Snoop Lion Talks ‘Reincarnated,’ No Guns Allowed Campaign and Sports Management Agency
We're capping off our Snoop Lion 'takeover' of our site with an exclusive interview with the Doggfather.
Read on to learn about what Snoop wants people to take from the album, what he thinks he needs to do to looked at as more than just a rapper, why he started the "No Guns Allowed" initiative, and how Jay-Z may find himself with some company in the sports management agency business soon.
Reincarnated is out today. What song are you most excited about on the record and why?
I don't think it's a particular song on the record that makes me excited as much as the whole record does, but I'm anxious to hear what people feel about a song called "Tired of Running." That's one of my favorite songs on the record because it's dealing with me being tired of running from the law and running from all the things that I come from and expressing it in this song.
"Murder Was The Case" dropped 20 years ago. Now you have this anti-gun initiative going on -- No Guns Allowed. What inspired this change and why put forth this message now?
Just tired of watching the news, disastrous situations with guns and people using guns for the wrong reasons and seeing innocent kids and people in general getting killed. And just getting tired of it and feeling like my voice is powerful. I have a lot of people who do what I say, who follow what I do, so why not put out some positive energy and try and reflect that negative before it happens?
On this album you're doing a bit of singing. You've always had a very harmonic quality to your voice. What was that experience like for you to go in there and work in that capacity?
It was always melodic and had a certain sing-a-long jingles to it so for me to drop the rap and go full speed into singing was something I've always wanted to do. But I had to do it where it wasn't too stressful on my voice or me. The reggae is just such a natural transformation from hip hop because it's so close to what the singing is [that] I'm doing. It's not so far-fetched from my vocal. It's actually in the same vein or same lane so it's good. I'm just anxious to see how people feel about it and how they're going to receive it.
It's said that life is like high school and rap reminds me of that sometimes -- everybody watching what everyone else is doing, who's sitting at the cool kid table -- what has the reaction in the community been to the name change and just the fact that you're doing this?
Well, a lot of people didn't understand the reason of the name change; they thought it was a gimmick. So when my movie came out people were able to see the whole journey documented, then it became a more understanding of why the name was changed. But I feel like my peers really receive it and appreciate it because they've seen my musical journey, they've seen me dominate hip hop for 20 plus years. So they're happy to see me gradually move on to something else and then be able to venture back into hip hop, not leave it entirely but to just leave it for the moment. Because the moment calls on me to speak to positivity, peace and what the world is dealing with right now.
Maybe the sports marketing agency as far as getting players to sign with me as a sports agent -- and there's a lot of kids that come out of my football league that are venturing off into the NFL and different sports and they're going to need direction and management so that may be a field that I want to venture in.
Jay-Z just launched Roc Nation Sports.
I commend him for that, that's what we should do when we get to the certain point that we're at. We're influential to athletes and we're very business minded and savvy so what better way to do than our way?
I do. I actually did a whole project with a girl I met on the internet. Her name is IZA, she's from Poland. I put her on my label and we did over 150 songs, producing together. She has the theme song for One Life To Live. She also has a commercial for Belvedere and a movie coming out later this year. I produced [her] whole record.
You met her on the internet meaning what? She hit you on Twitter...
No, we had a contest on Soundcloud and I was putting up tracks and people were sending back vocals to the tracks and she was sending her tracks back and it sounded a little bit different than everybody else's. So I decided to just cut everybody off and deal with her one on one.
So I just started sending her tracks and every time I'd send her a track it would come back the next day with a whole song on it and we got to the point where it was about 80 songs and I hadn't even seen her. So I went on Skype and saw her and she seen me, had my business people connect the dots, flew out to Poland, shot a movie with her, got her signed on my label, got her the theme song for One Life To Live, Belvedere commercial, and the movie and record is coming out in a couple of months.
You mentioned getting back to hip hop, is that something that you're anticipating happening soon? At what point does that aspect of your career step back into the front?
I always have different transformations and changes but I don't think I'll ever be able to just leave hip hop entirely. It's good to leave it alone for a minute to breathe and do other things but that's my heart and soul, that's my baby, that's what I do so I've got to go back to that.
But it's just right now I wanted to stop the party and speak to the issues that we're dealing with right now. Every day I look up some more violent shit is happening. It never fails, every other day it just keeps happening and happening and happening so I got tired of it and went to speak on it with a perspective of my music because I feel like my persona always represented peace and love but my music never did. So I wanted to put my music in the forefront and be able to have music out to speak to these issues so that the people who are dealing with these issues know that I care as well instead of just party songs and just partying my problems away. Nah, let's deal with the problem.
What do you think it will take for you to be respected as more than just a hip-hop artist?
As long as the music is good you can say what you want to say. But if that music is good, if it sounds good and it feels good it trumps everything, nothing else even matters. I learned that in my career early. You're going to have skepticism and you're going to have negativity but if you put out great music, it tends to overwhelm everything. The last stain on the brand is the music. I know we went in and made a great project and that at the end of the day I'm happy with it, I love it. I love listening to it and I'm pretty sure the whole world will as well.