NEW YORK - Rapper Snoop Dogg is moving up in the world. He's now Snoop Lion.
The US hiphop star said he decided to change his wacky stage name during a visit to a Rastafarian temple in Jamaica, where he'd gone to record reggae tracks.
"I want to bury Snoop Dogg and become Snoop Lion," the singer, wearing a Rasta knitted hat and dark glasses, said at a press conference Monday posted on his www.snoopdogg.com website.
Snoop, whose legal name is Calvin Broadus, said he went to Jamaica to get close to reggae legend Bob Marley's roots. While visiting a Rastafarian temple, "the high priest" told him his name was no longer Dogg.
"He looked me in my eyes and said, 'no more. You are... the lion," he said.
Snoop Lion said the change was part of a new reggae-driven direction in his long career.
"As a 40-year-old man in the music industry and you know the artists call me Uncle Snoop -- I gotta give them something. I'm a wise man in the music industry," he said.
"Not that I'll never do rap again because I'm gonna always do what I love, but right now I'm Snoop Lion and I'm having fun with this reggae."