April 2006: In a blog post titled “Supersize Me”, Dallas Penn detailed a “loophole” that he had found at McDonalds where one could order a double cheeseburger with Big Mac sauce and a seeded bun creating a “Mini Mac” at a fraction of the cost.
June 2006: About six weeks later, Rafi Kam from Oh Word musters up the courage (or shamelessness) to try Dallas’s trick at a McDonald’s drive-thru. It works like a charm and he blogs about it at the tail end of a link post.
Hip-hop blogger Byron Crawford likes the idea and mentions the trick at the end of a fast food post he does on his site. In the comments Billy Sunday introduces the ideas of replacing the traditional Big Mac middle bun with a layer of fries.
It is at another fast food post by Byron Crawford – this time at the XXL site – that the phrase “Ghetto Big Mac” is coined. Although the post is not directly about the Ghetto Big Mac, the very first commenter uses the post’s McDonalds theme as a lead-in to detail his own experience with remixing the dollar menu:
I just ate McDonald’s today. I got the ghetto Big Mac-double cheeseburger that I read about somewhere on the internets (probably from one of your blogs) and a large fry.
Ridiculon9000 in the delicious department.
Oh, and first.
A few days later Dallas puts up a post expanding on the technique of constructing his sandwich with photographic instructions on creating the fries layer. While clearly no longer a “Mini Mac”, Dallas doesn’t adopt the Ghetto Big Mac name as of yet.
Fascinated by all these recent developments, Rafi posts describing this whole series of events and how word is spreading about the Ghetto Big Mac. In jest he says “I smell a delicious artery-clogging trend starting up here. I think we need a YouTube video so this can really go viral.”
Filmmaker Casimir Nozkowski sees Rafi’s joke and approaches his old friend with 100% faith in the idea that such a video should be made. Rafi is convinced. The duo hooks up with Dallas so that he can star in the movie about his sandwich. History is made.
July 2006: Rafi and Cas meet Dallas for the first time when he flags us down on some street corner in Long Island City. We drive to the McDonalds in Williamsburg right off the BQE and plan our actions for about 20 minutes. We shoot a bunch of posing out in the parking lot. Then we go in guerilla style and order the components for the Ghetto Big Mac.
While editing the video, Cas has the brilliant idea of adding the Masta Killa / RZA / Ol’ Dirty Bastard song “Old Man” with its Sanford & Son theme song sample and Ol’ Dirty Bastard spouting off the Big Mac ingredients. The song’s energy really makes the video.
Cas also cuts the video down to just over 4 minutes. A great finished product but along the way he cuts out dialog that would have answered the questions of hundreds of YouTube commenters. So here goes:
- There’s no lettuce on the Ghetto Big Mac because McDonald’s lettuce sucks.
- The french fries aren’t just a substitute for the bread – they are an improvement on the bread. McDonald’s fries >>>> hamburger bun.
- Yes we know we had to pay for the small fries but if you’re eating this junk you were probably going to buy fries anyway and it only takes a few to make that fry layer.
Ghetto Big Mac makes it to 150,000 views fairly quickly and then plateaus for a while.
In spring of 2007 the video finds a second life when it becomes a featured video on both MySpace and YouTube in the same week.
As of now, Ghetto Big Mac on these two sites has nearly 700,000 served.
That was our debut video and the best was still to come…