It may not be the first rap song (or any song, for the matter) to explicitly use KFC in its lyrics, but it has to be one of them. The ninth track on Run DMC’s legendary 1986 album Raising Hell is “You Be Illin,'” and it starts with an anecdote:
(One) day when I was chillin’ in Kentucky Fried Chicken
Just mindin’ my business, eatin’ food and finger lickin’
This dude walked in lookin’ strange and kind of funny
Went up to the front with a menu and his money
He didn’t walk straight, kind of side to side
He asked this old lady, “Yo, yo, um . . . is this Kentucky Fried?”
The lady said “Yeah,” smiled, and he smiled back
He gave a quarter and his order, small fries, Big Mac!
You be illin’
Classic. Now fast-forward to 2005, and the third track on Kanye West’s Late Registration “Touch The Sky” features the line, “Before anybody wanted K. West beats/Me and my girl split the buffet at KFC.” More recently, Kendrick Lamar name-checked the brand on “Duckworth” off his 2017 album Damn.
It turns out there are many more references to the Colonel’s chicken and brand in rap songs, so KFC in France decided to use some of that built-up cultural cachet for a new campaign that revolves around a new Spotify playlist called . . . “Bucket Bangers.”
Created by agency Sid Lee, the playlist is being promoted through Spotify banners and ads across Paris.
As brands big and small desperately try to become a part of pop culture, this is the rare example of a brand collecting the culture’s own reflection of the brand.
Our verdict: chillin’, not illin’.