Back in the day, Sprite was among the first nationwide brands to really embrace hip-hop. I’m not talking about a “rap” jingle, as so many other brands tried (we’re still trying to get rid of that corny “My name is ____ and I’m here to say…” rhyme to this day). Instead, Sprite really recruited pivotal figures from the hip-hop community like Nas and AZ, Pete Rock, and Five Deadly Venoms to make awesome commercials like the Voltron spots with Common, Fat Joe, and Westside Connection (my good buddy Dan Charnas writes about it in his book, The Big Payback).
Those ads kicked off a legacy of connection with hip-hop for the brand that continues today, as hip-hop celebrates its 50th anniversary. As part of the ongoing Hip-Hop 50 celebrations, Sprite paid homage to its own history with the culture by creating a new TV spot with Nas and Rakim and updating the premise with contemporary stars GloRilla and Latto. The commercial has all four rappers quoting “Rapper’s Delight,” the first official rap hit, while performing snippets of their own signature hits. Check it out:
The ad is a nice, throwback nod to the original Sprite rapper commercials of the early ’90s, which featured rappers like Kriss Kross, Kid N’ Play, KRS-One, Missy Elliott, and more, often performing original songs or their own hits to showcase the promotional power of hip-hop. This one’s still the best, though: