I could make a long-winded argument about how there are quite a few comparisons to be made between rappers and the intricate characteristics of certain fast food restaurants, but I’m sure you’re either in or out on this article, so let’s not belabor the absurdity of my insecure justifications for stumbling down this rabbit hole.
The fact of the matter is, yes, for every major fast food chain there is a compatible rap artist that, despite all logic and higher purpose, can be paired alongside.
So, without further ado…
Chick-fil-A = Drake
As I established in a prior article about his massive catalog, Drake has always been the Chick-fil-A of hip-hop. Never quite the best, but always consistently good to great, Drake provides a very enclosed catalog of music that never ventures too far into experimentation in the same way that Chick-fil-A really only offers its customers four different selections without ever running the risk of whiffing on a risky menu item.
Maybe they aren’t the most inventive, or even the best around, but damn if the experience isn’t consistently enjoyable almost every single time.
Arby's = Migos
Arby’s is delicious, and yet its greatest strength as a fast food giant is also its Achilles heel: too much food. The Arby’s menu is a vast ocean of meat and cheese cemented onto every type of bread known to man. As well, Arby’s always loves giving you as much food as possible for the best deal. Remember the “5 for $5”? How 'bout spicing up that smokehouse brisket sandwich topped with onion rings and cheese and fries with an order of Oreo Bites? The thought of such wonder might make any man’s soul start shadowboxing in the pits of their stomach, yet you always leave Arby’s completely exhausted from food.
This is Migos' brand in a nutshell. Despite satiating singles and endless amounts of music from both the group and each of its members, it’s almost impossible at this point to not get Migos exhaustion after only a few visits to their Spotify page. The constant stream of new music can be enticing, but Migos will always need to have the best deal to keep you from noticing how tired you’re starting to get.
McDonald’s = Lil Wayne
Once at the top of their respective fields, McDonald’s and Weezy are now industry giants who no longer seem as innovative or pleasing as their contemporaries. While it’s hard to undermine McDonald’s' continued success as a brand, people continue to eat their food for the same reason we trick ourselves into listening to Wayne’s post-Carter III music: we remember the glory days and think, "THIS IS GONNA BE GREAT," before the inevitable letdown (and stomach pains).
And yes, Rebirth is the McRib of rap albums.
Burger King = Big Sean
Eating at Burger King, much like listening to Big Sean, feels like some twisted form of Stockholm Syndrome. No matter how many times you have an underwhelming experience, and despite all other logic, reasoning, or advice from loved ones to steer you away from shitty Whoppers or average-at-best rap albums, you tell yourself that this time will be different. Yet, with each and every visit, your mind wanders to all the other, better choices you could have made instead.
Wendy’s = Nas
Wendy’s is almost, ALMOST, the greatest fast food restaurant of all time, except for one glaring hole: the fries. Years ago, after Dave was finally out of the picture, they decided to change their perfectly crafted, horrible for your body fries into “natural-cut fries” because, well, why not fuck up a good thing, right? So where exactly does Nas fall into this analogy? His ear for beats is Wendy’s fries.
Despite all the immaculate accolades Nas has earned with a microphone, his ear for beats ranges from boring to “are these even instruments?” far too often. For every spectacularly produced piece of music like “Made You Look” or “Thief’s Theme,” there's a record that sounds like Nas specifically picked a producer who was trying to impress 2004 Cassidy. The back half of Nas’ career will always be plagued with tracks like “Blunt Ashes” (produced by notable NBA player and non-notable music producer Chris Webber) and “We're Not Alone,” while Wendy’s will always do battle with its competitors who never took their eye off the ball on fast food’s most important sidekick.
Also, does this make Salaam Remi the Dave from Wendy’s in this analogy?
Subway = J. Cole
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that Subway was healthy. Or maybe it was allowing Cole World: A Sideline Story to exist. Either way, J. Cole has always been the Subway of hip-hop, claiming the freshest ingredients and producing circular, pre-packaged meat slices in the form of songs like “No Role Modelz” and “Can’t Get Enough.”
Like Subway, Cole started out as a truly healthy option. Listening to him never feels too costly or filling, and the experience is always just right in terms of consumption. Yet, like Subway, if you stick with J. Cole’s music for too long, you start to notice the blandness of the surroundings you once tried to block from your mind.
A tasty sandwich and a consistently fine experience can’t always hide the fact that all the bread tastes the same and the guy behind the counter isn’t washing his hands as well as you’d hope he would.
Little Caesar’s = 21 Savage
No one walks into a Little Caesar’s, buys an entire pizza for $5, and expects a fine dining experience that accentuates the wonders of Italian cuisine. You know what you’re getting at Little Caesar’s.
Similarly, no one plays 21 Savage’s music expecting wondrous lyricism or mind-melting concepts to suddenly spring to life on wax. We show up to hear 21 rap because we know the experience we are in store for, no matter how low the stakes may be, and we are rarely disappointed in the return.
Is there any proof that Hot-N-Ready rap songs are good for the soul? Absolutely not, but they’ll do just fine.
Chipotle = Logic
Eating at Chipotle is a pleasant experience. The atmosphere is warm, the staff is usually efficient and friendly, and you feel like a health-conscious person with the words “Mexican grill” written on your brown paper bag of food. Everything about Chipotle is about creating a positive experience for the customer—which is exactly why you should be suspicious.
