Snoop Dogg has expressed regret over his controversial comments to a US TV journalist and said he felt the need to protect “superhero” Kobe Bryant.
The rapper, 48, was condemned after threatening Gayle King when she raised the question of a sexual assault allegation against the basketball player following his death last month.
In a video posted online, Snoop Dogg warned King to “back off bitch, before we come get you”.
It reportedly led to her receiving death threats.
Snoop Dogg later apologised.
During an appearance on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk, he blamed the outburst on “losing control” following his friend Bryant’s death, adding he has still not “swallowed” the 2019 killing of rapper Nipsey Hussle.
“I lost a grandson, a grandmother and then I gotta be strong in front of everybody,” Snoop Dogg said, referencing tragedies in his personal life.
“What about when I want to cry? What about when I’m hurt and I’m feeling bad and I feel disgusted and I want to be angry and I want to just blurt out, I can’t.”
Snoop Dogg, who rose to fame as part of the West Coast hip hop scene of the early 1990s, added: “I let my emotions get the best of me, I was frustrated on top of just venting and doing it the wrong way.”
Bryant, 41, was killed alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California.
He was a beloved figure in Los Angeles and played for the Lakers, the city’s basketball team, for 20 trophy-filled years.
Snoop Dogg was furious when, during an interview with Bryant’s friend and former women’s basketball player Lisa Leslie, King brought up a sexual assault allegation against Bryant from 2003.
It was later settled out of court and the case was dropped.
“Kobe was like the son and the brother to LA that we all needed and we all loved him for that,” Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus Jr, said.
“From the early Nineties to his last days of him playing basketball, we watched him grow into a father, a mentor, a leader.
“He was the kind of guy that was forgiving, he was the kind of guy that was apologetic so I had to take that on and say, ‘Let me put a little bit of him in me’.”
He added: “When someone becomes a superhero – we don’t have a lot of them – but when someone becomes a superhero, it’s our job to protect that superhero.”
Asked why he issued an apology – which was accepted by King – Snoop Dogg said he wanted to protect Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, and their four daughters.
He said: “That’s what the whole intent was to protect that woman and them babies over there because she’s still grieving and let’s give them that respect.”