The Roots, Honda Civic and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” hook up to celebrate Earth Day in rhyme. This will certainly not help the Philly Hip-Hop band get rid of that “tree hugger” badge. Am I the only one who remembers a Volkswagen commercial that featured the Roots song “Dynamite!” (produced by Jay Dee/J. Dilla) and an And 1 commercial that featured ?uestlove drumming? How are those not on YouTube? [Spotted at OkayPlayer after #slander from the homie @Timmhotep]
“Been doing it for a long time, tearing up parties, waxing MCs, just anything you can name as far as emceeing.”—The Genius (in 1991)
The Genius promotes his debut Words From the Genius on a public access show called “Rhythm & Soul” with ODB, RZA (aka All In Together) and some cat who probably had warrants and didn’t want to show his face—in tow. What, you didn’t know that Liquid Swords was GZA’s sophomore album? Then you should read my book—The Wu-Tang Clan and RZA: A Trip Through Hip Hop’s 36 Chambers. I know, I know, I didn’t set that price, I swear. GZA/Genius’ “Come Do Me” video below (Red Alert is the bartender), directed by Ralph McDaniels and Lionel “THe Vid Kid” Hampton. [Propers to Nah Right via J-Zone/Ego Trip]
The Sprite commercials that incorporated respected Hip-Hop acts like a Tribe Called Quest and the under-appreciated Grand Puba starting back in ’94 were so official. Instead of shucking and jiving—sorry Hammer—the artists selected to obey their thirst and hawk Sprite kept to their core musical aesthetics. Catching a corporate check without having to (totally) sell out…can’t be mad at that. However, it’s a safe bet the participating MCs got paid peanuts when compared to how much Sprite, and in turn Coca-Cola, made off of Hip-Hop’s influence and cultural cachet.
I was looking specifically for ATCQ’s commercial about a year or so back and had no luck, until today. Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s clip, and a few others (Puba’s freestyle >), below. Never was too keen on the “battle” (i.e. MC Shan vs. KRS-One) commercial, though. I was reminded about these ads again while reading the incredible book The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop by Dan Charnas. It will be required reading in all Hip-Hop classes one day.
Also, Nas, stop playing and make an album with AZ already.
Pete Rock & CL Smooth
Large Professor & Grand Puba
MC Shan vs. KRS-One… RIP Mr. Magic