I got a whiff of the sweet smell of Master Kush firsthand when I went to interview Snoop Dogg at his stoner sanctuary for a Hollywood Reporter cover story. The two-story craftsman – a nice, but humble home compared to rows of ostentatious McMansions with zero cohesion of style (which is to say, typically Californian), is less than an hour from both Los Angeles and his home city of Long Beach, but at the same time, it’s a world away.
You could say the same of where Snoop’s head is at these days. Renamed Snoop Lion by Rastafari elders during a recent trip to Jamaica (the experience was documented for a movie and album called Reincarnated,both due out in early 2013), the rapper is taking stock of his place and purpose not just in pop culture, but on earth. Speaking his mind without filter, revealing his life stumbles without apology, 20 years as Snoop Dogg have brought perspective to the 40-year-old hip hop icon and he wants the world to know it.
Where his past was marred with violence, today’s Snoop is all about love. Where a hopelessness about government and society was once the status quo, thanks to President Obama (whom Snoop endorses enthusiastically) things are looking up. Even his passion for football has yielded astonishing results: De’Anthony Thomas, a graduate of Snoop’s own league, is on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week being hailed as Heisman’s future heir apparent.
Those closest to Snoop say he hasn’t changed, but thanks to the music of Bob Marley, the experience in Jamaica, and all this positivity – coupled with potent indicas rolled into blunts using his preferred skins (Swisher Sweets Cigarillos) – he seems to be smiling even more.
Shirley Halperin has co-written two books on marijuana, Pot Culture: The A-Z Guide to Stoner Language & Life, and Reefer Movie Madness: The Ultimate Stoner Film Guide. She is a former HIGH TIMES managing editor.