In hip-hop terms, using three names in four decades qualifies as a sign of remarkable consistency.
So expectations were high when Snoop Lion, the rapper born Calvin Broadus who rose to fame in the gangsta rap 1990s as Snoop Doggy Dogg, emerged Thursday for the premiere of his new movie, album and identity.
For “Reincarnated,” the documentary that made its domestic debut at the South by Southwest Film Festival, filmmakers followed Snoop to Jamaica, where he marinated in Rastafari culture. He emerged with the new name, plus a reggae album and a political agenda.
Some of his views marked more of a departure than others. In the song “No Guns Allowed,” for example, he renounces gunplay.
“Anti-bad things,” said the film’s director, Andy Capper, “whereas before he celebrated the bad things.”
Dressed in gold-rimmed shades and a red track suit with orange stripes, Snoop did not strut the red carpet so much as hang out on it.
He offered a loose handshake and spoke in barely audible tones. He was smiling, kind of.
Asked about his enduring touchstone issue, the legalization of marijuana, Snoop turned relatively animated.
“Wake up,” he said. “It’s the 21st century. Some of these laws and rules we have are 18th century and 19th century and 20th century. People need to understand that some of these laws and rules need to be tweaked to the people of today.”
Capper suggested any tweaking should be kept on the mild side.
“I don’t know if you’d want to legalize the kind of marijuana he smokes,” he said. “Because if you did, people would be walking around going crazy.”
Before strolling off to watch the film, Snoop distanced himself from all the political talk.
“I’m not a politician,” he said. “I just like dealing with the reality of it.”