When Calvin Broadus first came to public attention, his moniker was Snoop Dogg – a name he used to release 11 albums of laid back, dark, Long Beach rap, from Doggystyle in 1993 right up to Doggumentary in 2011. Now Snoop Dogg is looking to invent an older self and discovering his spiritual roots in Jamaica: he has recorded the first American Reggae album and become Snoop Lion. Reincarnated is a documentary accompanying Snoop on his adventure.
Having enabled Dennis Rodman access to North Korea for an upcoming HBO series, VICE was an obvious choice to produce Snoop Lion’s film. VICE is a Brooklyn-based multiplatform magazine, which produces documentaries on hard hitting topics and comedic situations, including Swansea Love Story (a documentary about heroin in Swansea) and Westminster Dog Show… on Acid (which is self-explanatory).
VICE’s Andy Capper is the director (also of Swansea Love Story and many more). His films tend to revolve around drug addiction, making Snoop Lion’s profuse intake of “The Herb” (as the Rastafari call it throughout the movie) a focal point. It’s an interesting approach, as his use of the drug is not portrayed negatively but wholly positively.
The film drifts through the creation of Snoop’s album (recording sessions, leisure time – both meaning the copious intake of cannabis) and Snoop telling the story of his life, from cocaine dealing to being a real-life pimp. There are expositional excursions into Jamaica: looking for a marijuana field, smoking marijuana with various Rastafarians, meeting the last living member of Bob Marley’s band The Wailers and smoking marijuana with him… It goes on – and for quite a bit longer than it should, clocking in at 99 minutes, half of which are filler and repetitive shots of people blowing smoke into the camera lens.
The film is funny and at times engaging and insightful; learning a brief history of one of the world’s most famous rappers, watching him reinvent himself and meeting his family are all interesting enough. Reincarnated would have been suited better to VICE’s YouTube channel, broken into five segments and watched for free at home, rather than as a small theatrical release – but for fans of Snoop Lion, it’s a must see.
Reincarnated is released in selected cinemas on 22nd March 2013.
Watch the trailer for Reincarnated here: