Michael N. Todaro/FilmMagic
Snoop Dogg has let the cat out of the bag.
The rapper (born Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr.) has announced he is changing his name to Snoop Lion. This is the third time he's changed his name (he was previously known as Snoop Doggy Dogg), but he seems serious about it -- he even updated his Twitter handle.
"I want to bury Snoop Dogg, and become Snoop Lion," he said at a news conference in New York, revealing that the new name was bestowed upon him by Rastafarian priests during a trip to Jamaica in February 2011.
The 40-year-old "Boom" hit-maker explained that he visited a temple while in Jamaica. "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.'"
Snoop's "rebirth" also includes his musical style. The man who believes he is "Bob Marley reincarnated" has traded in the gangsta rap genre that made him famous in order to focus on reggae music, which he called the "music of love."
"Rap is not a challenge to me. I had enough of that. It's not appealing to me no more. I don't have no challenges," he said, according to the New York Times. "I'm 'Uncle Snoop' in rap. When you get to be an uncle, you need to find a new profession so you can start over and be fresh again. I want to be a kid again."
He reportedly recorded his first reggae album, "Reincarnation," in Jamaica over three weeks in 2011. It was produced by Diplo and includes songs written by "Empire State of Mind" scribe Angela Hunte.
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"We wanted it to feel like a record out of a 1970s collection," Snoop Lion said. "When you look back you give respect and love and that is what this record is all about. It's about giving homage to those who created Reggae music."
Yesterday Snoop tweeted a link to a documentary about the making of his 12th album; the film has been chosen to screen at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. He also teased his appearance at Toronto's Caribana festival on Aug. 3 at the Hoxton.
Watch the trailer for "Reincarnation" below (warning: not-safe-for-work language).