I've never met him in person, but Logic seems like a nice guy, with nice fans and nice music. But like the complete Chipotle experience, Logic often piles on every musical topping and condiment, all while maintaining an annoyingly rosy attitude just to distract you from the fact that rats could fall from the ceilings at any moment.
You may walk away from Logic’s music with a satisfying meal. You also could get salmonella.
Starbucks = Macklemore
From the overzealous, but casually assholish cashier to the insane menu slang and ordering procedure, to the unsettling feeling that every Starbucks is trying to hide how white it feels to be inside one, how could Starbucks not be Macklemore?
Like Starbucks, everything about Macklemore is innately imperfect, yet he tries so hard to cover up his biggest frailties. His wokeness and creativity are well-intentioned, but they usually evoke the same “what the fuck is going on here?” reaction that seeing a Chicken Sausage & Bacon Biscuit on the Starbucks menu would. In fact, the experience becomes so over-the-top, that you always end up leaving with a Venti Chilled Blonde Roast, Double Caf Espresso when all you really wanted was a fucking simple cup of coffee.
For good measure, both are based in Seattle, Washington. What convenience!
Taco Bell = Kanye West
Everyone in the world—literally and statistically everyone—loves to pretend to hate Taco Bell. It’s easy to make fun of the idea of eating horse meat, or how every Taco Bell burrito product is essentially one continuous experiment to see how many layers can fit in a tortilla before it explodes. There is not another chain, however, that becomes your best friend in your most emotional state of mind, whether inebriated or fresh off a breakup, then Taco Bell at 2 a.m.
Like Taco Bell, Kanye West is an experimental genius, frequently changing the landscape of his industry and always pushing the envelope. Like Kanye, the conversation about Taco Bell’s relevance is almost as interesting as its product, with a full spectrum of feelings from “Taco Bell is the GOAT” to “Fuck Taco Bell” always stirring the pot.
Hating Kanye and Taco Bell may feel pretty good inside. You know feels even better though? Appreciating their brilliance.
Jack In The Box = Young Thug
Anyone who visits Jack In The Box often enough will start to wonder if what they see on the menu is complete genius, atrocious on every level, or some wonderful concoction in the middle. As well, anyone who understands that philosophical dilemma knows what it’s like to listen to Young Thug.
In much the same way Jack In The Box has always been willing to push the boundaries of what we could reasonably consider “food,” Young Thug demolishes previously known boundaries of traditional song structures, cadence, and voice inflections in hip-hop.
Jack In The Box prides itself on fast food anarchy, with creations like the “Sriracha Curly Fry Burger Munchie Meal” and the “Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges,” encapsulating the same freeform attitude that makes Thug’s music hypnotic. Some artists paint with carefully calculated brushstrokes. Jack In The Box and Young Thug know that if you just throw a bucket of paint at the canvas, beautiful art can still be created.
Cici’s = Post Malone
Walking into Cici’s, just like listening to Post Malone, feels like stepping inside a Jeff Foxworthy “you might be a redneck” joke. The plates and cups at Cici’s are eerily similar to pre-school lunchware, the pizza looks like someone tried to clone a classier looking pizza and failed, and you genuinely worry about the well-being of everyone working there. You know what, though? Cheap pizza is still pizza, and trading in feeling like a good person in order to eat said pizza is a worthy exchange.
Similarly, at times, Post Malone feels like a cheap musician, whose style leaves you with a discomforting sense of dirtiness, both artistically and creatively. However, cheap music can still hit all the right spots when we allow ourselves to consume as much as we need to feel full. Post isn’t reinventing pizza, metaphorically speaking, but sometimes quantity can be quite the adversary to quality when given the chance.
Sonic = Lupe Fiasco
Sonic should be the best. There’s an argument to be made it has the highest quality food. Shit, it might even have the best menu and service. So why does every visit to Sonic feel like a chore?
Listening to Lupe Fiasco’s music is like going to Sonic—no matter how good it might be, consumption takes way too much effort. Listening to a Lupe metaphor is as long-winded and complex as staring at a double-sided menu (you can’t even see the other damn side from your car) parked in a Sonic “drive-thru” spot while waiting 45 minutes for someone inside to notice you pressed the stupid red button to order.
Also, Lasers is definitely an album only enjoyed by people who roller skate to other people’s cars with food and a money changer on the hip.
Whatabuger = Kendrick Lamar
Whataburger isn’t in every state, but it is objectively the best fast food restaurant of all-time. Not only is it one of the only freshly-cooked fast food joints, but it captures every core element to what makes fast food actually great. Its burgers are savory and inventive, its breakfast food is supremely underrated, its service is often impeccable and, most of all, it’s available all 24 hours of the day. No matter what restaurant you place against it, Whataburger wins in every crucial category.
Like Whataburger, you can stack Kendrick Lamar’s resume up against anyone currently active in hip-hop, and you're almost guaranteed to win the argument. Kendrick is iconic, envelope-pushing, lyrical, and consistently great more than anyone in his field.
You can spend your time trying to poke holes in Kendrick or Whataburger, but you’ll end up looking like the fool who was too stubborn to enjoy the wonders in front of you.
Long John Silver’s = 6ix9ine
Fuck Long John Silver’s.