Even if most Americans don’t pay too close of attention to the annual BRIT Awards, they’re a pretty big deal in the rest of the world. So much so, that brands are launching big commercials and artists are putting on special performances, like Liam Gallagher honoring the victims of the Manchester bombings.
But back to those commercials for a second, if you watch the above clip from a Mountain Dew ad that ran during the show, you may notice a familiar sounding riff — Scottish producer Hudson Mohawke definitely did. Though it’s just a snippet, the maximalist horns and clattering beat are immediately recognizable as a bit more than just reminiscent of Mohawke’s work with Canadian producer Lunice in the duo TNGHT.
The duo was so popular that Kanye West lifted one of their songs wholesale and incorporated it directly into the song “Blood On The Leaves” on his masterful 2013 record Yeezus, so Mountain Dew can’t really claim ignorance here. The riff in the commercial sounds pretty close to the TNGHT song Kanye sampled, “R U Ready.”
The spot was an advertisement for Mountain Dew’s new Ice Lemon Lime flavor, essentially their answer to Sprite or 7up. After posting a video of the clip to Twitter Mohawke captioned it “Pay ur boys @MountainDew” and also confirmed to Uproxx that TNGHT had nothing to do with the music used in the commercial.
The pair officially released one EP together as TNGHT in 2012 but have been on indefinite hiatus since 2013, though both have been releasing solo music on their own. Listen to “R U Ready” below for reference. We’ve reached out to Mountain Dew for comment on the music used in the ad.
This obviously isn’t the first time a brand has tried to remake or cut an original artist out of the loop for a big commercial spot. For instance, back in 2012 Volkswagen infamously recreated a Beach House song to use in a car ad after the Baltimore-based duo denied the ad agency in question the rights to “Take Care.”
If Mountain Dew wants to use the immediately recognizable, compelling sound created by TNGHT to sell their new lemon-lime soda, they should first, ask, and second, take Mohawke’s words to heart and pay the creators. We will update the story if Mountain Dew gives comment.