In a month, the world has gone from having virtually no idea where the infectious “I’m Lovin’ It” McDonald’s jingle came from to now having people arguing about who should get credit for it—and not in a “don’t blame me for that” way, either. Last month, former record executive Steve Stoute revealed that rapper Pusha T wrote the song, an assertion that Pusha T himself didn’t really confirm or deny at the time. According to a big “I’m Lovin’ It” report from Pitchfork, though, the real story behind the jingle is actually pretty complicated.
Basically, back in 2003, McDonald’s reached out to a bunch of different advertising companies around the world and had them pitch new campaigns. The winning one—originally “I Love It”—was from a firm in Germany, which also came up with the “ba da ba ba ba” tune that became the core of the jingle with help from a company called Mona Davis Music. From there, McDonald’s spent a ton of money pushing the newly dubbed “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign, eventually sneaking it into an actual Justin Timberlake song to start subtly building some fast food hype.
Once it made the jump to commercials, the song indeed featured vocals from Pusha T. However, Mona Davis Music says that he “was never involved in the creation of the McDonald’s jingle.” A “veteran musician” named Danny Saber who worked with McDonald’s on recording the jingle also says that Mona Davis created it, adding that “for people to come crawling out of the woodwork and trying to claim it, it’s just fucking ridiculous. It’s bullshit.”
As for Pusha T, Pitchfork says his manager wouldn’t give any more information about it, and a representative for Steve Stoute says that he doesn’t want to talk about the jingle anymore. So that seems to be the way it is, at least until somebody else (Justin Timberlake? Some random German guy?) steps forward to try and take credit.