Dispatch has taken a dive into the United States sampling industry to see whether or not Big Hit Entertainment‘s statement of the producers not knowing is truly valid.
Back on May 31, Big Hit Entertainment apologized after the public blew up about Suga‘s mixtape track “What do you think?” containing a sampling of a sermon done by cult leader Jim Jones. Big Hit Entertainment claimed they did not know who the speaker was.
Dispatch asked Big Hit Entertainment for more information, such as what was the role of Suga as the executive producer of the mixtape, and any additional explanation from Suga about the problem that including the sermon could have caused, but they received similar responses for each question.
As we stated in our official statement, the sermon vocal sample was chosen by the other producers with no specific intentions.
— Big Hit Entertainment
Dispatch then decided to take things into their own hands, and investigate from the point of view of the content creator. Here is the entire Dispatch investigation, as stated by the media outlet themselves.
1. Do you want to include someone else’s speech or sermon?
First, to include a speech or sermon, a creator will need to search on Splice. Splice is the largest sampling platform in the United States, where producers all over the world register their own samples, and sell them to others.
A search for the word “speech” was attempted by Dispatch, as they thought “speech” would be the first word to search for for someone who wants to include a speech sample in their song. Out of the 89 results, none of them included Jim Jones.
2. What about religion?
Dispatch then searched up religion, and two sampling packs are available for use. In the search, 103 samples are available for use.
Dispatch specifically noted that sample #52 and sample #96 are the same two samples that were used in the introduction of “What do you think?” They are the same length, but coincidentally, Suga may have used two of Jim Jones’ voice samples?
3. Maybe you don’t know who Jim Jones is?
Did Suga’s production team not know Jim Jones? Dispatch asked Big Hit Entertainment if they searched searched him on the keywords on Splice, but no response. They gave no answers.
Dispatch then searched for Jim Jones on Splice, and came up with 1,366 results. Out of the first religion sample pack called “Vintage Vocals: Twisted Religion”, four results included Jim Jones.
4. Vintage Vocals: Twisted Religion
Dispatch is making another hypothesis here. “Suga, EL CAPITXN, and GHSTLOOP don’t know Jim Jones.” Something bothered Dispatch with that possible hypothesis. There’s a clear description on the Vintage Vocals: Twisted Religion pack, so did they not even read things like the description?
5. We read the description of the sample pack
This is the description on the Twisted Religion sample pack.
Twisted Religion is packed with emotionally charged excerpts of speeches, sermons, rallies and performances – including some from the infamous cult leader Jim Jones (courtesy of The Jonestown Institute)
Words such as infamous and cult leader come out. Jim Jones and Jonestown were both specifically mentioned.
6. Okay, maybe they didn’t read the description
Big Hit Entertainment included in their explanation that the producers did not know it was Jim Jones, and didn’t know it was an inappropriate sample.
But the title of the sample pack itself is called “Twisted Religion”, so why didn’t they suspect something? BTS’s main promotions are now in the United States, which is also wary of cults.
Even Jim Jones’ name is on the title of the sample audio files (sm101_vv_jim_jones_on_reality.wav, sm101_vv_jim_jones_socialism_rant_01.wav), so they should have thought of searching Jim Jones?
7. What if you needed to Google search Jim Jones?
If people continue to make excuses for them, take it to Google and search. If you search Jim Jones on Google, thousands of examples of terrifying events appear.
Jim Jones is considered the United States’ worst cult leader. In November 1978, more than 900 of his followers were trapped on a remote jungle area in South America, and led to a mass suicide. It is the largest massacre in United States history.
8. What you don’t know is “poison”
The intro of “What do you think?” is 11 seconds long. Jim Jones voice appears twice, for five seconds and six seconds at a time. Dispatch did some investigating and found out files #52 and #96 contained the same lines as Suga used.
Dispatch wants to believe Suga. His words and actions to this point have been more serious and sincere than anyone else. Yes, maybe he didn’t know about Jim Jones. But by the way, what you don’t know can be “poisonous”.
9. Suga is the owner of his mixtape
The main producer of the mixtape is Suga himself. His position for the mixtape was not just singing. He was also listed as the recording engineer for “What do you think?” The role of the recording engineer is to determine the overall balance of the song during recording.
The mastering process is also not without fault. Mastering is where the artist, composers, engineers, and A&R teams gather to check the sound and quality of the song once it enters the second half of production. Why did they not question an unfamiliar voice?
10. Is it all because of haters?
Some ARMY are supporting Suga in this. Their logic is that Jim Jones is a symbol of deceit who has killed people, and how his words are literally “shit”. Suga used his sermon to show that haters’ words are also shit. They said that if you don’t trust Suga now, you haven’t done your best in supporting Suga.
But you can’t simply switch out people being antis with the fact that Jim Jones is a cult leader who committed a massacre. It’s different when it involves a person’s pains, religion, and race.
Will BTS be limited to only Korea after this? Probably not, they are the most influential group in the world right now. What they do need now is not a blind shield. It may hurt, but they need a spear (a response).
Suga will rise above the criticisms. It will be fine as long as he doesn’t repeat the mistake. But Dispatch hopes he doesn’t hide behind someone, such as his agency, as he usually always speaks out on his own. Confidently.