The artist, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, said at a news conference Monday in New York that he was "born again" during his Jamaica trip in February and connected with Bob Marley's spirit.
"I feel like I've always been Rastafarian," Snoop said of the spiritual Jamaican movement.
He said he's tired of hip-hop and wants to make music that his "kids and grandparents can listen to."
"As a 40-year-old man ... I've got to give them something," he said. "That's what you do when you're wise."
The former gangster rapper, best known for hits like "Gin and Juice" and "Drop It Like It's Hot," is releasing a reggae album called "Reincarnated" in the fall. He played five songs for a small crowd, including one called "No Guns Allowed." It features his daughter and includes the lyrics, "No guns allowed in here tonight, we're going to have a free for all, no fights."
Snoop didn't explain why he was switching from "Dogg" to "Lion," but it's likely a reference to the Lion of Judah, a religious symbol popular in Rastafarian and Ethiopian culture.
Snoop's album will be followed with a documentary of the same name, both produced by Vice Records. It will debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.