Is getting busy in a Burger King bathroom a positive or negative shout-out? Read on.
Over the weekend I was at a party and got to hear a wonderful song about a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. The song is actually called Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Really. And it goes “I’m at the Pizza Hut. I’m at the Taco Bell. I’m at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.”
Putting aside the catchiness of the song — and it’s catchy — I was instantly enamored of the fact that these people decided that something as niche as those combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bells was worthy of a musical tribute.
Unable to get the song out of my head, I decided to put together a list of various other songs that have shouted out different fast food restaurants. There are dozens, so I picked 11 (well, sort of 11, wait until you get to the Dairy Queen one) of those. And I ranked them based on the positivity of the shout-out… starting with songs that revere the fast food of which they speak, going all the way down to the songs that paint the restaurants as negatively as possible.
1 | The Village People – Big Mac
Nothing’s better than a Big Mac!
If you get nothing else out of this list, please learn about the existence of this Village People song, where they passionately extol the virtues of the Big Mac, and its superiority to all other foods in the world. Sure, like all the Village People songs, it’s probably some veiled message about gay sex… but taking it at face value, McDonald’s couldn’t get a better — and catchier — advertisement than this.
2 | Sir Mix-A-Lot – Buttermilk Biscuits
Use buttermilk biscuits to clean your plate
You eat ’em in the morn’, you eat ’em at night.
Kentucky Fried Chicken makes the suckers just right.
I am eat ’em with jelly, it’s my favorite deally,
Wrapped and sealed by a freak named Shelley.
Sir Mix-A-Lot shouts out fast food in almost every one of his songs — apparently his robustness isn’t glandular — but never with more adulation than during Buttermilk Biscuits. KFC gets mentioned in several songs by several artists (in lieu of pushing forward a stereotype, I won’t specifically say which genre shouts them out the most), but I couldn’t find any other case where one of their menu items was actually the eponymous inspiration for one.
3 | Ice Cube – It Was A Good Day
No helicopter looking for a murder,
Two in the morning got a Fatburger.
Hardcore readers will remember my list of 11 Ways Ice Cube and I Differ On Assessing What Constitutes A Good Day. In that list I went on a mini rant about Fatburger and how I don’t really like it, especially when compared to southern California’s other dominant burger chain, In-N-Out. That being said — this lyric is what drove me to a Fatburger back when I moved to L.A. (Well, that lyric and my forest green Saturn.) And I’m sure it’s done the same for others. That’s some quality product placement.
4 | Tons and tons of country singers – Dairy Queen
As I was researching this, I started searching for Dairy Queen shout-outs in lyrics. Ah! There’s a mention in She’s Still There by Trace Adkins. Done. But wait. It’s mentioned in Her by Chely Wright. And She Likes It Too and 1976 by Alan Jackson. And Where Has My Hometown Gone? by Craig Morgan. And If Love Was a Plane by Brad Paisley. And Down Home by Alabama. And Last of a Dying Breed by Neal McCoy. And No Reason to Change by Randy Travis. And on. And on. And on.
It’s almost as if someone realized that Dairy Queen is a nice, evocative symbol of Americana… like tire swings and swimmin’ holes and fireworks on the Fourth of Juuu-ly. Not to be cynical about an entire genre of music — I’m sure every one of these singers did have some magical memory at their local DQ, lord knows I have — but when we’re being sold something, we’re being sold something.
5 | Digital Underground – The Humpty Dance
I’m a freak.
I like the girls with the boom.
I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.
No, it probably doesn’t fit the Burger King brand to have people getting busy in their bathrooms. But on the flip side, the mere fact that any woman would have sex in one is a pretty solid testimonial for the corporate cleanliness standards. How many fast food bathrooms have you been in, lifetime, that seem like good places to have sex? I’d set the over-under at 1.5.
6 | Beastie Boys – Girls
I like the way that they walk.
And it’s chill to hear them talk.
And I can always make them smile.
From White Castle to the Nile.
Leans ever so slightly to the positive because, at least, they’re saying you can meet girls at White Castle. No one’s ever said that about Arby’s.
7 | DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince – Parents Just Don’t Understand
I said, ‘C’mon toots – my name is the Prince.
Beside, would a lunatic have a Porsche like this?’
She agreed and we were on our way,
She was looking very good and so was I, I must say.
We hit McDonald’s, pulled into the drive,
We ordered two Big Macs and two large fries with Cokes.
So the most harmless rapper in history steals his mom’s Porsche and takes it to the McDonald’s drive-thru. While I’m sure McDonald’s higher-ups wouldn’t want to be associated with the grand theft auto (except for maybe the Hamburgler), it does add a certain amount of faux-rebellious bougie street cred to their food. Still, falls more to the negative than positive.
8 | Fergie – Glamorous
I still go to Taco Bell, drive through, Ross, hell–
I don’t care, I’m still real,
No matter how many records I sell.
She’s using Taco Bell as an example of her old “real” life. Even though everyone knows that her career went Kids, Incorporated -> Meth -> Black Eyed Peas. This, of course, gives me the opportunity to feature one of the most surreal videos in the history of YouTube, a young Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson singing Lionel Richie’s Say You Say Me to an ultra-creepy clown. I CANNOT OVERSTATE HOW MUCH YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS VIDEO.
9 | B.O.B. – Airplanes
Before this was a job, before I got paid,
Before it ever mattered what I had in my bank.
Yeah back when I was tryin’ to get a tip at Subway.
Not only is he using Subway as a symbol for his unsuccessful pre-stardom life… but he’s also drawing light to the fact that Subways don’t even HAVE tip jars out for the staff. I guess sandwich artists don’t deserve the same gratuities as the curbside address painting artists.
10 | Eminem – The Real Slim Shady
And every single person is a Slim Shady lurkin’.
He could be working at Burger King,
Spitting on your onion rings.
The problem is, a fair portion of the people who work at Burger King ARE like Eminem. (Same attitude, infinitely less success, slightly more homemade tattoos). And there IS always a concern that they’re spitting in the food. And this lyric just reminds you of that. Bad news. When the Burger King higher-ups (like The King and Wheels) hear this, I’m sure they long for the days when Shock G was putting on a fake nose and getting busy by their urinals.
11 | Goodie Mob and TLC – What It Ain’t
You know you ghetto when you don’t show up at court,
For not paying your child support.
Are you too bossier for me?
You act like you too good to eat at Church’s, Popeye’s and Arby’s.
As I am to understand it, this song is a battle between the guys of Goodie Mob and the ladies of TLC (during the Left Eye era)… where the guys are trying to prove they’re ghetto enough for the ladies, and the ladies are insisting that the guys are not, in fact, ghetto enough for them.
Thus, in this verse, Big Gipp attempt to prove that he remains ghetto while Left Eye has gone high class — because he’s still willing to eat at Church’s, Popeye’s and Arby’s (and also to avoid showing up at court to pay his child support). Putting aside the incredible amount of stereotypes they’ve gleefully jammed into only a couple of sentences — you’ve got to think the three restaurants in question just can’t like anything about this association.
Well, except maybe Church’s, who would be honored just to be included in a song. That puts them one full shout-out ahead of Quizno’s, Chick-Fil-A and Au Bon Pain.