Rap great Snoop Dogg has drawn controversy for appearing to shoot US president Donald Trump in a new video that also takes aim at police brutality.
Snoop Dogg, an early figure in California gangsta rap who had mellowed in recent years, this week released a video for “Lavender” in which most actors are clowns.
One clown is unmistakably Trump, sporting bouffant hair and a red tie that dangles below the waist as he gesticulates wildly at the podium of “The Clown House.”
The clown—named Ronald Klump—puts his hands up as if under arrest as Snoop Dogg draws a pistol, with a flag popping out that says “Bang!”
Earlier in the video Snoop Dogg references last year’s killing of Philando Castile, whose shooting by a Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop was live-streamed by Castile’s girlfriend.
“It’s all on camera and they still don’t believe you / Clownin’ around—don’t come your clown ass ‘round here, nigga,” Snoop Dogg raps in “Lavender,” his take on an instrumental track by Canadian group BadBadNotGood.
Senator Marco Rubio, a rare member of Trump’s Republican Party who has spoken of his fondness for hip-hop, criticized the video and recalled that “we’ve had presidents assassinated before in this country.”
“The wrong person sees that and gets the wrong idea, you can have a real problem. I’m not sure what Snoop was thinking,” the Florida senator told celebrity site TMZ when approached at an airport.
Snoop Dogg said he was aiming to make a video that was “not controversial but real.”
“I feel like it’s a lot of people making cool records, having fun, partying, but nobody’s dealing with the real issue with this...clown as president,” Snoop Dogg told music magazine Billboard.
In addition to police brutality, Snoop Dogg voiced anger at Trump over his ban on visitors from certain Muslim-majority countries and his administration’s support for tough federal enforcement of laws against marijuana.
Trump won last year’s election despite widespread antipathy from the entertainment world. While most musicians have steered clear of violent imagery, rocker Marilyn Manson last year made a video in which he appeared to behead Trump.
The “Lavender” video, which features YouTube star Jesse Wellens, can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4i3bAtEuJE.
Snoop Dogg was one of the leading rappers of the 1990s with hits such as “What’s My Name?” and “Gin & Juice.” In recent years he has shed the gangsta imagery, branching out into reggae, starring in multiple television series and pursuing a marijuana business.