In case you haven’t heard the news, iconic rapper Snoop Dogg was called to the herbed and lush jungles of Jamaica and has emerged reincarnated as Snoop Lion, a reggae artist. In a recent press conference he discusses “livity” and why he wants to focus on more family-friendly material these days.

Watch the full press conference here. Realer-than-real movie makers at the “all-swallowing whore of babylon” Vice Media are filming a documentary about his journey, including Snoop partaking in Rastafarian rituals in Jamaica. The doc is set to debut at this year’s TIFF in September. Cannot. Wait. To see it.

Vice crews were at The Hoxton nightclub in downtown Toronto last Friday to film Snoop Lion’s first EVER live show! It was fairly epic. Left me feeling like I had one of those “What-wha-what just happened?!” nights. Although he was off the following night to play Osheaga in Montreal, and back again for a surprise appearance at Drake’s OVO Fest on Sunday, Toronto will always be the place that first got a peek at this new sound and first got to experience Snoop Lion live with full backing band.

Excitement mounted as the crowd grew restless waiting for Snoop to take the stage. At times I couldn’t tell if people were yelling “Snoop! Snoop! Snoop!” out of anticipation for him to come out, or “Boo! Boo! Boo!” for how long it was taking. Before he did we were shown the  trailer to Vice’s doc Reincarnated, with Snoop triumphantly taking the stage when it finished. Dressed in white with microphone bling in his namesake, he put on a killer show in full entertainment mode like the legend that he is, shouting out Caribana, dancing to the reggae rhythms that encompass his new style and lighting up several large joints he passed into the crowd. I’m sure those who got to smoke a joint passed to them by Snoop Lion will never stop telling that story.

Snoop and his band, now known all together as Snoop Lion & The Jungle, performed their first single “La La La” produced by Diplo’s Major Lazer, among other new reggae songs and covers of Bob Marley’s “Iron, Lion, Zion” and Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It.” Sexy bejewelled ladies swayed and danced around chairs, with cardboard jungle animals put up on stage.

And then…slightly unexpectedly, he performed a bunch of his big hit rap songs from throughout his 20 year career, possibly making life complete for everyone in attendance. It’s like you were getting all the Snoops you know and love, all rolled into one larger-than-life stage show (and marijuana cigarette) in an intimate setting. I relived every song I ever smoked weed to in high school. Seeing an artist of his magnitude in a small concert venue was unforgettable – in the words of someone behind the scenes, it became a bit scary “fitting an elephant in a phonebooth.” Snoop Lion is the rasta he may be now, but Snoop Dogg will never die – watching him do Gin N’ Juice and The Next Episode like it’s 2001, although with an island vibe, proved that.

~ Becca Lemire

Photos by Becca Lemire (Click to Enlarge)