In 1993, the debut single “What’s My Name?” catapulted rapper Snoop Dogg to fame. But if you ask him that question now, he’ll have a different answer. Snoop Dogg changed his name to “Snoop Lion” after a spiritual awakening in Jamaica this February, which he described to reporters at a press conference on Monday.
So, no more D-O-double-G. No more Doggfather or Dogghouse or “Woof!” — which, presumably, will be replaced with a roar. Snoop Lion has been working on a reggae album, ”Reincarnated,” the recording of which is being chronicled in a documentary film that premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
Snoop told reporters that he was rechristened Snoop Lion by a Rastafarian priest.
“I want to bury Snoop Dogg, and become Snoop Lion,” he told reporters, according to news.com.au. “I didn't know that until I went to the temple, where the High Priest asked me what my name was, and I said, ‘Snoop Dogg.’ And he looked me in my eyes and said, ‘No more. You are the light; you are the lion.’ From that moment on, it's like I had started to understand why I was there.”
Snoop Lion’s legal name is Calvin Broadus Jr. He isn’t the only musician who has changed his stage name midcareer to accommodate a new sound. Remember these transformations?
• Garth Brooks to Chris Gaines: A much-maligned alter-ego, complete with bangs and a soul patch, for the country superstar to explore a harder rock sound. Brooks made the switch in 1999, and critics didn’t believe that he was exploring a new sound — they thought he’d gone crazy.
• Beyonce to Sasha Fierce: “I Am ... Sasha Fierce” was the album that revealed Bey’s alter ego, said to be a more sensual and assertive version of herself. But for an already assertive star, most of her fans couldn’t tell the difference.
• Puff Daddy to Puffy to P. Diddy to Diddy: Sean Combs has gone through several iterations of his stage name, starting out as Puff Daddy for his debut album in 1997. He also went by Puffy, but dropped the name for “P. Diddy” when he was working his way through some legal problems in 2001. He changed it once more in 2005, when he announced on the “Today” show that he would go by “Diddy” to avoid confusion.
• Christina Aguilera to Xtina: The name change coincided with a raunchy image change designed to propel Aguilera out of teen stardom and into adult sex kittendom. She wore chaps and released the single “Dirrty,” and her image suffered as a result of the abrupt change.
• Prince to The Artist Formerly Known As: The most notorious of all artist name changes. Prince — his legal name — changed his stage name to an unpronounceable symbol dubbed “The Love Symbol,” and was referred to as “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” He returned to using “Prince” again in 2000.
Is “Snoop Lion” a good fit for the artist formerly known as the Doggfather? Will the name stick?