Snoop Dogg began his journey to fame in fortune in 1992, when he partnered up with Dr. Dre on his 1992 album, “The Chronic.” This collaboration introduced Snoop to the world, and cemented his status as a high caliber hip hop artist. It also cemented his status as a pop culture icon, particularly for the marijuana sub-culture. References to smoking abound in Snoop’s music, and even “The Chronic” is of course a reference to the drug.
Snoop attributes his musical creativity, in part, to his affinity for smoking weed. In the “Ask Me Anything” session he did on the popular internet forum Reddit, Snoop’s question and answers almost always deal with the topic of getting high. Because of both his commercial success and his openness about using marijuana, Snoop Dogg and smoking are inexorably linked in the minds of his fans.
This was never more apparent than in 2009, at Lowlands music festival. During Snoop’s performance, a fan presented him with the thoughtful gift of a cannabis tree. Snoop gladly accepted the gift, and treated the crowd to a freestyle rap as a gesture of thanks. The association with marijuana is not something that Snoop feels insecure about and has been widely accepted by the public.
After a successful collaboration with Major Lazer, Snoop Doog made the musical transition to Snoop Lion. The reggae influence of Major Lazer, combined with the association of marijuana use in this genre of music, sparked the change for Snoop. Form both a music and a lifestyle standpoint, this makes perfect sense. Snoop has become more than just a musician who smokes; rather, his open discussion of his use and desire for the legalization marijuana have positioned him as a bit of a social revolutionary. In that way, becoming Snoop Lion and exploring the revolutionary themes of Reggae seems natural.
With his reputation Snoop is an important public figure in the battle to legalize marijuana. Snoop has expressed himself as a supporter of the Dutch alcohol and drugs policies. At his own homefront things have not been going as easy. The Obama office does not believe that legalization will solve the nation’s problems, even though since Obama’s reign as president more states have decriminalized or partially legalized drugs than ever before. The United Kingdom has been going through a similar process and while the possession and usage of marijuana is still prohibited, Brittish law does allow cannabis seeds to be sold legally.
“Go to Amsterdam or the Netherlands where it is legal and you see that the crime rate is nonexistent, the murder rate is probably under 10 percent, people learn to get along! There are people riding on bicycles being happy.” — Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion (hollywoodreporter.com)
The progression from Dogg to Lion has been a logical one for Snoop, who had been looking to give his career and lifestyle a more positive vibe which he found in Reggae. Not anbandoning his roots and still remaining his title as Dogg, his side-persona as Snoop Lion gives him an opportunity to step away from his violent roots and send out a lighter and more positive message to his fans. His first album as Lion, “Reincarnated”, has so far received mixed reviews.