With N.E.R.D.’s hotly anticipated album No_One Ever Really Dies set to be released Friday (Dec. 15), the renowned hip-hop group have unleashed their Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar-assisted record “Don’t Don’t Do It.”
Inspired by Keith Scott — an African American male who was killed during a fatal run-in with police last year in Charlotte — N.E.R.D. tackles the issues of police shootings on their latest new track. During his interview with Beats 1 Radio host Zane Lowe, Pharrell revisited the dark moment and how it birthed the creation of “Don’t Don’t Do It.”
“I was watching the news. This gentleman by the name of Keith Scott was in his minivan,” he began. “He was waiting on his child to get off the school bus. The authorities were looking for someone, someone who did not fit his description and based on what the story was, the vehicle did not fit the description either. I’m not sure if the vehicle was even part of the search. For whatever reason they encountered each other. His wife is standing trying to get him, the authorities tell her to stand back. She’s filming the entire thing on her camera phone. She is saying, “Don’t do it. Don’t don’t do it. Don’t do it Keith. Don’t don’t do it.”
Scott’s wife begged officers for leniency and understanding after explaining how her husband suffered from T.B.I. (Traumatic Brain Injury). Despite her pleas, the police shot and killed Scott, leaving Pharrell distraught by their actions.
“The thing that was ironic for me is when she’s saying to her husband, don’t do it, don’t don’t do it. Don’t do it Keith,” he says. “I’m thinking to myself, all of these unarmed African American motorists — when you do what the authorities ask you to do, I wonder before you die if your conscience says that to you, or asks you or suggests to you, “Don’t do it, don’t do it”. When they tell you to pull over, I wonder if Philando Castile, in his mind, was thinking, ‘Don’t pull over.'”
He adds: “Any of them, I just wonder if they heard a voice in their mind after they were instructed to do something, if they heard a voice saying, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t don’t do it.’ And that’s where the song came from.”
Listen to “Don’t Don’t Do It” featuring Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean below.