A self-styled “musical super villain” complete with demonic iron mask and a deep horror film stalker rasp for a voice, rapper MF Doom is maybe the last person you’d expect to see milling about your local branch of high street chain Clarks, probably best known on these shores as the go-to retailer for kids’ school shoes. Which is why hip-hop heads were caught off guard last week when, while waiting for the emcee to release his highly anticipated collaborative album with rising NYC star Bishop Nehru, they were met with news of a very different collaboration entirely – a pair of Clarks shoes designed by Doom, coming soon to a store near you. Of course, it’s not the first time a rapper has raised eyebrows by lending their name to an unlikely brand…
Nelly – Honey Nut Cheerios
In the hardened world of hip-hop, japing around with a massive talking CGI bumblebee in an advert for a cereal hardly screams “credibility” but hey, why not, Nelly presumably reasoned last year before starring in this campaign for kids cereal Honey Nut Cheerios. Its tagline, “must be the honey”, riffed on Nelly’s ‘Ride Wit Me’ hook, “must be the money”. Similar cereal-rapper tie-ins are presumably in the works with Biggie (“mo’ muesli, no problems!”), Wu-Tang (“Cap’n Crunch ain’t nuttin’ to fuck wit!”) and Kanye (a special Weetabox-themed spin-off album, ‘Weezus’).
Warren G – Affirm Erection Pills
‘Regulate’ rapper Warren G suffered a hard time after starring in an advert for erectile dysfunction medication Affirm XL. “A lot of people have that problem but I don’t have it,” he was forced to tell American news network TMZ, setting the record straight after fans swamped him with messages asking if he himself used the pills. “The commercials are funny and I meant for it to be funny. This is not something that dictates who I am.” Talk about a cock-up.
P Diddy – Proactive skincare cream
“I use Proactive,” said Diddy in a 2006 ad for skincare cream Proactive, because it helps “moisturise my situation and preserve my sexy.” Just six months later, the star announced a $1.5m lawsuit against the company, after using the cream and finding it, in fact, completely failed to ‘preserve his sexy’. “I look foolish on an infomercial promoting a product for skin care and my skin still has bumps on it,” he explained in a statement. So distraught at the lack of sexy preservation, Diddy later appeared drunk shouting into this camera phone:
Snoop Dogg – Hot Pockets
Snoop takes US model Kate Upton on a magic ride through the sunny, cartoon world of Hot Pockets, a microwave snack that’s a notorious favourite among male twenty-something stoners, in this mind-bending comedic clip. No prizes for guessing what demographic the snack’s manufacturers are going after here, then.
Method Man – Sour Patch Kids sweets
Wu-Tang clansman Method Man established himself as the rap world’s Willy Wonka by not only starring in an advert for enamel-wrecking confectionary Sour Patch Kids but writing a song for it in June 2012. “Coming back out of the cracks of sofas and fanny packs, this ain’t a candy rap, this is where the candy attacks,” he raps. Not exactly ‘Protect Ya Neck’, but in father-of-three Method Man’s defence, he’s said to have done it for his kids. Quite sweet. Literally.