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Sunday, September 09, 2012

Sean Kelly

TIFF12: My Thoughts on Reincarnated

I have never really been a big hip-hop fan, however I've always been intrigued by rapper Snoop Dogg as a personality.  The point of the documentary Reincarnated is that Snoop has essentially grown a bit tired of the rap world and he wants to reinvent himself.

As such, he takes a trip to Jamaica and sets out to record a reggae album at the Tuff Gong studios.  During the trip, he meets up with Bunny Wailer (who gives him the new name Snoop Lion), visits Bob Marley's old home of Trench Town, and, of course, smokes A LOT of marijuana.

Let me comment a bit on the pot smoking in this film.  While, smoking marijuana is major part of the Rastafarian religion, Snoop really takes this fact lightly and is often seen offering his "California Green" to the Jamaicans.  While it does make for some humourous moments in the film, it can be interpreted as somewhat disrespectful.

Anyways, the documentary showcases many of the songs Snoop records for his album (also called "Reincarnated") and he comments that he is trying to have a more positive message in his lyrics, as opposed to the violent and degrading lyrics found in hip-hop.  The film actually has a lengthy aside in the middle of the movie detailing Snoop's hip-hop career and it eventually lead him to his current point in life.  Since it came at an odd moment of the film, I viewed it somewhat as filler.  The film also shows Snoop attending the funeral for his friend Nate Dogg, who died in 2011.

By the end of his journey into Jamaica, Snoop is accepted into the Rastafarian community and fully becomes Snoop Lion.  Some would argue that Snoop's conversion into reggae is for merely commercial reasons, which is actually brought up in the film my representatives of Bunny Wailer, who performed guest vocals on the album.  However, I would say that Snoop's desire for change after a 20+ year rap career was pretty genuine.  It remains to be seen whether he will permanently be a reggae artist or if it's just for this one album.

Overall, I would have to say that Reincarnated was at, the very least, an interesting look into Snoop's Jamaican adventure and conversion into reggae.  As I said, I have a few issues with the very lighthearted pot smoking and the filler in the middle, but overall the film was pretty decent.

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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).