Nearly 20 years after releasing his debut single, "What's My Name?," Snoop Dogg -- born Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. -- shall now be referred to as Snoop Lion, the rapper announced during a press conference in NYC July 30.
The hip-hop heavyweight has taken on the new identity after undergoing a spiritual and artistic rebirth in Jamaica. "I didn't want to be Snoop Dogg on a reggae track. I wanted to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion, but I didn't know that until I went to the temple and received the name Snoop Lion from the Nyabinghi priest," he explained. "From that moment on, I started to understand why I was there and was able to create something magical in this [Reincarnated] project, something I haven't done before in my career."
Married to high school sweetheart Shante Taylor since 1997, Broadus has three children: Cori, Corde and Cordell. The rapper, famous for profane, over-the-top tracks about sex, drugs and partying, believes his new music will give him "a chance to perform for kids and grandkids."
According to Broadus, the image makeover was a necessary step in fulfilling his musical destiny. "I have always said I was Bob Marley reincarnated," the rapper said, according to The New York Times. "I feel I have always been a Rastafari. I just didn't have my third eye open, but it's wide open right now." (Marley's son, Rohan, 40, gave Broadus his blessing at the press conference, which was held at Caribbean restaurant Miss Lily's.)
"There comes a point where you say I done it all, or there isn't much more to do," Broadus said. "This was like a rebirth for me."
The 13-time Grammy Award nominee added that "rap is not a challenge" anymore. "I had enough of that. It's not appealing to me no more. I don't have no challenges. I'm 'Uncle Snoop' in rap. When you get to be an uncle, you need to find a new profession so you can start over and be fresh again. I want to be a kid again."
Broadus isn't the only celebrity to change his professional name: rapper Sean Combs has gone by Puff Daddy, Diddy and P. Diddy, Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace and "1 Thing" singer Ameriie added an extra "i" to her name.