Shots (Symbolically) Fired: Snoop & Trump Clash Over Video

Rapper Snoop Dogg is no stranger to controversy, but a mock assassination of an obvious Donald Trump parody in his recent music video for the song “Lavender” earned him the scorn of the president himself, who somehow managed to find time to respond on Twitter.


Legendary rapper Snoop Dogg has never exactly made a point of watering down his hatred of the police and the current president, nor his love of cannabis. But in his new video for the song “Lavender” – essentially a remix of the track by the Haitian-Canadian producer and DJ Kaytranada and the jazz-hip-hop crossover ensemble BADBADNOTGOOD – he tackles all three subjects with fresh explicitness.

Though the video, with its cast of clowns, the appearance of “Snoop Loops” cereal and numerous Suicide Squad references, feels a bit whimsical, but its message is deadly serious. At one point, a clown (played by prolific actor Michael Rapaport) is pulled over in his car while smoking a blunt and is subsequently shot by a cop.

Later, after a fake Trump (also depicted as a clown) declares on TV that he is going to “deport all dogs,” Snoop shoots him with a toy gun — complete with a flag that says “BANG” — and then ties him up in chain link while smoking a blunt.

The president somehow found time in his busy schedule of putting out PR fires and scouring Trump Tower for Obama bugs to respond directly to the rapper using his favorite platform — Twitter:

Snoop has not yet responded publicly to the president’s tweet, but with a net worth of roughly $143 million and his television show enjoying ratings success and renewal for a second season, Trump’s diagnosis of a “failing career” might qualify as an “alternative fact.”

In a recent interview with Billboard, Snoop explained that the video is intended to draw attention to issues of police brutality and government incompetence. He said it was directly inspired by the homicide of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by the police during a traffic stop last July in Minnesota.

“Nobody’s dealing with the real issue with this f*cking clown as president, and the shit that we dealing with out here,” Snoop said. “So I wanted to take time out to push pause on a party record and make one of these records for the time being.”

And even though the character shot for marijuana possession is white, Snoop explained that the video is also addressing the whitewashing of the cannabis industry.

“People [are] in jail for weed for 20, 30 years and motherf*ckers that’s not Black on the streets making money off of it,” he said. “[But] if you got color or ethnicity connected to your name, you’ve been wrongfully accused or locked up for it, and then [you’re] watching people not of color position themselves to get millions and billions off of it.”

The video has also drawn heavy criticism from Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who criticized it and Snoop for making it in an interview with TMZ.

“People can disagree on policy,” the senator said. “[But] we’ve gotta be very careful about that kind of thing, because [if] the wrong person sees that and gets the wrong idea, you could have a real problem. I’m not sure what Snoop was thinking. He should think about that.”

Snoop plans to include “Lavender (Nightfall Remix)” on his new album, titled Never Left. The project is tentatively set to be released in May.

TELL US, what do you think of the video?

Max Savage Levenson is an audio producer and writer living in Berkeley, California. His work has appeared on NPR Music, All Songs Considered, the Hash podcast, KQED's The California Report and others. Max also hosts a totally non-recorded live-audience talk show called the Max Savage Show, because he is a narcissist who just wants people to like him.

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