Earlier this year, the group released two new songs that are included in the tracklist for What the… In May, they posted the song "Down in the Dirt" as a free download in exchange for an email address list signup. Shortly after that, Black Flag posted another new song, "The Chase," as a video.
Guitarist Greg Ginn, who cofounded Black Flag in 1976, announced the return of the group in January. Its lineup includes vocalist Ron Reyes, who sang on the band's 1980 EP Jealous Again, as well as two new members, bassist Dave Klein and drummer Gregory Moore (who played drums at a Black Flag reunion show in 2003). In April, the group announced they would be releasing a new album and their manager told Rolling Stone at the time, "[Ginn] doesn't want it to be about a reunion, or just some sort of greatest-hits act. It's not Beatlemania, you know; for him, it's about the music. So there has to be new music for him to even consider playing the old music."
Around the same time Ginn announced the band's return, a group of ex–Black Flag members calling themselves simply Flag began touring, playing songs from the band's catalog. In August, the guitarist filed a lawsuit against that band's members and former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins over alleged trademark infringement and related issues. A U.S. District Court judge ruled in early October that he would not provide Ginn with a temporary injunction against his former bandmates due to a lack of evidence.
Black Flag will tour Puerto Rico and Australia shortly after What The… comes out.