Snoop went to Jamaica a Dogg but returned a Lion after a religious and artistic awakening.
Rastafarian priests bestowed the new moniker Snoop Lion upon the music icon when he visited Jamaica in search of "a new path."
"I didn't know that until I went to the temple, where the High Priest asked me what my name was, and I said, 'Snoop Dogg.' And he looked me in my eyes and said, 'No more. You are the light; you are the lion.' From that moment on, it's like I had started to understand why I was there," he explained at a press conference.
Born Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., Lion has always felt a special connection with Jamaica's most celebrated music legend, according to news.com.au. "I have always said I was Bob Marley reincarnated," Lion said. "I feel I have always been a Rastafari. I just didn't have my third eye open,
but it's wide open right now."
This spiritual development has revived Lion's artistic energy. After years in the music industry, rap started to stale for the 40-year-old music icon. Ever since he appeared on the scene with "Doggystyle" in the early 1990s, Snoop has been a prominent player in west coast hip-hop. But Lion welcomes musical change and growth.
"I've been on the top ever since I've been in it," he explained. "I got rap songs that will never die. And that ain't with no disrespect but I'm tired of rap."
While in the studio, he distanced himself from his musical past by referring to Snoop Dogg in the third person. "F*** Snoop Dogg. Don't think about none of the s*** he rapped about: hustling and making money and drug-dealing and shooting. All that s***'ll be out of here," he said to his collaborators in the studio.
With reggae, Lion has the chance create music that all ages can enjoy - from children to his grandparents, who might not have been able to enjoy his harder-edged rap catalogue.
"I'm a wise man in the music industry," he said. "Not that I'll never do rap again because I'm always gonna do what I love, but right now I'm Snoop Lion and I'm having fun with this reggae movement so hopefully you guys will enjoy it as well."
Vice Films - in association with Snoopadelic Films - will release a documentary about the artist's transformation from Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7.
Snoop Lion's first single is "La La La."