Rebirth and spiritual enlightenment. Probably not the first experiences that jump to mind when you think of ol' Snoop (Lion, neé Dog), but the VICE-powered documentary Reincarnation shows candidly that it can happen to anyone.

Many greeted the announcement that the iconic rapper (best loved for his cameo as Huggy Bear in the Starsky and Hutch remake of course) was rebranding as 'Snoop Lion' with natural incredulity. Such are the pitfalls of ignorance. This original documentary deftly paves over them by sensitively yet drolly chronicling the personal, spiritual and music evolution of one Calvin Cordozar Broadus.

The film itself is metered and shot in a workmanlike fashion that allows us plain, unprecedented access to a global superstar and hero to many, without the stylistic barriers of directorial ego. We're taken along for Snoop's trip to Jamaica, travel back to his violent, formative years as a young rapper under Dre's wing and his seminal time at Death Row Records. We're anchored by the recording of his new reggae album (sounding good, natch) which sees Snoop at his most tender and introspective, especially when surrounded by his wife (a storied marriage) and kids, who perform on the album. During these scenes we often see and hear from Snoop's entourage of musicians (Diplo, Angela Hunte - both glorious) and friends, which often provides the comic relief - and hit some seriously emotional beats. It never descends into schmaltz though, the filmmakers draw some moving memories from Snoop and his crew about the death of his child-hood friends (Tupac, Nate Dogg, to name but a few) and the various changes of heart he has throughout his career.

Snoop himself is a big man to begin with, and still comes across as larger than life. In every scene, whether he's walking or otherwise, he sways with an internalised rhythm, and latterly with the ecstasy of spirituality. As you might expect for such a lyricist, he's erudite (in his own way) and wonderfully pithy. "I don't have no eyesight for colour" he succinctly relates, remembering his early childhood growing up surrounded by white kids. "You're putting the right thing inside them" he nods sagely to the founder of Alpha Boys (a famous youth orchestra and community) where he stops for a brilliant impromptu freestyle. "Just doing my thing, and never really knowing why". Zen Snoop.

As the documentary nears its inevitable conclusion with Snoop reaching his spiritual reckoning and titular awakening, the pace drops off a little, there are moments which feel slightly toothless (especially given the producers' reputation) and of Snoop's motives and/or media savvy seem a little ambiguous. Equally Snoop has since come under flak from 'Bunny', his Rastafari mentor and guest vocalist, citing as the reason Snoop's lapse from certain tenets. Yet, Snoop's heart is definitely in the right place, despite the sense that his rite of passage was too assured in parts.

Overall however, this is a surprising, even-handed and inspiring documentary which I would recommend heartily to anyone - Snoop/hip-hop fan or not. It's no epiphany but it's a new chapter definitely worth reading.

It just should have been called Snoop Doccy Doc.

You can buy the film on iTunes here.