Critical Voices: Snoop Lion, Reincarnated

April 25, 2013

Artists at times choose to reinvent themselves—a procedure that pleases some fans and alienates others. Occasionally, however, the journey off the beaten path leads straight into a brick wall. Reincarnated after a cross-species evolution from Snoop Dogg, Snoop Lion makes a clearly marked wrong turn into reggae. “Love is the cure and courage is the weapon / You can use to overcome,” Snoop Lion moans on “Rebel Way,” the opening track. The same advice can be applied to attempting to successfully listen to the entire album in one sitting.

Saturated with references to the king of the jungle, Reincarnated may be perfect for an audience too stoned out of its mind to remember that Snoop changed his name, but the casual listener will find the album rather tedious.

Even tracks like “Here Comes the King,” which allow Snoop Lion to stay in his comfort zone of rapping, before reaching out for a reggae vibe only towards the end, fall flat on their abrasive and distracting drums.

Guest artists, too, do little to improve the LP’s quality. On “No Guns Allowed,” Snoop Lion’s daughter Cori B and Drake turn an attempt at a soaring chorus into an off-key wail. The track’s one positive feature is Drake’s veteran expertise on an almost emotional 30-second indictment of guns.

Though a limited array of featured artists may raise a song from the ashes, they eclipse Snoop Lion’s attempts at reggae in the process. The far more experienced Movado and Popcaan, for instance, are the clear winners on “Lighters Up,” in spite of sharing only brief verses.

Major Lazer’s production of the album is, in the end, the glue that holds Reincarnated together. “Get Away,” a particular gem on the album, explicitly features the producer’s name, synths, and a pulsing bass drum that shifts enough attention from Snoop Lion to create a solid track.

“Tired of Running,” too, features pleasantly powerful electronic elements, though Akon dominates the song.

Reincarnated—though rather unfortunate as a full album—contains a mixture of noteworthy artists and occasionally first-rate production, Snoop Lion’s poor showing notwithstanding. Still, traveling to Jamaica and converting to Rastafarianism, no matter how sincere the transformation may be, does not imbue a rapper with reggae prowess.

Voice’s Choices: “Get Away,” “The Good Good”

Kirill Makarenko
Former Assistant Leisure Editor

Read More

Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nico Dodd

Straight Kirillin’ em.