To the surprise of many, it was recently discovered that BTS’s Suga had sampled a speech from cult leader/mass murderer Jim Jones to use in the beginning of his song “What Do You Think” off his new mixtape.
It was a confusing choice that didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense given the song’s subject matter, though that didn’t stop many fans from making like 100-tweet threads trying to explain it. That was … exhausting.
However, none of the explanations really passed the sniff test. Thus, I felt that at minimum stans should respect those who were upset by it.
Of course, that’s just the way I see it. Perhaps stans are correct and what he intended was something more noble, but even they have to admit that the best-case interpretation has a rather tenuous logic and requires a somewhat significant amount of reaching, so at the very least it’s insulting to invalidate the feelings of those who do feel offended by Jim Jones’ inclusion in “What Do You Think?”. It just comes off as tone deaf to me. The discussions about what the appropriate backlash is doesn’t matter to me all that much, but I think it’s understandable if people are upset by this because he made it quite easy for that to happen.
Moments ago, despite the aforementioned galaxy brain explanations, Big Hit Entertainment simply apologized for the speech’s inclusion, removed it from the song and reuploaded a version without it, and explained it had no intention behind it.
“Hello, this is Big Hit Entertainment. This is our official statement on the issue of BTS’ Suga’s mixtape. The vocal sample of the speech in the introduction of the song “What Do You Think?” on the mixtape was selected without any special intent by the producer who worked on the track, who was unaware of the identity of the speaker and used the sample for the overall atmosphere of the song. After the speech sample was selected, the company followed our internal process and carried out procedures for reviewing the appropriateness of the content. However, in both the selection and review processes, we committed an error in not recognizing the inappropriateness of the content and including the sample in the song. Big Hit Entertainment has processes for reviewing its diverse content targeted toward a global audience for potential social, cultural, and historical issues. However, we are experiencing the reality that there are limits to understanding and correctly responding to every situation. In this case, we were not able to recognize the issue in advance and displayed a lack of understanding about the relevant historical and social issues. We apologize to those who felt uncomfortable or hurt because of this. Big Hit Entertainment has removed the part of the song in question and re-released the new version. The artist also feels embarrassed and deeply responsible for a problem that has arisen in an area that he did not consider. Big Hit Entertainment will use this incident as a lesson to conduct its production process more thoroughly.
“Selected without any special intent” and “used the sample for the overall atmosphere of the song“, huh? So … aesthetics?
That sounds familiar.
So in the end, I don’t see it as Suga utilizing the speech in order to make some kind of point, but rather it seems Jim Jones was an aesthetic (perhaps as a representation of anger), and that could leave people understandably pissed off.
Thanks for the hate anyway, I guess.
As for the statement, their explanation basically tries to absolve Suga of responsibility for the track, but the weird thing is that it’s not what fans were arguing and the company are the ones that seemed to set him up.
As somebody else put it, it definitely seems like a case of Schrodinger’s Artistic Control, but whatever.
Anyway, I’m glad it was addressed and I feel basically the same about it as before.