Snoop Lion still roars

He has made his name as one of the most distinctive personalities in the American hip-hop scene. In the process, he has been through several monikers, from Snoop Doggy Dogg to Snoop Dogg.

Last year, the 41-year-old who is born Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. did what some zoos in China might do - pass off a Dogg as a Lion. He announced to the world that he has undergone a transformation and would now be known as Snoop Lion.

The name change, prompted by a trip to Jamaica and his conversion to the Rastafari movement, reflected a change in his musical direction as well, from hip-hop to reggae. Rastafari is a spiritual ideology started in Jamaica in the 1930s and is closely associated with reggae music, thanks to its most famous proponent, the late reggae icon Bob Marley.

He released Reincarnated, his first reggae album and his 12th overall, in April this year.

Whatever his inner animal, he will be here as one of the headliners of the two-day music festival Singha Presents 1 World Music Festival at Marina Barrage on Sept 20 and 21. It has been two years since he last performed here at the Mnet Asian Music Awards.

He is set to perform on the second night, with acts such as electronic music veteran Moby, Malaysian singer-songwriter Yuna and home-grown percussion band Wicked Aura.

The rapper, notorious for his brushes with the law and his early association with the 1990s gangster rap movement, has since become a pop culture mainstay. He has had roles in more than 30 movies, including 2001 crime drama Training Day, and many appearances on TV shows, from animated series South Park to HBO comedy-drama Entourage.

His gangly appearance is as distinctive as his speech patterns. In an e-mail interview with Life!, Snoop, who has three teenaged children, even has an idiosyncratic way of writing.

The quirky spellings and expressions, albeit reproduced here with minor changes for clarity, are proof he did not get one of his minions to reply on his behalf. After all, it is how he tweets too.

What do you remember from your last visit here for the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards?

I had a blast two years ago. Lookin' forward to getting bacc there and doin' tha' same thang again.

What can fans expect from your upcoming show at the 1 World Music Festival?

Classic timeless music mixed in with that new Snoop Lion reincarnated.

You cite Bob Marley as a huge influence. In what way do you identify with him?

We are both positive spirits that people love to see and remember. Those type of people don't come around often and when they do, u have to honour and respect that, ya dig?!?

What inspires you to make music these days?

Good smoke n good vibes.

When you changed your name to Snoop Lion and turned to reggae music, were you concerned about losing some fans? And do you have plans to make hip-hop music again?

If they ain't wid it they can kicc roccs. I know my fans have my bacc cuz they tha realest of tha real. Not sure if Imma return as tha lion or tha dogg but Imma be bacc better than ever regardless. Be on da lookout fo that new snoop commn 2 a hood near u.

You support the anti-gun violence movement and released a single titled No Guns Allowed. Do you regret singing about guns in the past?

I don't regret my past. I look to better my future.

Is it true that you don't drink alcohol anymore? What do you drink when you go to clubs?

No alcohol. Only cranberry juice. Maybe sum red wine if I'm in tha mood.

Do you party as much as you used to?

I haven't slowed down for nuthin. I stay ready so I ain't gotta get ready.

What do you like to do on your own down time?

Coach youth football in my league, the snoop youth football league.

How do you feel about your eldest son Corde quitting his football career for music?

I think he is dope but he has a long way to go as well if he wants to fill tha shoes of his old man.

Your daughter Cori appears on No Guns Allowed. What do you think of her singing?

I think she is dope and she has come a long way since when she started. I'm proud of my baby girl.

Do you think your younger son Cordell will one day make music too?

He deep into football right now and he's havin a blast doin so.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years' time?

Time will tell. I take it day by day.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Classic timeless music that people respect n honor. I wanna be remembered while I am here, not when I'm gone.

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