Why Did Snoop Dogg Stop Calling Himself Snoop Lion?

Credit: Alamy

Snoop Dogg fans are only just realising why he stopped calling himself Snoop Lion.

The ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ rapper, 51, decided to take a spiritual journey and embrace Rastafari back in 2012.

This is when he decided to change his name from Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion.

As Snoop Lion, he dropped a reggae album called ‘Reincarnated’, and even made a documentary with the same name, giving fans a glimpse into his Jamaican adventure.

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The ‘Young, Wild & Free’ artist told reporters (via “I want to bury Snoop Dogg, and become Snoop Lion

“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.”

The ‘Beautiful’ rapper switched gears again when releasing his next album in 2015, ‘Bush’, using his more common name, Snoop Dogg.

And many people are surprised by the real reason behind the U-turn.

Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg was briefly known as Snoop Lion. Credit: Alamy

Bunny Wailer – the only surviving member of the original Wailers – had some serious doubts about Snoop’s intentions.

He even went as far as excommunicating Snoop from the Rastafari community.

In Rastafarianism, the lion represents the ‘King of Kings’ and the dominant maleness of the movement.

It is also a symbol of strength and vigour.

Rastafaris try to embody the spirit of the lion: proud, independent, and strong.

Apparently, Wailer and the Ethio-Africa Diaspora Union Millennium Council weren’t happy with Snoop’s use of Rastafari symbols and personalities in his Reincarnated docu-film.

Wailer, speaking to TMZ, accused Snoop of using Rastafari personalities and symbolism in a fraudulent way and not living up to his commitments, both moral and contractual.

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The Rastafari Millennium Council also sent a 7-page demand letter to Snoop, expressing their disapproval of his Rastafarian transformation.

Together, they demanded that he drop the ‘Lion’ from his name and apologise.

If Snoop didn’t comply, he was looking at a potential lawsuit, but instead, it simply ended up with him being excommunicated.

Wailer’s Facebook page explained what that would mean in more detail.

It read: “The word excommunication means putting [someone] out of communion.

“In some religions, excommunication includes spiritual condemnation of the member or group.

“Excommunication may involve banishment, shunning, and shaming, depending on the religion, the offence that caused excommunication, or the rules or norms of the religious community.”

At the time, many people were taken aback by the reaction to Snoop’s name change and backed him in the comments.

Snoop Dogg
Many of Snoop Dogg’s fans defended him amid the criticism. Credit: Alamy

One person wrote: “Rasta is the way of life for all black people, not a religion.

“No one should tell anyone [what] you can’t and can do.

“I don’t agree with my elder Bunny. Mind control needs to be stopped. Let Snoop choose his ancestor’s path without stopping him.

“If you need to make headlines, write songs. Not making headlines like you are the one who will decide who will be Rasta or not.”

A second shared: “I love my Reggae music and as far as I am concerned, Snoop produces beautiful reggae style and lyrics.

“But as far as Rastafarian belief goes, all I can say is that surely there must be other Rastafarians, not only in Jamaica but in the world who have done worse.

“I know some people who have grown their crown, wear rasta clothes, and are huge fans of Bob Marley but they do not praise or give thanks to H.I.M.

“They [also] know nothing about his majesty emperor Haile Selassie I.”

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Written by Cal Gaunt

Cal is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in writing trending and entertainment news. He previously worked as a news reporter at the Lancashire Telegraph and earned an NCTJ in Sports Journalism.