When a Dogg Becomes a Lion

Impossible! From canine to feline? Simply impossible! But what if you just called the dog a cat? Maybe that could work because it would just be a name. It brings to mind the famous line from Shakespeare‘s Romeo and Juliet, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.  True or false: it does not matter by which name you call a person, because that person remains the same. False, I think! Names seem to hold more importance than just a means of identification.  When a couple finds out they are expecting a child an important next step is the choice of names. Folks will possibly look to name the child after relatives, friends, famous actors or athletes. The reason for all the forethought is that the name is something a child will take with them into adulthood.  Perhaps!


There are many folks who gain nicknames sometimes in childhood, which follow them through adult life. Also, many people choose to legally change their names in order to give themselves what they feel is a better identity.  Entertainers, especially in the Hip Hop genre, always take great effort in the choice of a stage name. I actually witnessed the difficult and well-planned process of name choice for an artist in a promotion team meeting. Recently the entertainment world has been buzzing with the name change of rapper Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion.

If you think like me you probably are wondering is this really a news story? We have definitely heard of rappers changing their names before. Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs asked to be called “P Diddy” and also answers to “Puffy” without anyone flinching. Biggie Smalls had to make a change to Notorious B.I.G. in order to avoid lawsuit. Changing names is not the largest event in the life of a rap artist. In fact, rappers accept new monikers quite a bit without adverse effects upon their careers. However, Snoop Lion’s name change is somewhat different than many of the others. Why? He has made a change to his overall way of life which has had a major effect upon his music.

Snoop Lion’s subsequent change reminds me of the name changes made by Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. They made their name changes for philosophical reasons; lifelong changes in religious beliefs accompanied their changes. Muhammad Ali was a well-known heavyweight boxer when he became a member of the Nation of Islam. For him his name change did not bring about a career change, but it did change his fundamental way of life. The difference for Snoop Lion is more apparent because he is an artist. Therefore any life changes he makes will definitely play out in all his creative efforts.

For Snoop Lion it all revolved around a 2012 visit to Jamaica and an introduction to the Rastafarian movement. Of course we are now hearing the influence of Jamaican music upon Snoop Lion’s new songs and album, but the influence goes much deeper than music. Snoop Lion’s new choice of religion has brought about changes to the message conveyed by his music. He has developed a more peaceful musical ideology and now looks to his old fans to buy in, and hopes new fans also enjoy his efforts.  True to his changes his new album is entitled Reincarnated, as Calvin Broadus (Snoop Lion) has claimed to be born again.  I think Snoop Lion will continue to enjoy success the same as other artists after name changes.  More than just a change of his name, the Dogg has become a Lion.

10 thoughts on “When a Dogg Becomes a Lion

  1. Thought provoking post… Reminds me that often times change and reinvention is a good thing when it is thoughtful and planned out, such as Snoop Lion has done.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes Ashley it will make for interesting times! I think you may hear more about the Rastafarian movement. I have had very interesting conversations in the past with Rastafari. Perhaps Snoop Lion will explain his beliefs further and give us insight into the religion.

  3. Reminds me of the artist formally know as… Who knows why they really make these changes but it makes for interesting times right!! If he is also changing his music then it perhaps makes a lot of sense to somehow change the brand a bit. Will be interested to see how it all turns out. Thanks for highlighting this, as I don't follow this world. Ashley

  4. I find the desire to change names to fit a new direction an intriguing, although risky, proposition for an artist to make. I'm sure Snoop will fair well no matter what. Names signify so much, so it only seem fitting to choose a new one for what can be considered a re-birth.

  5. I heard about the name change last week and, I'll admit, it seemed ridiculous without the context. Now that I know he had a real reason for doing it, though, it makes more sense. Plus, it's just his stage name, it's not like he changed his legal name to Snoop Lion!

  6. I was a little confused with this name change at first until I realized he was changing to a different category of music. Its almost like he wanted to be seen as a completely different artist, separate from what Snoop Dog ever did. I haven't heard any of his songs off of his most recent album but I've always thought he was a good artist.

  7. For some reason I was thinking about this subject the other day but I can't remember who I was wondering if they were going to change their name. I am perplexed. I had no idea. But I really appreciate this post as the voice is very strong in the piece and it is very informative.

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