The Notorious B.I.G. might have felt slighted by The Roots prior to his death in 1997. While on a recent episode of People’s Party With Talib Kweli, which was recorded at Roots Picnic, The Roots’ frontman Black Thought clarified the intention behind the “What They Do” music video, which Biggie Smalls was apparently offended by.
“Nah, we weren’t dissing, first of all, I mean gangsta rap, what is that?” Black Thought said. “Capone-N-Noreaga, I wouldn’t consider that gangsta rap. But, everything that was taking place during that point in time in music, had become so predictable. We did that song, and then ultimately the video, just as a satire.”
Furthermore, the emcee explained that gangsta rap artists “probably felt a way,” but the reference was to be taken as humor. “We absolutely didn’t intend for anybody to take offense, but there was one scene in that video where the director dropped me into a duplicate of a scene from somebody else’s video and it was a B.I.G. joint,” Black Thought added.
“So B.I.G., he really was offended by ‘What They Do,’ like by the video. He was rocking with the song, and then he saw the video and was devastated because he was a huge Roots fan. ‘Silent Treatment’ was his shit.
Black Thought Tells The Story Of Biggie Thinking That The Roots Dissed Him | People’s Party Clipwww.youtube.com
Biggie would speak on “What They Do” in an interview with The Source, and the publication also reached out to The Roots’ co-founder and drummer Questlove for comment. In response, Questlove offered to write an op-ed on the controversy, but it wouldn’t be released in time. “What They Do” appeared on The Roots’ 1996 album lladelph Halflife, which was released roughly six months before Biggie was murdered in Los Angeles.
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