Black Thought, Pharoahe Monch & Chuck D Revisit Biggie’s ‘Who Shot Ya’ in Living Colour (Audio)
Musical hybrids through-and-through, Living Colour’s sound is nearly impossible to describe in one genre. A full-fledged Rock band, the New York City-based outfit also heavily borrows from the sounds of Heavy Metal, Jazz, Funk, and certainly Hip-Hop. On September 9, the longtime group whose discography stretches back over 25 years will drop an E.P. called Mixtape, a project devoted entirely to reworkings of the Notorious B.I.G.’s 1995 song “Who Shot Ya?”
At the time of its release, it was swirling in controversy given the song’s apparent aim at Tupac Shakur during a time when the East versus West beef was at a fever pitch. Still considered to be one of Rap music’s greatest diss songs, it has been given new life by Living Colour who, as reported by Pitchfork, “were inspired to remake the song by both recent spikes in gun violence and ongoing police brutality towards African Americans in the United States.” The E.P. features Black Thought, Chuck D, Pharoahe Monch, and others and today (August 18), the three MCs join Living Colour on the Andre Betts remix to “Who Shot Ya?,” as do Prodigal Sunn & Kyle Mansa.
Vernon Reid, the band’s guitarist, told Pitchfork that the song is a response to issues related to police violence in the U.S., and that message is clear in the lyrics. “The amount of people who die on a daily basis because of gun violence is unacceptable in a civilized society,” Reid says. His sentiment is echoed by Black Thought, who raps “resistance will stop when I fire the shot/you cuffed, I give a fuck about innocence or not/your parents or your wife, newborn son, your daughter/slaughtered on brand new body-cam recorder/it’s old school, new tools, you should learn though/or turn a blind eye just like Joe Paterno.”
Heads can check out more of Reid’s thoughts on the song on Pitchfork.