It’s 3 p.m.! Let The A.V. Club briefly make use of the waning hours of your productivity with some pop culture ephemera pulled from the depths of YouTube.
It’s hard to convey how preposterous St. Ides’ mid-’90s hip-hop ad campaign was. It’s the sort of influencer-fueled brand synergy corporations pay millions for these days. The story goes that St. Ides hired DJ Pooh to help make their advertisements and then let him do pretty much whatever he wanted, so he started flipping through his rolodex at an era when a rap DJ’s rolodex might contain a dozen or so of the greatest rappers of all time operating at the height of their powers. In the Wu-tang spot, a bucket-hatted Method Man kicks things off by literally kicking through a wooden door; Raekwon shouts out his chauffeur before Ghostface compares himself to a laser beam. In the full version below, things keep rolling, with U-God singing the praises of the frosty malt liquor before RZA just yells, “Ahhhh, St. Ides!” with the vigor of a man who has just climbed a mountain fueled by naught but 40s.
The minute-long track has gone down as something of a legend among Wu-Tang fans, proof that, in 1994, they could do no wrong. Complex named it the 98th best Wu track ever, which sounds about right? The ad dropped in that pocket between ‘93's Enter The Wu-Tang and ‘97's Wu-Tang Forever, when pretty much everything the Clan touched turned first to gold and then into a bunch of poorly rendered CGI killer bees. (See also: The Mystagogue mixtape.) If the St. Ides spot sounds familiar, it’s because you can hear it crackling in the background of “Spot Rusherz,” a track off Raekwon’s debut LP from ‘95.
Anyway, assuming that you didn’t consume your nice, tall 40 already, why not let’s watch the rest of the St. Ides campaign?
Cypress Hill manage to rhyme “I don’t wanna kill a man” with “I just wanna kill a can” (of St. Ides). It’s a little eerie seeing both Biggy and Tupac shill for the same booze, both doing so over perfectly matched beats and with a relish for the product that wouldn’t be matched in the world of advertising until Matthew McConaughey started making weird faces in the mirror for Lincoln. St. Ides even pressed promotional tapes of the tracks, featuring Snoop Dogg, Warren G, MC Eiht, Ice Cube, Scarface, and more. Nobody quite attacks the moment with the same enthusiasm the Wu-Tang Clan did, but then, we’re talking about the Wu-Tang Clan in 1994 here.