And Finally Artist News Beef Of The Week Releases

Beef Of The Week #347: Snoop Dogg v Donald Trump

By | Published on Friday 17 March 2017

Snoop Dogg

Should we start a sweepstake on how many times Donald Trump will appear in the Beef Of The Week column over the next four years (or however long he manages to hold on as US president)? This is already the fifth time since he entered the world of politics. It could have been more if we’d reported on every pop beef involving Trump, except – despite what he’d probably tell you – he doesn’t always pull off the best pop beef in any given week. Sad.

You might have thought once he actually became president, Trump would stop having the kind of pointless spats with popstars that get you featured in the Beef Of The Week column. I mean, I’m not sure why you’d have thought that, but perhaps you did. You probably think all sorts of stupid stuff. And talking of dedicating brain space to stupid stuff, this week Trump has been using his presidential brain to think about a music video.

Just in case you somehow missed this story entirely, let’s skip back to the beginning. At the start of the week Snoop Dogg released a new track. Well, it was a new version of an existing track, Snoop’s contribution being the new bit: which is to say it was a new version of an instrumental from BadBadNotGood’s latest album on which the rapper has added words. Apparently he heard the original before a studio session and was inspired to put lyrics on top of it there and then.

The result is Snoop on fine form. Angry and rapping with purpose, he dissects the police brutality that spawned the Black Lives Matter movement. This theme then carries on into the track’s video too, depicting an America populated by clowns, led by one Ronald Klump – who, just in case this wasn’t clear enough, looks like Donald Trump in clown make up – in The Clown House. Towards the end of the video you see Snoop put a gun to Klump’s head and pull the trigger.

It was this sequence that angered the real Trump, who felt the implied threat of violence against him was unnecessary. And so, as any good president does, he took to Twitter to communicate his displeasure. He tweeted: “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if Snoop Dogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!”

As with all Trump tweets, there’s quite a lot to unpack there. But I guess the key points are “outcry”, “failing career”, “President Obama” and “jail time”. We can discount the failing career bit straight off, of course, because the security of Snoop Dogg’s career is demonstrable, and this is just Trump’s usual and frankly weird tendency to label anyone he disagrees with as a “loser”. The rest is quite good fun though.

I mean, what would the reaction have been if a clown version of Obama had featured in this kind of video during his time in office? Outcry? Jail Time? No, I think confusion would probably have been the main reaction. Why would Snoop want to put a gun to Obama’s head? He was, after all, a staunch supporter of the former president.

Whereas had this video been made during the Bush presidency, and it had been a clown-like George W Bush that Snoop was pointing his gun at, then I suspect most people’s reaction would have been “oh look, there’s Snoop pretending to pull a gun on a fictional version of the current president in some sort of artistic political statement”. You know, much like their reaction to the actual Ronald Klump-featuring video.

Because, as you’ll remember, Bush was hardly popular with much of the artist community during his time in charge, even if with hindsight we might now view his presidency with something nearing a warm glow – but not so much that we’d be retrospectively angry about a rapper pretending to shoot a clown representation of him in a pop video.

Hip hop’s distain for those on the right of US politics isn’t limited to Trump and Bush. I present as evidence Killer Mike’s 2012 track ‘Reagan’, in which he rapped “I’m glad Reagan dead”. OK, that’s not a mock assassination, and it came a long time after Ronald Reagan’s stint as president, but the track is celebrating the actual death of a one time Republican Commander In Chief.

So, I suppose what Trump should be asking isn’t what would the reaction be if it was Obama instead of him clowned up in the video, but if it was a Democrat rather than a Republican. Probably still confusion. Or, at least, the viewer – assuming they knew the rapper’s politics – would need to ask themselves, “Hmm, what’s the message meant to be here then?” But it seems unlikely there’d be any outcry or jail time.

Anyway, where were we? Oh yes, so Snoop puts a gun to Klump’s head and pulls the trigger. But, with this being some sort of alternative clown reality, the gun fires out a flag with the world “bang” on it. It’s almost as if the video is making some sort of satirical point.

After this, we see Klump chained up, unharmed by the toy gun that has just fired at him. Which you might want to interpret as the video suggesting that violence is not the answer, and that Trump – or Klump – should in fact be held accountable for his actions through non-violent channels.

But hey, look at me, looking for context. That sort of nonsense is for losers, right? No time for context seeking when you’ve got walls to build and countries to blacklist. Let’s just assume Snoop is one of “the second amendment people” and get a-tweetin!

Actually, before Trump got onto it, it was Senator Marco Rubio who first denounced the video, apparently concerned that it might inspire people to actually try and assassinate the President. Although he didn’t seem so concerned that an earlier scene in the same video might inspire policemen to go out and shoot actor Michael Rapaport in his car.

Commenting on the video, Snoop told Billboard: “When I be putting shit out, I don’t ever expect or look for a reaction. I just put it out because I feel like it’s something that’s missing. Any time I drop something, I’m trying to fill in a void. 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 fucking clown as president, and the shit that we dealing with out here, so I wanted to take time out to push pause on a party record and make one of these records for the time being”.

The video’s director, YouTuber Jesse Wellens, added: “I just had been seeing this go on in the world politically, and I actually was a cop for six years in the military, so I can kind of see it from the cop’s point of view too. When I originally wrote the idea of the video, the video of [Philando 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”.

Anyway, I suppose we’d all better watch this bloody video now. However, at this stage I feel like I should first publish a disclaimer. If you’re the sort of person who is likely to miss nuance and subtext in a four and half minute music video, probably steer clear. Maybe just get on with running the fucking country you’re apparently in charge of.