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Snoop vs. Bunny: Did the rapper insult Rastafari culture?

VERBAL ATTACK: Snoop Lion

SNOOP LION’S much-hyped documentary Reincarnated charts his journey of self-discovery – specifically, his introduction to the Rastafari movement.

It sees the famed US rapper touch down in Jamaica, where he visits a Nyabinghi temple; speaks with various Rastas to be educated on the faith; and even takes part in a ceremony, where a Rasta elder renames him Berhane – an Ethiopian name, which means ‘light’– and encourages him to now go and shine his light to the world.

Asked how he felt after the ceremony, Snoop said he felt “love.” He seemed to be at peace within the Rastafari movement, which he famously embraced last year – even changing his name from Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion to mark his conversion.

And yet, the Drop It Like It’s Hot hitmaker sounded far from peaceful or loving when he recently launched a verbal tirade against Wailers legend and fellow Rasta, Bunny Wailer – insisting Bob Marley’s former bandmate “wasn’t the s*** in The Wailers.”

Snoop’s attack came following comments from Wailer, who reportedly slammed the rapper for his "outright fraudulent use of the Rastafari community's personalities and symbolism.”

Admittedly, Wailer’s remarks were surprising, as he met with Snoop in Jamaica to feature in the star’s documentary, and the pair seemed to get on well.

In the documentary, Snoop is every bit the respectful student. He listens intently as the 66-year-old, who found fame as part of reggae group The Wailers, alongside Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, tells him about the group’s humble beginnings in Trench Town, and seems genuinely appreciative to have been invited into Wailer’s home.

The pair spent time together, smoked weed together, made music together – for the rapper’s new album, also titled Reincarnated – and Snoop felt he had been embraced by Wailer, describing him as “my big brother.”

So it’s perhaps no wonder the California-born MC was shocked when Wailer later hit out, not only claiming that Snoop had exploited Rasta culture, but also alleging the rapper had failed to meet "contractual, moral and verbal commitments."

In an interview with US magazine Rolling Stone, when asked why Wailer may have made his remarks, Snoop said: “I couldn't tell you. To me, it's a miscommunication.”


REGGAE ROYALTY: Bunny Wailer

However, Snoop – who rose to prominence in the early ‘90s and went on to become one of hip-hop’s most notable ‘gangster rappers’ – went on to show his fury.

“In the ‘90s, he [Wailer] could have never tried that because I'd have slapped the dog s*** out of his old ass,” Snoop said. “How dare you? After all I've done for you?”

He added: “You wasn't the s*** in the Wailers. You was just one of them: Bob [Marley], Peter Tosh, then you. Them dead mean more than you do alive.”

The saga got me thinking. Should Snoop’s tirade be considered as him simply defending himself against what he felt to be an unfounded and unprovoked attack from Wailer?

Or, did his rant prove right the cynics who felt that his conversion to Rastafari was little more than a publicity stunt?

After all, this is a man who seemed intent on denouncing his bad boy reputation and embracing Rastafari to promote a new ethos of love and light.

And yet, he sounded every bit ‘gangster’ as he laid into Wailer, even suggesting that the Rasta elder – who Snoop subsequently dropped from his album – should have counted himself lucky to have had the chance to work with Snoop and be put “back in the light.”

The rapper felt that Wailer “…should have been [like], 'Hey, this brother is putting me back in the light; I could possibly get on the road with him, be on his album, eat again. Let me get in line. This is Snoop Dogg; he's already a star.' It should have been play along with me as opposed to stick me up.”

He added: “How did I exploit Bunny? I gave you a chance to be in my movie. My movie gonna be the s*** with or without you. I'm gonna be the s*** with or without you. I'm Snoop Dogg. Relevant right now.”

So what’s the verdict? Should Snoop’s rant be considered a forgivable mistake from a man who is still learning on his new spiritual journey? Was this simply a dispute between two grown men that has nothing to do with faith?

Or, was this attack a huge slip-up from Snoop, which revealed what many cynics suspected: that his ‘peace and love’ mantra was all a front and that the rapper is no real Rasta?

Tell us what you think. Email your thoughts to: davina.hamilton@gvmedia.co.uk

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