"We're living in a jungle, right?" That's how Snoop Lion sees it, at least. And he's at the top of the food chain.
The iconic rapper has come back to the game - but this time he's putting out reggae music and his vibe is (even more) chill and his message is one of positivity. Snoop Dogg has been Reincarnated - which is also the title of his new album as the artist Snoop Lion.
"The king of the jungle is the lion, he's the one who best knows how to deal with it," Snoop Lion tells iHeartRadio. "I've progressed from the dog into the lion because I've been doggin' em out for the past twenty-three years in a dog-eat-dog world... now I have to step into the next phase, which is me being a lion and addressing a lot of these situations and being a real leader and standing for something and not falling for anything."
Why leave the Dogg behind?
"I got to this point in my career and felt like I needed to say something, and the reggae world would enable me to say something and be strong and be positive and peaceful and to get a message out. There was so much going on in the world, that I felt like we needed to stop the party and address some of these issues. So me being a stand up guy that I am, the transformation was necessary because I am one who loves to lead and I'm leading through example."
You've worked with Diplo and Major Lazer and some incredible artists: Miley Cyrus, Drake, Chris Brown, T.I., Busta Rhymes just to name a few... how did you chose the artists that you wanted to include on this project?
"Once we got the songs done and completed, we could hear who needs to be on this song and who needs to be on that song. There's just something about an artist or a musician that we tend to know what sounds best with our friends in the music world; we know which one of our friends would sound awesome on this song. I get tons of calls from artists that say 'Hey Snoop, I got this track, it'd sound good if you was on it.' And it's just the same feeling, it’s like when I got a track, I'll call T.I., Busta Rhymes, Miley Cyrus, whoever it is and say you know what, you would sound awesome on this track, check this record out and if they like it and love it, they go in and they do what they do."
There's another new artist on this album, Cori B, your daughter, talk about getting to work with her in this way.
"Well it's crazy cuz you know about five years ago when she started singing, you know I told her the truth, I told her that she didn't have what it takes and she needed to quit. She didn't take my constructive criticism the wrong way, she went and got vocal coaching and taught herself how to sing and got very well taught in the game.
"Now she's real seasoned so it makes it fun for me to do a record with her now especially a song that means so much as 'No Guns Allowed.' This song affects kids and the violence that's been happening, and to have my daughter stand by my side and to sing with me on this record for a positive message, I mean this a beautiful, beautiful record right here so I'm just happy and honored that we could pull this off and that people are lovin' this record right now."
How do you educate your children on the gun violence in this country, especially when you have her working on this record with you?
"I just tell 'em the truth and be up close and personal with 'em, because I used to be one who used to have guns and use guns and thought guns were cool, until I figured out that the less gun in my life the less trouble in my life. That don't mean that all people with guns are bad, it's just those who use them in the wrong way, gun violence. That's what we speaking out against, gun violence, so my kids know and understand what I'm speakin' on and what I'm trying to keep them abreast to, so that way when they walk out into the real world, they know how to deal with it."
And it goes beyond the music on this, you've got the 'No Guns Allowed' initiative that you've started...
"We trying to get guns off the streets and get 'em out of the wrong hands... just make sure that the world is protected and these kids are protected, these innocent victims, that these public venues are protected because the world that we live in is a peaceful place if we make it that way. We just trying to add some peace through our influence, through our music and through our know-how. We want people to know that we care and if we care, hopefully others will too."
But it's not all serious in Snoop's world. The musician/entrepreneur just released a new free app that allows users to "Snoopify" their own photos into masterpieces the Lion would be proud of. Check out his Snoopify creation featuring a picture of Rihanna:
The other single that's out there that people are loving is 'Ashtrays and Heartbreaks' with Miley Cyrus. What was it like getting to work with her?
That record right there is a record that speaks to change, love, loss, reality. It just speaks to everything in life and you know, Miley is going through a lot like I'm going through a lot, and it's the perfect record for her to be on and me to be on as well because it compliments the way we feel, the way we have to re-up on reality. We can't let 'em see us weak, you know what I'm saying, we got our paws on it, we gotta get back into the mode of doin' what we doin' despite having ashtrays and heartbreaks and thinking about all the loved ones that we lost and the different relationships that we lost. We just have to push forward and continue to be positive and to do what we do."
Snoop Lion's new album, Reincarnated, is available now. Get it at the Amazon MP3 store HERE. The Snoopify app is free and available for iPhone and Android devices. Get the details HERE.