There has been a heated debate surrounding “What do you think?,” a track from Suga’s second mixtape D-2, released under the name of Agust D. The controversy began when the fact that the sampling of James Warren “Jim” Jones’s speech was inserted in the track was belatedly known.
Jim Jones, an American preacher and faith healer turned cult leader, launched the Peoples Temple in the 1950s. He was the mastermind of the “Jonestown Massacre” in November 1978, where he ordered 918 commune members to commit mass-suicide.
The fact that Jim Jones’s speech was sampled at the beginning of “What do you think?” for about 10 seconds was first known within BTS fandom. Some fans started posting hashtag “#Suga_JimJones_WhatDoYouThink” on social media, and asked for an explanation of the intention of using such speech.
At first, the focus was mainly on the legitimacy of using the speech. People started to debate whether the context of the speech was appropriate when the song is about “haters” rather than about criticizing Jim Jones. On the other hand, some interpreted that since Jim Jones’s speech made no sense, it was paradoxically used to point out the haters.
The controversy seemed to have dialed down when Big Hit Entertainment issued an apology on May 31. They said, “The vocal sample in the intro was selected without knowing the speaker without any particular intention.” Then, they re-released the revised version with Jim Jones’s voices all deleted.
However, the controversy was reignited on June 3 when Dispatch raised suspicions about whether the producer and Suga really didn’t realize what those samples were. Dispatch said, “The sample is clearly described ‘distorted religion consists of various speeches, sermons, assemblies, and performances, including those of Jim Jones, the notorious cult leader,’” questioning how such prestigious music label failed to read a description before using the sample.
Despite the allegations, Big Hit Entertainment is sticking to its previous position. And Suga, who acted as the main producer of D-2, has not made any statements even until today, the fifth day since the controversy surfaced. Even if he didn’t know Jim Jones as explained by his agency, Suga and the producer would not be relieved from the responsibilities. As Suga has always valued the power of communication with fans, there are growing calls for Suga to explain the situation himself.