The Internet is a little less fun today because Young Busco – the man behind the ‘What Are Those’ viral clip – has passed away. As fans mourn, get the details behind this comic mind.
Young Busco (born Brandon Moore) passed away on Sunday, Nov. 25, according to his mother, Valerie Cooper, per PEOPLE. “My only child…. My faith will not falter!!!! Lord be my peace.” In a separate post, Cooper grieved more about the devastating loss. “I cant believe that the earth is still moving when I feel as though my world has stopped…..Lord be my peace…..” The cause of death is unknown at this time. While Young Busco has passed away, his work will live on in one of the most viral memes to hit the Internet in recent years.
1. His “What Are Those?” Meme blew up in the summer of 2015. In the original clip, Young Busco (pronounced BOOSE-co) records a pair of police officers conducting an arrest. “Officer, I’ve got one question for you,” he says before zooming in on the clunky black boots, “WHAT ARE THOSE?!” The clip exploded in popularity, racking up millions of views in the first month before being edited and remixed.
“I’ve been doing ‘what are those?’ forever,” he told Complex in 2015. “It’s something I did as a kid to talk about my friend’s shoes. It was a spur of the moment type of thing with that cop, and, to be honest, I thought he was going to slap me with his night stick [laughs].”
2. Young Busco nearly missed out on his viral fame. “I was at the Berkeley flea market,” he told Complex, “the lady that was getting arrested was Myesha. The policeman was jacking her up for drinking in public. I always have my camera out because I document my life on my snapchat, @youngbusco. But like I was saying, the officer was arresting her and I was just being me. I wasn’t even going to put the video on Instagram, but for some reason I saved the video and posted it, along with three other videos from that day.”
3. He was arrested a month after his video was released. On July 17, 2015, Brandon Moore was busted on a narcotics charge and a probation violation, according to Vice. According to Alameda County records, obtained by the publication, he faced “felony charges for transportation for sale of a controlled substance and for violating the terms of his probation.” He told Vice that the parole violation was a “miscommunication” and that he expected to be released.
“My drug problem made it impossible for me to be an active father in my kids life,” the father of five told Complex. “I struggled for years. My grandma died last year, and that’s when I realized that I needed to make a change. I stopped using drugs and became active with my kids. Now I’m here, spreading happiness and joy by making everyone laugh.”
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The first nigga I see with these on, I’m calling the motha fucking police on you for following the wrong fucking trends. I know who ever raised y’all, taught y’all better then this, buy what you like, not what they program you to think you like. And im not just saying this because im a broke nigga with rich nigga dreams
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4. He HATED that the joke showed up in Black Panther. You know a meme has made it when it’s in one of the biggest movies of all time. There’s one scene in Black Panther when Shuri harasses her brother, T’Challa, about his footwear, asking him “What are those?” While some might love that their work made it into such a monumental film, it just made Busco angry. “When I saw [the scene], my girl was trying to record it” in the theater, he said to HuffPost.
“I slapped the phone out of her hand, because I was like, ‘I don’t want to f*cking be a part of this.’ For real, every time I see that shit, I get depressed,” he added, explaining that because he never legally protected the joke or pursued a copyright or made it known that he was the one behind the joke, that he couldn’t really capitalize on the fame. “I be depressed every time knowing I didn’t full court press on an opportunity that I created.”
5. His last joke was about…shoes. Busco went out on a laugh, posting a screenshot of the Maison Margiela Fusion Sneaker (retail cost $1,645.00) to his Instagram. “The first n**** I see with these on, I’m calling the motha f*cking police on you for following the wrong fucking trends,” he wrote. “I know who ever raised y’all, taught y’all better then this, buy what you like, not what they program you to think you like. And im not just saying this because im a broke n**** with rich n**** dreams.”