Snoop Let the Dogg Out
Dana, Rebecca, Newsweek
Byline: Rebecca Dana
A rap-to-reggae reinvention.
The bestselling rap artist, ne Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. and formerly known as Snoop Dogg, has changed his name yet again, officially becoming Snoop Lion last week at a press conference in a Jamaican restaurant in Manhattan. With the switch comes a whole new identity--as a reggae singer--and a coordinated media push, including a new album and a documentary about the Dogg's ascent to the top of the animal kingdom.
It is an explicit attempt to reboot the career of a 40-year-old musician who believes, after 20 years in the business, that he has become "Uncle Snoop." But will it work? Many stars have attempted to pull another decade of fame out of a midcareer reincarnation, few with great results.
"It's all about these artists trying to find ways to slightly reinvent themselves and continue to be relevant," says Dan Schawbel, an author and personal branding consultant. "The drawback is that people forget what they're supposed to call you. I know Snoop Dogg as Snoop Dogg. I'm not going to call him anything else."
Prince faced a similar problem during his eight-year effort to rebrand himself as an unpronounceable glyph he called "The Love Symbol," which ended when he returned to Prince in 2000. There was a short period when pint-size actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen tried to force people to acknowledge their unique identities and refer to them as "Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen. …