By Jeannie Law
Popular gangsta rapper Snoop Dogg shocked the crowd at this year’s BET Awards on Sunday when he added an elaborate gospel performance to his set, making the declaration that he’s a “brand new man.”
Snoop performed a few of his secular hits before he threw on a choir robe and turned the stage into a replica of a stained-glass Church.
“I guess you could say I’m a brand new man. See rap guys usually don’t get baptized but how could you cleanse your sins without it? Make you wanna think about it The right Reverend the Reverend Wright recite light You see Today is the day to get your life right,” he is heard rapping on his new track “Sunrise.”
The former gang member of the Crips rapped his lyrics behind a wooden pulpit, adorned with a cross.
Snoop released his first a gospel album, Bible Of Love this year and many Christians have voiced their concerns and skepticism, given his history, but the award-winning rapper has defended himself claiming he’s on his journey and people in the church should “welcome sinners.”
Snoop closed out the BET Awards joined by actor Jamie Foxx and gospel singer/pastor Tye Tribbett. The three of them were joined by a massive gospel choir and concluded the evening singing the chorus: “Everything is gonna be alright.”
At one point, Foxx even had his children “name the books of the Bible,” while on stage.
With over two decades in the music industry, Snoop Dogg (whose real name is Calvin Broadus) has been popular among Gen Xers and millennials. But he also has an alarming history of crime and sexual exploitation. In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, he bragged about being a former pimp who (as a married man and father), had sex with and prostituted young women on a nationwide Playboy tour. He also won four porn industry awards for working with Hustler to film two hard-core porn movies. And in 2004 he settled a lawsuit in which he was accused by 17 and 18-year-old girls of offering alcohol, ecstasy and marijuana at a “Girls Gone Wild” party in exchange for taking off their clothes.
In 2009 Snoop Dogg announced that he had joined the Nation of Islam, then in 2012 he switched gears and became a Rastafarian after a short stint as a reggae artist. Now he claims to be a born-again Christian.
Bible Of Love is Snoop’s 16th studio album and he believes this is the direction he’s meant to go in. The record features collaborations with many gospel legends such as Kim Burrell, The Clark Sisters, as well as contemporary artists Mali Music and B Slade, among others.
Pastor Shirley Caesar even sung Snoop’s praises after he remixed her popular song “Hold My Mule” into a holiday edition of the “U Name It Challenge” in 2016.
Snoop explained why he wanted to make a gospel album, telling TV One, “It was just time to put my money where my mouth was and have it not be about money but about spirit. Give love to get love.”
Pedetin Daniel, Sao is a graduate of Mass Communication from the Polytechnic, Ibadan. He presently works with an online based education news organisation in Ibadan, Oyo State Nigeria. Daniel is a gospel teacher, drama minister, writer and a counsellor passionate about raising youth fit in the hand of God to bring revival.