The original version of this cut featured a verse from Free Band Gang member Casino and appeared on DJ Spinz and DJ Pretty Boy Tank's mixtape We Are Radio 6. Future premiered the song on January 25, 2013 and it was sent to urban radio on four days later.
Metro Boomin supplied the beat. The young producer explained in an interview with XXL Magazine how he got his first major label album placement. "I actually made that beat before I moved to Atlanta," he said." I moved here in August, so I probably made that beat in the beginning of August. I never really liked it, but once I moved to Atlanta I just started going to the studio with Future like everyday."
"So one day, I didn't come, and when I showed up the next day he played 'Karate Chop,'" he continued. "And I just didn't like it at all. Then every time people would come in to the studio, he would always play the record and I was like, "Why are you so stuck on this s--t? We have way harder records."
"Anyway," Metro Boomin added, "one day, DJ Spinz, who's a good friend of mine, picked me up from school. And he was telling me about a mixtape him and Tank were dropping. So he tells me, 'Yeah, Future's hosting this one so he gave me a few exclusives and you got one there.' I asked him which one and then he told me 'Karate Chop.' I thought, 'Oh my God. I need to call him so we can swap it out and put something harder on there.' Spinz told me, 'Just watch. This is going to turn you up.' I asked him when he was dropping the tape and he told me two weeks. So I told him to hold off, because I really didn't like the mix on the original beat. That might've been why I was so against it. Along with Future mumblin' on the s--t. So, both of those factors together made me really not like the song."
"So I sent it over to the engineer so he could swap the beats out, he concluded. "Future didn't even know I was doing this. He was completely oblivious to it. But I knew it would be for the better. So when I got the new 'Karate Chop' back, it actually started to grow on me. So, I was excited when it came out."
The first verse was originally the second verse but Future switched them round. Metro Boomin told XXL Magazine: "He had the engineer pull up the project session and told him, 'Swap those two verses.' 'Cause the part where beat kind of drops out and he goes 'Gotta Panamera round a young nigga neck,' that was on the second verse, but he moved that whole part of the beat to the first."
The song was officially remixed featuring a guest appearance from Lil Wayne and was released as the lead single from Honest. The remix was sent to urban and rhythmic radio and released for digital download on February 19, 2013.
The remix garnered controversy because of a crude reference made by Lil Wayne about civil rights martyr Emmett Till. The lyric, "Beat that pu--y up like Emmett Till", drew much criticism and the anger of Till's family. The song was eventually re-released with the line edited out of the verse and Wayne was dropped from his endorsement deal with Mountain Dew because of the offending line.
14-year-old African-American Emmett Till was murdered in Mississippi in the 1950s after he was seen flirting with Carolyn Bryant, a 21-year-old white woman. Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam were acquitted of Till's kidnapping and murder, but months later, protected by double jeopardy, they admitted to killing him in a magazine interview. The pictures of Till's battered body in an open casket at his funeral helped motivate the African-American Civil Rights Movement.