Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hip Hop Happy Meal

It’s been right there in front of us all along, an unlikely partnership having gone undetected for nearly 30 years.  Fast food restaurants and the musical world of hip hop are in cahoots!!  Think about it...

Back in the early 1980’s if you ordered a large sized soft drink and fries with your meal, it was not uncommon that you would not be able to finish it all, for it was just too much food for most.  By comparison with today’s fast food restaurant sizing options however, what was once considered “large” back in the 80’s, is now considered the “small” by today’s standards.  Through the years, portion sizes have increased at the same rate as the waistlines of their customers.

One of the most famous hip hop acts of the 1980’s was Run DMC, and one of the items that they were most well known for was their sneakers.  Wearing their white Adidas running shoes, their music defined a generation, and in doing so, set in motion a chain of events unbeknownst to the general public.  While at the time, Adidas was known primarily as an athletic footwear manufacturer, Run DMC did something that unquestionably did nothing to improve the athletic performance of the sneaker… they removed the laces.  From that day forward, athletic footwear was no longer just for those looking to exercise.  Hip hop fashion was born.   

In pre-1980’s times, people ate fast food, they gained weight, and their clothes started feeling tighter, so they stop eating fast food in an effort to lose the weight they had gained.  This cycle was not so good for the fast food business, and did absolutely nothing to support the emerging hip hop industry.  So they teamed up, and seized an opportunity to ensure their mutual benefit.  The Fat Boys rap group were introduced, and foreshadowing the years to come, they planted the seed for the empowering “I’m comfortable with how I look” mindset.  Then, building upon Run DMC’s simple removal of the laces from athletic sneakers as a starting point, the hip hop “look” began to take shape.  Over the years this look evolved into loose fitting sneakers, baggy sweatshirts, oversized professional sporting attire, and ill-fitting pants.  This fashion statement, however sloppy it may seem to some, served an important purpose in the underlying symbiotic relationship of the two industries.

Now that oversized clothing has become the norm, the hip hop industry is thriving as teenagers attempt to dress like and promote their favourite artists.  Similarly, now that oversized clothing has become the norm, fast food restaurant customers no longer feel the tightening of their clothes as they gain weight, leading them to feel as though everything is still fine, with no need to stop and look for healthier options.  Accordingly, portion sizes, and profits, continue to be up-sized.  It is an overwhelming win for both the fast food and hip hop industries.  Now every meal is a happy meal for those profiting.  

Big Mac, Daddy Mac, McRap, gold chains, golden arches, caboose, baby got back!  Congratulations McDonalds… or should I say… MC Donald.  Busted.  

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