Burnt out on the rap scene that made him rich and famous, Snoop Dogg—as you might recall—recently made a pilgrimage to Jamaica. His intention was to submit himself to a professional and spiritual overhaul, as well as record a Diplo-produced reggae record. You might think of a spiritual journey as a somewhat private affair, but Snoop also used his time there to team up with Vice and co-produce a feature-length documentary of the whole adventure. The result is Reincarnated, screening this Wednesday at 7 pm at the Clinton Street Theater:
You have to appreciate the humor in the fact that Snoop's big plan to completely reinvent himself revolved around smoking even more weed. And while not a perfect institution, Vice has made some very compelling international documentaries, shining a light on the dark corners of places most of us will never see. Snoop takes us through communities troubled by poverty and police violence, learning the lifestyle and philosophies of the Rastafari—but make no mistake that this is a movie by, for, and about Snoop, and that's Snoop Lion to you now, thanks.
It goes without saying that everyone involved here is deeply and continuously stoned, which doesn't lend itself to a particularly compelling narrative, and much of the film is just as boring as being the sober one in a room full of 100 percent baked individuals is in real life. The most interesting scenes feature Snoop reflecting on his past and career, the devastating death of Nate Dogg, and his newfound interest in rejecting violence and party rap, but it's little in the way of untrod territory.
Disturbingly, it also quickly becomes apparent that Snoop is... not the sharpest tool in the shed. More than anything, it's just depressing that someone who's experienced so much success, wealth, and travel appears to have completely missed the opportunity to educate himself on basic information about how the world works, even within his own wheelhouse. I rewound three times to make sure I was hearing him right when he bragged that the weed he was smoking had "no THC."
Furthermore, the music he makes with an increasingly beat down-looking Diplo is pretty terrible, with Snoop intoning repetitive and simplistic lyrics over a wheezing reggae beat. Being that the film functions almost exclusively as a promotional piece for said record, it just brings on another wave of the sads. I realize that for some fans, it will be necessary to experience the disappointment firsthand, and they should knock themselves out. Literally, with at least 40 bong rips and maybe a couple of light taps with a hammer.