For context, BTS member Suga (Min Yoongi) recently released his long-awaited second mixtape last week. The mixtape was met with mostly positive reception until it came to people's attention that a sample used on the track What Do You Think was actually from one of infamous cult leader Jim Jones's sermons. Interestingly, Suga was actually seen on video sampling the sermon back in 2019, but people didn't know what it was for or if it would ever be released, so the story never really took off and was mostly only known to hardcore BTS fans.
People were offended by his use of the sample for a variety of reasons. Many felt a Korean rapper using this sample was especially insensitive due to the way Jim Jones specifically targeted and victimized black people when recruiting for his cult. People were also offended that the sample seemingly had no relevance to the song's lyrical content (a mostly typical ~flex~ song about his money and accomplishments) rather than being used to make some form of political statement or social commentary.
The story eventually reached Korean fans, who were very upset (understandably, as South Korea has a long, complicated history with religious cults). Outcry from Korean fans must've become too much, because BigHit chose to finally address the situation today.
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.
There are many who believe this "Suga didn't do it" excuse is an obvious attempt to "pass the buck", since Yoongi was seen on video working with the sample himself. The group is often praised for producing and writing most of their own music, especially for their mixtapes. Additionally, many are disatisfied that the apology came from the company, with no written statement or input from the rapper himself, and only a single sentence noting that he is "embarrassed".
OP's note: I know we try to limit the amount of kpop news on here, but I hope this is okay - I wasn't originally going to post this, but honestly, this whole ruckus has been a welcome distraction from some of the more harrowing headlines going on at the moment.