Rap legend Snoop Dogg has courted controversy in a new music video which depicts a mock assassination of a clown representing U.S. President Donald Trump.
The video for Snoop’s remix of “Lavender,” a track originally by Canadian group BadBadNotGood, was released Sunday on YouTube.
Set in an alternative reality in the United States where the country is inhabited by clowns, it shows a clown Trump parody named Ronald Klump appearing on television to announce the deportation of all “doggs.”
Later in the video, which also features Haitian-Canadian DJ Kaytranada, Snoop points a toy gun at Klump and fires; a “Bang” sign unfurls from the barrel of the gun and Klump remains standing.
The video has prompted criticism from the U.S. president’s supporters on social media, while Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who lost to Trump in the race to be the party’s presidential candidate, told entertainment news website TMZ that “Snoop shouldn’t have done that.”
“We’ve had presidents assassinated before in this country so anything like that is really something people should be very careful about,” said Rubio, a self-declared hip hop fan.
The video has clear political overtones in other places. Actor Michael Rapaport plays a clown father who is pulled over by a clown policeman for smoking while driving. The policeman then shoots Rapaport with a glitter gun, while a bystander films the incident on his smartphone.
Castile, an African-American, was shot and killed by a police officer in Minnesota in July 2016 in an interview that was filmed and broadcast live on social media by his partner. The officer who shot Castile was charged with second-degree manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm in November 2016.
“When I originally wrote the idea of the video, the video of [Castile] getting shot came out online and it was causing riots. We just kind of wanted to bring the clowns out, because it’s clownery—it’s ridiculous what’s happening,” Wellens told Billboard.
Snoop told Billboard that he did not intend to make a controversial song but a song that was “real to the voice of people who don’t have a voice.” The song’s lyrics denounce police brutality: “Tryin’ to keep from dying in these muthaf***in’ streets/ F*** the police/ From a black man’s point of view.”
Snoop also criticized Trump’s executive order banning immigration to the United States from several mostly-Muslim countries. “It’s a lot of clown sh*t going on that we could just sit and talk on the phone all day about, but it’s a few issues that we really wanted to lock into [for the video] like police, the president and just life in general,” the rapper told Billboard.