Review Summary: While not the flop that most were expecting, the mighty lion yawns rather than roars.
Snoop Dogg’s name is really one of the only changes he’s gone through that is actually drastic in his rebirth as the reggae artist “Snoop Lion.” As a rapper, he always had a very laid-back tone and smooth flow that would never become as forceful as his gangsta rap contemporaries, and always maintained a calm and collected cool overall. That placid personality trait about his delivery just so happens to transfer over into reggae music very well on his debut album under the Snoop Lion moniker, Reincarnated
. However, while qualities that the former rapper has always displayed do make him slide easily into this new Rastafarian skin, Reincarnated
doesn’t show that Snoop has anything new or interesting to bring into the reggae scene.
It’s surprising that he didn’t opt for a rootsy and organic form of throwback reggae; one that’s more natural and stripped down, as that kind of sound would sport some really raw and authentic ethnic values. Instead, Reincarnated
is an album of neo-reggae, with electronic-based production that’s comparable to that of Rihanna and Sean Kingston. While these electronic elements are nothing reminiscent of dub, a plentiful array of producers predominantly including Diplo/Major Lazer suit Snoop up with rippling and chilled out synths that thankfully sound more like undulating waves sonically than they do overly-polished. This allows for some new experiments for Snoop, such as a few dancehall cuts, and he even raises his volume in frequent attempts at melodious singing, which he isn’t half bad at.
Unfortunately though, that’s about the extent of the redeeming aspects to be found here, as the cons really do outweigh the pros all in all. As a reggae album, Reincarnated
means to be an unburdened and thoroughly relaxed album, but due to the very derivative and generic reggae music itself that supports it all the way through, the pace quickly begins to become more and more tiresome, and by the end, it collapses into a fatigued snooze-fest. The atmosphere is thin here, and interesting moments to indulge in are very scarce. With guest spots from Drake, Akon, Chris Brown, and even Miley Cyrus of all people, Reincarnated
just feels like bland reggae-pop without a face despite Snoop’s new name. There may be those dancehall cuts here and there, but the pulse is very subdued, and those songs are nothing that any other artist such as Sean Paul or Shaggy could have made in a doped out stupor.
Snoop Lion mainly demonstrates on Reincarnated
that he is better at adapting than he is at innovating. Even if the music itself isn’t anything close to remarkable, passable as a whole, and fails to make Snoop a force to be reckoned with in the reggae scene, it’s indifferent and harmless fun; mediocre chills for those not expecting thrills. On the plus side, while this album is nothing special, and even if he is still better as a rapper with his style of slick funk, Snoop did prove that this whole thing wouldn't end up being the complete joke it was made out to be once he underwent the stage name change. If anything, the best part about this transformation is that Snoop is more content with life, carefree, and at peace than he’s been on any other album before this. He’s consistently in high spirits, and displays a notably sunnier and more positive outlook on Reincarnated
, which may just be evidence that this change to more mellow music with positive messages is Snoop’s own way of gracefully accepting and settling into middle age.