It's 2003, maybe 2002. As an enterprising Redditer pointed out, longtime hip-hop exec Steve Stoute had recently launched his own ad agency, Translation (as in translating hip-hop culture for mainstream America) and one of his first major clients is McDonald's. The global burger giant wants to update its image, get younger, fresher, and Stoute's tasked with introducing a new jingle to the world.
Stoute brings in Justin Timberlake, who at the time was at Peak Justin Timberlake, to sing the jingle, and given that the Neptunes had just produced half of JT's solo debut album and their bright sonic style, Pharrell's the obvious choice to produce. Stay with me now.
So, it's 2003 and Pharrell Williams is working on a song. He needs a songwriter. Who's grindin right by his side at that time who could put pen to paper? That's right, King motherfucking Push wrote one of the most memorable commercial jingles of all-time.
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Forget anonymous drug dealers, writing a commercial jingle that goes on to run for over a decade is how you really end up with millions in the ceiling.
I feel safe assuming that, like the Hot 97 crew, your mind was blown by this information. Mine too. But after a very serious and intensive journalistic investigation (aka scrolling through YouTube) I learned that this is far from breaking news. The original 2003 ad also featured an extended, minute long version of the song complete with en fuego verses from Pusha, whose voice at the time would have been essentially unrecognizable to most of America. The vast majority of people who ever even saw the full spot must have just written him off as "some random rapper."
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A young Pusha spitting bars about the power of a Big Mac to relieve the stress of a hard day at work is a real thing that really happened in real life. In retrospect, we always should have known though. What better way to ensure your four-year-old niece is familiar with the feeling of Chinchilla than some good ol' fashioned commercial writing?