“The What” features Wu-Tang Clan standout Method Man as he was the only other rapper to appear on Ready To Die. In a retrospective published by XXL, Meth revealed the early tensions between Biggie and some Wu members as well as how he was only paid $2500 for his verse. Producer Easy Mo Bee talked about how the song got its simple title:

With ‘The What,’ the song was done and everything, and Big, Puff and me was standing there. And I remember Puff in particular was like, ‘Yo, what we gonna call this shit?’ And I told him, ‘Yo, I nickname all my beats on the disc that I saved them to, so I know what each disc is.’ So for whatever reason, I wrote on this disc, ‘The What.’ Puff was like, ‘Yo, that shit is cool.’