“Gangsta” rapper Snoop Dogg said Friday that a transformational journey to Jamaica during which he embraced reggae music may have saved his marriage and given him a new, “family first” outlook.
The best part of the life-changing trip was “that my wife could come and see it happen,” the singer said.
“The change was most necessary for her, more than anything, because I’ve always been there for my kids, I’ve always been a good dad, but I ain’t been a good husband, so I wanted to reverse that,” he explained.
Speaking at a press conference in Toronto, where a documentary premiered about his spiritual reawakening and turn to reggae under the moniker Snoop Lion, the rapper said it was important for his wife to be along his side as he changed.
“Even it wasn’t going to happen, the point was that the effort was there, and that takes a relationship a long way when you see someone making an effort to wanna do the right thing to keep it together,” he said.
Vice magazine editor Andy Capper followed Snoop with a movie camera on his month-long pilgrimage to Jamaica as he embarked on a “journey of reincarnation of self.”
In “Reincarnated,” Snoop is seen partnering with producer Diplo to make a reggae album, bolstered by visits to Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae and onetime stomping ground of reggae luminaries Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, who dubbed the rapper Snoop Lion.
Snoop told reporters that for too long, he was “living the young, childish gangster life because that’s what I was brought up to love and to know, but once I sought out information on my own and found out what a true man was and what true love was all about, that’s when I became who I am today.”
He recalled growing up without a father, raised by his mother.
The Rastafari spiritual movement “is showing me the righteous way to be a family man,” Snoop said, adding that the new lifestyle was “definitely shaping and molding me into a better husband, a better father, a better person.”
To critics who dismiss his name change as a commercial gimmick, the rapper stressed that he had been given the name by a reggae star.
“When you’re given something you like to honor it and hold it up with pride,” he added.
Still, Snoop is unlikely to pass an opportunity to rap in concerts, or to cuss.
“As a performer, I understand the business. A lot of my fans going to want Snoop Dogg and I’m going to give it to them,” he said.
“I’m still Snoop Dogg… I’m Snoop mother fucking Dogg ’til I die.
“There’s a softer, gentler, peaceful side when I’m the Lion. But if you disrespect me or get out of pocket, you will (also) get the mother fucking Dogg,” the singer added.
Snoop noted he didn’t swear on his latest album, for the first time. His past works were littered with lyrical references to “bitches and blunts.”
But he vowed to continue swearing in his daily life.