Snow dreams it all up again

GWEN MICHAEL

, Last Updated: 2:32 AM ET

TORONTO -- Snow certainly loves to sleep -- most people are sitting down for dinner when he's just waking up.

"When you're sleeping, that's when the gods visit you," says the Toronto rapper/singer. "You're only your true self when you're dreaming. This (pointing at himself) is just a shell."

On the eve of the release of his latest album "Two Hands Clapping" last week, Snow, a.k.a. Darrin O'Brien, dreamt of playing and running with tornadoes.

Over the past week, he has been dragged from bed to promote the album, which he describes as "a nice mixture of reggae and funk and hip-hop."

He doesn't claim to be original -- he admits to taking from many different kinds of music, but says he creates his own style with it. With eight producers named the album, including his 7-year-old daughter, Justuss, its no wonder his music is a mesh of different hip-hop and reggae flavours.

Snow's many references to "Informer" on his seventh album, hints at how much he's still riding on the success of the surprise hit. The 1993 single made the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest-selling reggae single and highest-charting reggae single in the U.S.

Snow admits he will probably never have the same success again -- saying the inspiration for that song came from jail.

"Never again!" he proclaims, "Then I start thinking, damn that was a big song, that was a big hit, maybe I should get back into jail and write another one. But I'm like, I'd rather not have another hit and stay out of jail."

His first single from the album, "Legal," about a fine-looking young woman, is a tribute to Jamaica's dancehall traditions. "I like the word legal," says Snow, "because in Jamaica you go to a dance and you hear gun shots and they say 'Legal.' It means that the police are shooting. It's like a legal shot, don't worry about it, it's just the police liking the song so they just shoot up into the air."

But that's as much reference as you'll get to guns on "Two Hands Clapping." While Snow's been to jail and lived the "street life" as he calls it, he prefers to sing about 'lighter' topics.

"I don't really preach," he says, "Don't like badness in my album."

His dreams give him a lot of inspiration for his songs. "I make up a lot of things, like I don't have to see it. My dreams are more real than reality. If I've dreamt about it, I've already done it, so I can write about it."

It can also get him into trouble. He says his autobiographical "That's My Life" is 80 per cent based on him, but admits his longtime girlfriend and mother of his child hates the lyrics about never loving the mother of his baby.

"She hates that part, but it's like, it has nothing to do with that. Has nothing to do with her."

Snow plans to tour Canada in December - the same time his album will be released internationally. After that he wants to tour the world. He has a large following in Japan, where he's experienced massive sales in the past.

"Japan is dying to put out this album - they're freaking out," he smiles, "They want to put it out right now. They love reggae over there."


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