Behind the Story: Chance the Rapper and that Kit Kat Jingle

Chance the Rapper stars in a new Kit Kat commercial. Image courtesy Kit Kat.
Chance the Rapper stars in a new Kit Kat commercial. Image courtesy Kit Kat.

Chance has a new song out and it’s not a rap, it’s a jingle. For Kit Kat.

I was curious as to how all this came about, so I talked with Kit Kat officials to learn more. I wrote all about it for Forbes.

“We’re in the process of trying to modernize the Kit Kat brand, not just in terms of what we’re communicating but how we’re communicating,” says Ian Norton, director of marketing for Kit Kat, which is distributed in the U.S. by The Hershey Company. “We were looking for an influencer who was the voice of his generation, but we wanted to stay leveraged and connected to our core Kit Kat fan. He is the positive voice for the generation. He’s a multi talented artist so he was really great to work with.”

Chance had a great week last week, what with the BET Hip Hop Awards win and performing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I love to see A fellow South Sider doing big things.

Then this happened.

Chance the Rapper Shout out to Adrienne Samuels Gibbs

As a writer it’s always cool to get a shout out. Can’t wait for that sit down…

BTW… if you read this far and you love Chicago the way that I do, head over to my other site, Southside Parenting, for a new look at the South Side.

 

On the Rise: Jamila Woods Sings the Heart of Chicago

Chicago is in the midst of a musical explosion and Jamila Woods is definitely one to watch as a new generation rises in the wake of Kanye West and Common. Perhaps Chance the Rapper led the charge, along with friends Vic Mensa and producers such as King Louie, but poet/singers such as Woods are pushing it to the next level.

I talked to Woods about her new release and what it means to deliver her messages of black power merged with memories of the innocence of youth gone by. The story, Jamila Woods: Soul of a Protestor, appeared in Pitchfork. Continue reading “On the Rise: Jamila Woods Sings the Heart of Chicago”

Catching Up with DJ Mustard

Adrienne Samuels Gibbs and DJ Mustard at Double Door.
Adrienne Samuels Gibbs and DJ Mustard at Double Door.

This article first appears on the now defunct voices.suntimes.com and you can also read more about it on my Facebook page here.

“You ratchet!” “Stop acting ratchet!” “That song/video/tv show/church sermon is ratchet!”

The word ratchet has reentered the everyday lexicon and is taking on a meaning decidedly outside of what’s printed in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. In today’s world, ratchet usually is a combination of lewdly, humorously bogus shenanigans. But for DJ Mustard, born Dijon McFarlane, ratchet is music. His music.

Recently signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, and slated to drop an album before summer’s end, the LA-based Mustard swears his next album will showcase his vintage style and feature “the usual” collaborators, including Nipsy Hustle, Ty Dolla $ign and “Jeezy, of course.”

Adds the beats maestro: “Of course it’s going to be ratchet! Who you talking to? Ratchet. For sure.”

Let’s back up a bit. This conversation took place Saturday at the Double Door, where Mustard performed for free as part of the Brisk Iced Tea “Brisk Bodega” concert series in conjunction with Noisey and Chicago’s own hip hop website Fakeshoredrive. Mustard got on stage after WGCI’s DJ Moondawg warmed up the crowd, and local artist Tree performed. (Scroll way down for the Youtube. Note: The Fakeshoredrive video features occasional strong language, so it might not be OK for listening at work. Break out those Beats please.

And just before Moondawg made things way too loud to conduct an interview, I chatted with the West Coast producer about his groundbreaking career and what it’s like to have a hand in some of the hottest club bangers out right now.

As Complex says, Mustard is “running hip hop.” And though he has worked with Wil-I-Am, Miley Cyrus and French Montana, Chicago’s own Jeremih and others, including Wiz Khalifa, his songs are best experienced in a club situation. There, you can experience the beat. Feel it. That said, in a world where hot djs (think: David Guetta) are as popular as rappers, Mustard is winning.

“We are headed that way but in a hip hop way,” says Mustard, referring to his goal to meet or exceed Guetta’s radio domination. “It’s gonna be my own translation though.”

LA Weekly captured Mustard with this gem of a paragraph:

His breakthrough was Tyga’s “Rack City,” a quintessential summer jam with a minimal-funky bassline, snaps, and cold-blooded 808 drums. It detonated stripper poles and satisfied the “menace quotient” for guys who’d prefer death by rockslide to dancing to radio trance-rap. Mustard’s beats bang hard enough for the hood and catchy enough for the Top 40.

Again. Ratchet.

Last fall he signed to Roc Nation, and he actually likes it. (Who wouldn’t?) “It’s like being with the family,” he says. “I need help with anything I call them and they’re there. You know how people have bad tastes with labels? My label is fine.”

He also stopped by Chicago’s uber trendy it-restaurant Girl and the Goat for a dinner with the entourage. They didn’t have a reservation but somehow got in anyway. Maybe it was the Jay-Z connection.

“I had a lot of food I’d never had before,” says Mustard, reflecting upon Stephanie Izard’s award-winning fare. “I was just giving them a try you know? Broaden my horizons. I had something, some flower s**t. It was good though. Squash Blossom. It was actually dope.”

Video below:

— Adrienne Samuels Gibbs