If you happen to frequent the Internet and consider yourself relatively informed on rap-related videos, there's a good chance that you witnessed rapper and Ft. Lauderdale native Hi-Rez lay waste to a Times Square McDonalds while ordering "like a boss," confounding the employee behind the counter and temporarily shutting down the staff by delivering his order at a rapid-fire pace.
Equally impressive as it is funny, the video went viral, racking up over 110 million combined views on YouTube and Facebook, scoring cosigns from Lil Wayne, Waka Flocka, Shaq and more while also getting picked up by ABC News, People and other outlets. It was a great moment for Hi-Rez and for indie hip-hop, proving once again that a skilled and entertaining rapper can reach the ears of the world, even without a huge corporation backing them.
Then, of course, a huge corporation swooped in, stole the idea and ruined it.
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McDonalds, obviously noticing the buzz and positive feedback that the video was generating, stepped in to capitalize. When I first saw the video, before I even pressed play, I felt happy for Hi-Rez, it was the perfect ending to his unlikely story. How amazing is it that a freestyle in a restaurant turned into McDonalds using Hi-Rez' video in a real commercial? Or maybe they had Hi-Rez recreate his raps for a brand new commercial? I couldn't wait to watch...
Uh, what was that? Let me get this straight, two months after the original video was released and over 100 million people watched it, they just completely jacked the idea for one of their commercials in some sort of half-assed ripoff without involving the original creators at all? People have been singing and rapping fast food orders and uploading them to YouTube for years, the concept wasn't brand new, but this is obviously taken from Hi-Rez' version, and they even STOLE THE TITLE!?!? I'm disgusted to the point where I feel like I actually ate some McDonalds.
Then again, I don't know if I'm more angry with the stolen theme and title or with the utter awfulness of the video itself. Good lord that was wack. "Yo your summer drink line-up looks pretty tasty, I just don't know which one I want you to make me?" Does McDonalds expect to win over "hip millenials" with those struggle bars? If I wanted something half-baked, I would order an Apple Pie.
At the end of the day, McDonalds took something that was cool and fun and had some of the spirit of hip-hop in it and turned it into something weak, cold and forced, which makes considering they basically just tried to cram new people into a situation that had already happened. Of course this is nothing new, companies have been only too happy to use hip-hop for profit without cutting in the actual hip-hop artists for decades. The thirst is real for these corporations, and no amount of morals, ethics or frozen strawberry lemonade is going to quench it.