Below, a list of surprising and unsurprising developments in Snoop Dogg’s personal and musical life:
UNSURPRISING: Snoop Dogg was speaking at the press conference The New York Times attended, where he wore a Rasta knit cap, sunglasses and a Kobe Bryant jersey.
UNSURPRISING: Snoop Dogg is into Rastafarianism and, while exploring the religion and its trappings, decided he was the reincarnation of Bob Marley.
UNSURPRISING: As part of the above, Snoop Dogg was documented smoking marijuana with Rastafarian priests.
SURPRISING: He is now named Snoop Lion. It’s just a name the priests gave him, mind you–not a statement like Prince doffing the alphabet or Mos Def’s becoming Yasiin Bey, not a career move like Lizzy Grant becoming look-we-can’t, and probably not a baffling stunt like Diddy renaming himself anything including “Swag.” But he’s serious enough to say this:
It’s not that I want to become Snoop Dogg in a reggae track… I want to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion.
SURPRISING: That’s not a reggae track, but an entire reggae album. One track addresses gun control. Most of it involves Snoop singing, not rapping. (Which isn’t terribly surprising–rapping to singing is a known trajectory–but still.)
UNSURPRISING: Snoop’s doing it because he’s a grown man with children, which is unsurprising because he’s said the same thing for years.
UNSURPRISING: “Empire State of Mind” songwriters are involved. Diplo produced it. Comebacks never change.