The Hamburger Helper Mixtape, Reviewed » VSB

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The Hamburger Helper Mixtape, Reviewed

General Mills

 

As the resident VSB Big Sean apologist, even I have to admit when some people’s third favorite rapper caught an L. Big Sean and Jhene Aiko’s joint album Twenty88 — which is undeniably hot, check it out — (Editor’s note: No) got overshadowed by possibly the greatest marketing triumph in recorded history, Watch The Stove. Hamburger Helper, yes, some people’s third favorite brand of boxed noodles and sauce dropped a five song mixtape on April’s Fools Day. This is not a joke or a prank. The tape is absolute fire. It so fire, I scalded my tongue was scalded listening to the beefy, cheesy goodness.

Now, this could have easily been tone deaf thinkpiece fodder, but, they played it straight. Remember when Busta Rhymes let us know that he loves money and regrowing your dreads post-40 is a bad idea? This is not the swagger wagon. Watch The Stove has taken postmodern meme rap beyond Lil’ B and Riff Raff. They know the know the form and they execute. Even the album art is deliciously tongue in cheek. At first glance, it’s an obvious play on Watch The Throne and the speculative Future x Drake art with dripping paint covering the iconic Helper Glove instead of the OVO owl. However, if you pay attention, you realize the background is crumpled aluminum foil. That’s right, the mixtape is a to-go plate. There’s levels to the shit.

The music itself touches on a number of styles. “Feed the Streets” is an unadulterated banger. A Young Thug understudy drops the gem, “Hold up I told you, I’m serving that stroganoff (BEEF), Hot out the oven, it’s like molten lava.” If you would’ve told me Thug actually ghostwrote this I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s obviously not good, per se, but its earnestness leaves you incredulously satisfied. Then, the tape moves into that new wave Nyquil PM R&B with “In Love With The Glove,” which may be about getting it in or possibly be a backhanded safe sex PSA. The following two tracks “Food for Your Soul” and “Crazy” are definitely the low lights. The former had to be unearthed from the Nappy Roots vault of lukewarm positivity and the latter tried to be a showcase for #barz but it seemed like the interns got tired of staying late to work on it. Luckily, the album ends on another trap classic, “Hamburger Helper.” A 60 percent success rate is more than satisfactory for a mixtape. Plus, even if all of the songs didn’t work, Hamburger Helper clearly displayed that he’s a student of the game.

There are a number of people I’d like thank for this even being a thing at all. First, and foremost all of the rappers who have “cooked,” counted “cheese,” and had “beef” over the years. Without them a moment like this couldn’t be possible. Also, much deserved praise to the unknown progenitor of the term “We eatin.” For he truly laid the groundwork for this great work of art. Secondly, I have to thank all the good people at Hamburger Helper. The executive that approved this who ignored every fiber in his body that this was a dumbass idea. The Marketing Coordinator who was so bored at work that he got bold and listened to Future at his desk. Instead of saying “my bad” when he accidentally pulled out his headphones and blared “Inside the Mattress” throughout the office, he doubled down and claimed it was a new project. Last but certainly not least, I have to acknowledge, Illwyn, the McNally-Smith College of Music student that actually had to spend an entire semester of his life putting this together.

This is a transcendent moment in marketing history. As the Golden State Warriors close in on the 95-96 Bulls, I can’t help but to see parallels between Hamburger Helper and the marketing champions of yesteryear. Watch the Stove deserves its banner raised alongside “Wazzup!”, The Most Interesting Man In The World, and that time Oprah got people to forget the KFC is trash by giving away baked chicken coupons. Hamburger Helper broke the mold by fitting into it. If Desiigner and Bryson Tiller can ape established hip hop styles and blow up, why can’t Hamburger Helper do the same and make dinner easy for the mom on the go?

Brandon Harrison

Brandon lives in LA and has Hollywood stories that rival those of Rick James. He prides himself on staying righteous and knowing more about basketball than you.

  • miss t-lee

    I listened to Feed The Streets a few times on Friday. That beat knocked.
    As far as Hamburger Helper? Ew, no.

    • Brandon Allen

      No hankering for that beef strogie?

      • miss t-lee

        Had too much of it as a child. Blech.

    • Feed The Streets is genius! Future & Ty Dolla $ign better watch up, Hamburger Helper is coming for their necks!

      • miss t-lee

        Hahahha. For real.

