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Snoop Dogg – recently re-named Snoop Lion, the reggae artist – has announced that he “will do American Idol.” So far there has been no word from the American Idol officials as to whether or not Snoop Lion will actually be filling the seat of former judge, Steven Tyler, or if he is even being considered for the position.
Part of the problem with having Snoop Lion on as a judge is that the family-friendly show may not mesh well with the former rapper’s personality. Although Snoop promises to clean up his language, his love affair with marijuana may not be toned down enough for the American Idol viewers.
American Idol will start up again in January and they are currently beginning some of the auditions, although not the portions in which they need the judges. The parts in which they record the judges with contestants will begin in fall of this year. So far the show has managed to replace Jennifer Lopez with Mariah Carey who has a one year contract in which she will make $18 million.
Snoop Dogg announced Monday, July 30 that he was converting to Rastafarianism. “I feel like I’ve always been a Rastafari,” he stated. “I just didn’t have my third eye open.” Monday is also when Snoop announced his name change from Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion. “I want to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion”
Prior to the recording of his latest album, “Reincarnation,” Snoop received a blessing from Bob Marley’s son, Rohan, to travel to Jamaica and explore the Rasta culture as well as the life of Bob Marley, immersing himself in the Niyabinghi branch of Rastafarianism. Snoop is also releasing a documentary about his rebirth called ‘Reincarnation’ as well.
So far the reception of the new album has been fairly positive. “If you haven’t seen Snoop recently, he’s gone totally Rasta. He has Bob Marley and Haile Selassie pins – he’s mad Rasta,” Diplo reported to MTV. He also added, “It’s gonna surprise people, but it’s an amazing record. We have some almost rap stuff on the record, but there’s also a lot of singing, because he sings really well and there’s a lot of backing vocals. He was really studying Bob Marley.”
During the press conference in which he discussed his transformation Snoop talked about people who inspired him, “We was looking for the creators, some of the forefathers. Most definitely Bob Marley, off the top, and the Wailers, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Gregory Isaacs, Jimmy Cliff, Barres, most definitely.”
The new Snoop Lion changed his name during a visit to Jamaica, where the Rasta movement began. Ennis Edmonds, scholar and expert on Rastafarianism at Kenyon College, explained Snoop’s sudden name change by claiming, “Rastas would probably see calling yourself a dog as an indication of lack of self-knowledge.”
In Rastafarianism the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie is considered the messiah and the descendant of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. The lion is symbolic of Solomon’s Tribe of Judah and is thus held in high regard with the Rastafari. Bob Marley often sang of the “lion of Zion” and was usually referring to Selassie.
According to Snoop a Rasta priest gave him his new name. Snoop Lion also came back from Jamaica claiming that he is the reincarnation of Bob Marley.
One part of the Rasta religion that Snoop has been heavily involved with over the past few years is the smoking of ganja (marijuana). According to Edmonds, “Marijuana helps them break through the mental boundaries that Babylon has placed upon them and return to their sense of self.” Marijuana is also supposed to make the user feel more peaceful, introspective, and open to communal harmony, according to the religion. Ultimately, this aspect of the religion may in fact be too controversial for the ‘American Idol’ family-friendly atmosphere, which could prevent Snoop being chosen as a judge.