Reggae artist Snoop Lion, formerly known as rap artist Snoop Dogg, said at a press event for his new film "Turbo" on Wednesday that he felt the prosecution in the Zimmerman murder trial was lacking because the victim, Trayvon Martin, was black.

"If that had been a black-on-black crime, it would have been a conviction no matter what," he told a reporter for The Associated Press. "...The prosecution, they represented Trayvon Martin horribly. They just didn't put on a great case for him, and to me, if you're fighting a case like that, you've got to bring in the best people to represent, especially when the boy is dead and not here to represent himself."

"So you have to bring out the best representation, and to me that's where they leaked at," Snoop continued. "And to me, it's because he was black. If he had been another color, they'd have brought up the best representation. That's just my personal feeling, and that's just the way it is."

The former rapper, who was once himself exonerated on a murder charge, made a dramatic change in his life over the last year after an extended trip to Jamaica to record his latest album, "Reincarnated." A camera crew with the website VICE followed Snoop's journey, carefully documenting every recording session and plume of marijuana smoke, finding their subject in a much more contemplative mood than he's ever let on before.

Snoop explained to CNN host Piers Morgan in March that his latest album is effectively a reinvention of himself personally and as an artist, primarily when it comes to violence in his lyrics and his relationship to firearms. The album features a track called "No Guns Allowed," which Snoop said was inspired by the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut last December.

"It affected me to where I wanted to say something and I wanted to make some music to try to help the next person who was thinking about loading a gun, going into a school and then shooting and maybe helping him put that gun down and think about what he was doing or what she was doing before they did that," he told Morgan.

Since the release of "Reincarnated," Snoop has become one of the music industry's leading gun control advocates -- an astonishing turnaround from the young man who once rapped, "Shoot 'em up, shoot 'em up bang, bang; It's all fair in tha gang bang." In a stunning contrast, Snoop pleads for peace on "No Guns Allowed," singing: “Let the music play, me don't want no more gunplay, when the bodies hit the ground, there's nothing left to say. Me don't want to see no more innocent blood shed. Me don't want to see no more youth dead.”

Snoop most recently participated in a BET panel discussion with rapper T.I. and the director of "Fruitvale Station," a film about the police killing of Oscar Grant. “We’re brainwashed [as youths],” he told the audience. “Not knowing the results and the consequences of gun violence, we’re always quick to pick [the gun] up, but when we do what we do with it, then we get remorseful and sad. We don’t think. The train of thought is never put into effect until after the fact.”

This video is from The Associated Press, published Wednesday, July 17, 2013.

This video was published to YouTube on April 2, 2013.


["Stock Photo: Snoop Dogg At The Los Angeles Premiere Of Marley At The Cinerama Dome, Hollywood. April 17, 2012. Picture: Paul Smith / Featureflash" on Shutterstock.]