N.E.R.D’s comeback album No_One Ever Really Dies is finally out this Friday, but first, they’re sharing one more superstar collaboration following tracks with Rihanna, André 3000, and Future. This one features Kendrick Lamar and is called “Don’t Don’t Do It!” Not only does Kung Fu Kenny feature on the song, Frank Ocean wrote the intro. As Pharrell explained to Zane Lowe on Beats 1, the song is inspired by the killing of brain-injured black man Keith Scott in Charlotte last year and the abundance of similar police shootings in recent years:
I was watching the news. This gentleman by the name of Keith Scott was in his minivan. 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.” She’s telling the authorities that her husband has a TBI, that’s a Traumatic Brain Injury. They’re telling him to put his hands up or whatever and she knows, you can tell in her voice that she see what’s going to happen. She’s saying, “Don’t do it. Don’t do it Keith. Don’t don’t do it.” And of course you know the way that turned out, he was killed. 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. 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. 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. And so you know who better to enlist to help us communicate that feeling and that notion was Kendrick Lamar, and that’s how “Don’t Don’t Do It” came about.
Listen to both song and interview below.
No_One Ever Really Dies is out 12/15 on Columbia/i am OTHER.