He got paid “peanuts, for as long as it’s been running.”
Did you know that rapper Pusha T originally wrote McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle back in 2003?
It’s true! Pusha T and his brother Malice (who raps under the name No Malice) were the writers behind McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle, as were Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake. The jingle has been the longest-running ad campaign in the company’s 80+ year history.
Now, Pusha is calling out the fast food chain for taking advantage by severely underpaying him for the iconic jingle — and has written a “Spicy Fish Diss” track for Arby’s aimed at McDonald’s.
“I am solely responsible for the ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ swag and the jingle of that company,” he said to Rolling Stone. “That’s just real. I am the reason. Now, I gotta crush it.”
Pusha explained that he wrote the “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle “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.’ It was like half a million or a million dollars for me and my brother — but that’s peanuts for as long as that’s been running. I had to get that energy off me, and this [ad] was the perfect way to get that energy, like, ‘You know what? I’m over it.'”
For a little more context, in 2016, music industry vet Steve Stoute came out and said Pusha T and Malice were the writers behind the “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle, which was originally a longer song by Justin Timberlake. McDonald’s paid Justin $6 million to record the song for them. And it sounds like Pusha was paid just a fraction of that at the time.
These days, Pusha is demanding a lot more for his work. “Doing those types of songs, I usually require a high percentage of ownership. I do that because that style of music is very conductive to sales. And regardless of what part they take of the song — whether it’s my voice or not — I own what I own.”