He's taking to the stage at Oxegen this evening but Snoop Lion has been a very busy man since we last saw him on the Emerald Isle. The American rapper, singer-songwriter and actor released a brand new album and made a documentary to boot. Reincarnated took Snoop on a journey of self-discovery around Jamaica, where he aimed to find out more about reggae and Rastafarian culture.
"Many things interested me in the Rastafari movement" he explains. "It's a beautiful, diverse culture. I feel like I've always been interested and around it, but it was more in the background. Now my third eye is open, so to speak."
You might remember that it was around this time (March 2012) when we first heard word that the Dogg was now a Lion. Many didn't think twice about the transformation, and some even labelled it another throwaway name change ala Puff Sean Daddy P Combs Diddy. However, Snoop reveals that he had very little to do with the whole thing.
"The name was given to me by the elders in Jamaica" he explains. "I didn't just decide to change it one day. I was baptised in a ceremony. The lion is very respected & revered in the Rastafari culture and I was honored to be given that name."
It's hardly surprising that he kept the new name, because if there's one thing that comes across clearly, it's Snoop's reverence for the Rastafari movement. "As a kid, I was raised Baptist, but I feel religion should be based on the way you live and treat others" he says. "Love is love. Rastafari is so connected to who I am that I feel like I am a part of it. Rasta is not a religion, it's a way of life."
For many making the trip to Oxegen, Snoop Dogg/Lion and his music are just as precious. His long and successful career certainly speaks for itself, but it seems he's learned an awful lot while dropping it like it's hot. "Teamwork makes the dream work" he says, putting his success down to hard work and a great team who make him feel as though he's been blessed. "A good attitude and good people around you go a very long way... To the Snooperbowl, baby!"
Snoop certainly surrounded himself with people while making his latest album, with the likes of Drake, Rita Ora and Akon signing on for duets. "It just happened that way" he replies when we ask if he'd planned to fill the LP with collaborations. "We brought a bunch of homies to Jamaica and made good music together." Miley Cyrus even got in on the action, teaming up with Snoop for Ashtrays and Heartbreaks.
So, what did he make of the former Pop Princess? "We had a chance to meet and chop it up" he says. "She told me how much she loved my music and we just went from there. Miley’s cool man. She’s doing her thing."
Reincarnated is due to hit Netflix here in Ireland on August 10th, so Snoop couldn't have picked a better time to return to our shores. Of course that's not the only reason he's here: "I love the fans in Ireland" he says. "Ireland is a great crowd, you guys bring the energy". And while we have him, we have to ask, would he be on Ming Flanagan's team when it comes to the marijuana debate? "Legalize it man" he exclaims, "JAH RASTAFARI!"