What's the story behind Pusha T's epic 'Spicy Fish Diss' track for Arby's?
“Badda ba ba ba…I’m loving it.”
That iconic jingle for McDonald’s came out nearly 20 years ago. And to this day, it’s one of the most recognizable jingles of all time. In the commercial world, that should equate to striking microtune gold.
But for rapper Pusha T–who has long been outspoken about writing those lyrics for a small one-time fee–it was anything but.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, the rap kingpin shared that in his early years, he and his brother Malice wrote the song for close to a million dollars—with zero royalties. Which, as Pusha puts it, is “pennies'' considering the ad’s shelf life.
Meanwhile, Justin Timberlake, who first recorded the jingle, received $6 million. Was it because Timberlake was a bigger name? Or was a white pop singer better able to sell hamburgers to America than a Black rapper in the eyes of the advertisers? That is a question up for debate, but the payment discrepancy is not.
Either way, Pusha T regretted the decision. He told Rolling Stone, “I did it at a very young age, at a very young time in my career where I wasn’t asking for as much money and ownership. It’s something that’s always dug at me later in life like, ‘Dammit, I was a part of this and I should have more stake.’ I had to get that energy off me.”This is where “Diss the Fish” comes in. And boy … it’s spicier than a Diablo Dare.
Pusha T teamed up with Arby’s to create a part advertisement, part insult missile aimed directly at the Golden Arches. And it’s not only a hilarious roast, it’s also further proof that Pusha is beyond talented as a wordsmith. Especially when it comes to clever comebacks. Let us not forget his famous quarrel with Drake, who also found himself on the receiving end of some savage lyrical blows.
Pusha starts off with a bold proclamation and sly nod (“I’m the reason that the whole world love it”) before calling out the famous Filet-O-Fish sandwich for its, let’s be honest, odd shape. “How dare you sell a square fish, asking us to trust it.” He threw in the words “basic,” "tasteless” and “drown in tartar sauce” to really paint the picture.
And what’s a rap song without making a dig about how little money the other guy has? The video also shows a generic clown running with money bags following the words, “a half slice of cheese. Mickey D’s on a budget?”
Arby’s fish sandwich, on the other hand, “is simply it. With lines around the corner, we might need a guest list.”
Will this be the beginning of a fast food fish feud? Time will tell. But for Pusha, it marks closure.
“I had to get that energy off me, and this [ad] was the perfect way.”
Ba da ba ba ba … he’s over it.
You can watch the full video below. And remember, never buy “a little cube of fish from a clown.”
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