In 1996, the rap-video-cliché-mocking "What They Do" video hipped me to both The Roots and its director Charles Stone III, who went on to direct Budweiser's "Wassup" ads from 1999 to 2002 (they were actually a remake of his short film "True") and movies like Drumline and Mr. 3000. When I'm depressed--which is all the time--the satirical "What They Do" video is something I put on if I need a few laughs.
Many go to YouTube to watch music videos. But if you want to watch the "What They Do" video, don't go to YouTube.
Black Thought, Questlove and the rest of the Roots crew jumped ship from Geffen Records to Def Jam in 2005 after many disagreements with the Universal Music Group-owned label. And how did Geffen/UMG show how much they adore The Roots? They removed from the cut of the "What They Do" video that's currently on the co-owned-by-UMG VEVO and YouTube all of its funny, industry-critiquing subtitles, which Stone once said were inspired by the subtitles in Madison Avenue copywriter Mark Fenske's beloved 1992 video for Van Halen's "Right Now" (a video Sammy Hagar hated, which says a lot about Hagar). Way to kill the whole point of the "What They Do" video.
Fortunately, as Grantland's Andy Greenwald pointed out today, someone on Vimeo preserved the original cut of Stone's video, although the video quality is a bit blurry for my tastes (I don't know what the term is for the opposite of HD--I'd call it VD).
The Roots - What They Do from Uzi on Vimeo.
I wouldn't be surprised if the fool who deleted the subtitles sees an Onion headline on Facebook and thinks it's real.