Prominent members of Jamaica’s Rastafarian community have long been skeptical of Snoop Lion’s recent conversion from gangster rapper to a melodic Reggae musician. They now have made their reasoning clear as to why they believe his new ‘Lion’ moniker is nothing more than a cheap gimmick.
Iconic Reggae musician, Bunny Wailer has been very vocal regarding Snoop Dogg’s morphing into a ‘Lion’ in February of last year as he visited Jamaica to film a new documentary, Reincarnated. The film, which premiered across U.S. Theatres last Friday, shows footage of Snoop’s intimate conversation with Wailer while showing the former rapper’s interaction with several high priests at a Nyabinghi temple in Clarendon during his visit.
However, Wailer and members of the Ethio-Africa Diaspora Union Millennium Council claim footage of both encounters were used illegally in Reincarnated and have been reaching out to Snoop for what they claim are breaches of an agreement struck during the American entertainer’s visit.
Wailer told the Jamaica Observer that his encounter with Snoop Lion, “should not have been filmed’” as any footage shown would be their “private property.”
Robert ‘Prophet Greg’ Mogg, general secretary of the Ethio-Africa Diaspora Union Millennium Council went event further with his accusations.
“The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September last year. He has now gone into merchandising… another breach,” Mogg told the Observer. “This is a violation of our intellectual property and we have to safeguard our culture.”
Meanwhile, Wailer, who will released a 50-track commemorative album, Reincarnated Souls in April says Snoop has misused the ‘Lion’ moniker, claiming the entertainer took advice he gave to Snoop during their conversation and ran with it.
“We in Jamaica nuh glad fi call nobody dog. Although he had this name and was internationally known as a dog, I could not relate to him as dog. So I related to him as a lion. And, I’m still going to be relating to him as a lion,” Wailer told the Observer. “I didn’t know he was in motion of getting involved in reggae music and in the Rastafarian faith. So when I called him a lion, it added to his aim and objective of being a Rastafarian.”
He continued, “When I called Snoop a lion, I left it at that. I did not go to say to Snoop, ‘now you are called a lion I want some money.’ “If he’s involved in the Rastafarian faith, he must make contributions to the development of the faith.”
These accusations come days after Snoop Lion himself questioned if he would do another Reggae album, at least in Jamaica. He told NME Magazine, “I don’t know if I want to repeat the same process as far as going to Jamaica and making a reggae album, I may wanna go to another country and make a reggae album. I may wanna make a rap album. I don’t know.”
On Thursday, he also commented to the Associated Press about what the ‘Lion’ name means to him. “To me, the Lion is the growth of Snoop Dogg; me growing into the next phase of my musical career, the next phase of my life,” he said. “But at the same time, I can never get rid of who I am. I’m an East Side Long Beach Rollin 20s Crip, first and foremost…I’m Snoop Doggy Dogg, then I’m Snoop Dogg, then I’m Snoop Lion. But it’s all the same.”
As for his thoughts on Bunny Wailer’s recent criticisms, “If I was Snoop Dogg: `(Expletive) Bunny Wailer.’ But I’m Snoop Lion right now, so I’m chilling,” he said.
Wailer says Snoop should not use the Rastafarian faith for his own personal benefit.
“The Rastafarian doctrine is not something that someone can act, pretend or seem to be,” he said. “It is one that exists through His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I and who Rastas see as the substance of their existence… It’s not something you can play with.”