoot you on sight.READ FULL STORY

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