Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg unveiled the meaning behind his newest moniker, Snoop Lion, in New York City on Monday evening (July 3), which he says comes from a recent trip to Jamaica.

According to a press release, the moniker coincides with his latest project, Reincarnated, which consists of a reggae album produced by Diplo and the Major Lazer production team, a documentary, a photo book and a non-profit initiative called Mind Garden … all created in conjunction with VICE.

Initially set as a trip to focus on his music in an isolated environment, the journey quickly morphed into both a musical and a spiritual awakening.

“For this project, I had no intention of making a reggae album, but the spirit called me. Anytime the spirit calls, you gotta know that it’s serious and real,” recalled Snoop on both the Rastafarian culture and the Jamaican people who embraced him along the journey of being reincarnated into Snoop Lion.

Apparently, Snoop received the “Snoop Lion” title from the revered Nyabinghi upon his arrival to the island. The name is derived from the Lion that appears on the Imperial Ethiopian flag and remains an honored symbol of former Ethiopian Emperor Halie Selassie I and the Rastafarians themselves.

“I didn’t want to be Snoop Dogg on a reggae track… I wanted to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion, but I didn’t know that until I went to the temple and received the name Snoop Lion from the Nyabingi priest,” said Snoop. “From that moment on, I started to understand why I was there and was able to create something magical in this [Reincarnated] project… something I haven’t done before in my career.”

So far, fans have heard the first single, “La La La.” To celebrate the song and to commemorate 50 years of Jamaican independence on August 6th, Snoop has made 1962 copies of limited edition 7″ vinyls to distribute.

Additionally, VICE documented Snoop’s personal journey throughout Jamaica and his time spent with Rastafarian elders. The documentary, also entitled Reincarnated, features never-before-seen images of Jamaica, as Snoop was granted unprecedented access to Rastafarian culture, temples and Jamaican culture. It will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7th and 8th.

Photos of the trip were captured by Los Angeles photographer, Willie Toldeo, and will be released as a coffee table book through VICE as well.

For more info, visit SnoopLion.com, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram at: @Snoop_Lion.