What They Do - The Roots [video]

by jvillains


Bringing it back with one of the best rap videos ever. Many of the guidelines in this "Rap Video Manual" are still very true today. Pitchfork has a really great interview with Questlove and he tells a story about this video, how pissed off Diddy was about it (since it was mocking Biggie's "Juicy" video) and the subsequent confrontation.

"Puffy was in my right peripheral, watching me going crazy the whole time. He was 14 deep with dudes dressed in all-black with black sunglasses. I literally went from, "God damn!" to "Oh, fuck." [laughs] I thought I was done.

"I felt horrible that Biggie thought we were even coming at him like that with the 'What They Do' video."

Keep in mind that this is on the heels of Biggie telling The Source how he had been the biggest Roots fan and took offense to our "What They Do" video, which mocked Biggie's "One More Chance" video. Listen, I hate videos. I'm meticulous on everything from cover art, fonts, productions, mixing. But when it comes to videos, I just feel so defeated. I don't pay attention. I slept most of the time they filmed "What They Do". I really didn't have a clue that we were mocking Biggie. And when we saw the final product, we thought, "OK, that's silly, go with it." [Biggie] didn't like that one bit, boy. I felt horrible that he thought we were even coming at him like that.

Back to the show-- when I spotted Puffy, Q-Tip just happened to be within reach. Unbeknownst to all of us, Tip had invited Puff so that Puff could sign Mos to Bad Boy. Tip was the only artist that had one foot in the Soulquarian underground and one foot in the champagne rap that was going on at the time. He was the delegate. So anyway, Puff's like, "Yo, I want a meeting now!" We went backstage and Tip's playing the role of Minister Farrakhan with me and Mos on the right, and Puffy on the left with his 14 hitmen. That's when I realized how he came into power. It was basically hearing Puff go off like he does at the end of "My Downfall" on Life After Death. Screamin' it. He was like, "Let me tell you something, playboy. Big had nothing but love for y'all motherfuckers! And y'all shitted on him! Y'all shitted on my man!" I thought we were in the principal's office. And he just went on and on for an hour. Thirty minutes into it, I realized I wasn't going to get killed. It was just strange."

Questlove has been in the background for much hip-hop's seminal moments. Like the 1995 Source awards and the whole East Coast/West Coast beef, but Questlove tells a story about Nas at the award show, who had dropped Illmatic that year. His stories are so great that I just ordered his book , Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove.

Questlove might have meant "Juicy" and "One More Chance" in regards to the video "What They Do" was mocking, but we posted both since they are both great. Check out the videos below.