    • PhlyyPhree

      Mannnn look. I hate Hamburger Helper with a passion. I did however have to send this to former SomethingLikeABoo because he LOVES that mess. I think that should have clued me in that he’d probably never be AnythingClosetoABoo. Alas, my willful ignorance game is strong.

      • miss t-lee

        Yeah, him loving that as a meal was your clue to abort the mission, ma’am.

        • PhlyyPhree

          I mean, but there was so much potential. I really wanted it to work. I was willing to overlook this one flaw.

  • KB

    Somebody on facebook said this mixtape is better than Big Sean’s. I laughed too hard.

    • miss t-lee

      The accuracy.

  • PhlyyPhree

    I am in awe. As a student of all things marketing and branding, this was SOOOOO beautiful!!!
    I was really in shock that I was actually LISTENING to a mixtape. By a glove.
    Crazily enough, when I saw the cover, I initially thought of Game of Thrones and the scene where Viserys was “crowned”. But whatever floats your boat and gets them noodles cookin.

    • KB

      The d*mn thing did go hard. I’m just waiting on when someone dj drops a track from this mixtape at the club.

      • PhlyyPhree

        Because you know it will happen. And the people will dance. And NOONE will see anything wrong with it. And I’ll just be somewhere drinking until it all makes sense

        • Epsilonicus

          The same way a DJ will drop “God in Me” in the club and no one even thinks twice lol

          • PhlyyPhree

            That ALWAYS fucks up my groove. Be throwing it back at someone and have to abruptly go take a seat. Smh

            • Epsilonicus

              You can’t make it clap to “God in Me”?
              Not enough sinner in your spirit lol

              • PhlyyPhree

                I literally laughed out loud. Full out cackled.
                I’m already #unchosen out here. I don’t want God to forsake me too. Then I will NEVER have love.

                • Epsilonicus

                  You ain’t #unchosen. I chose you

                  • PhlyyPhree

                    You’re married.
                    I’ve already broken up enough happy homes.
                    Annnnd you won’t put me on to any of your friends. You are just like every other Libra in my life: here to ruin it and leave me crying in a corner

                    • Epsilonicus

                      I would put you on but you treat me like every other Libra in your life and never put me on your calendar

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      Well, you’re a Libra….sooo….It’s not like you cared.
                      But I need someone to hold my extra drinks and my leopard knapsack at BCFest. Make it happen. Thanks!

    • mochazina

      totally thought of GOT also!

  • NonyaB

    Yes, Hamburger Helper did that! Great marketing execution; timing, culture, counter-culture. Oh and you linking to that Toyota-Busta video was also gold – I’d never seen it!

    BTW, The real story behind the album Watch The Stove is: General Mills (owns HH) contacted Craig Rice (music manager and teacher at McNally Smith College of Music, Minnesota). He led them to Toki Wright, a hip-hop artist(Rhymesayers) and Head of dept for Hip-Hop Studies Program at the same school. Wright got his students involved and they pitched concepts to GM and the chosen 5 were produced:

    http://pigeonsandplanes.com/2016/04/guy-behind-hamburger-helper-mixtape/

    • Brandon Allen

      This was definitely a hot take. I wanted to let it sit intially so more information would come our but that cheesy goodness was too fire!

    • miss t-lee

      Had no clue Rhymesayers was behind that. Nice.

  • Kat

    It’s better than K. Michelle’s new garbage.

    • NonyaB

      S-s-so cold!

    • LadyIbaka

      I’m a fan of hers, have been for years since her blue hair days. Having said that, I only liked ONE song. This album didn’t do it for me. But wish her the best though.

      • Kat

        Totally agree. Let me tell you I purchased without previewing one single track, this is how much I knew she was going to bring it. Nothing. Nada. I can’t recall one song that I like. And that Country and Western twang love song had me gagging ( I like C&W ) and that killing of Opera… She needs folks on her team that really love her.

        • LadyIbaka

          Next time, preview on Spotify and see whether it’s worth it. That’s if, you have Spotify, or YouTube.

          • Kat

            I do but I just knew it was gonna be as good as the last one. I was “faithing” in her. No more. She got the last of my tithes.

            • LadyIbaka

              Awww. I’m hoping this was a one off. But I feel you!

  • Courtney Wheeler

    I can’t believe that I just heard about this.. :(

    • NonyaB

      You need more channels to keep your ratchetry up. Can’t be getting the gospels late in these e-streets. :)

  • Fact: This Mixtape is actually good as, if not better than most of what kinda passes as sorta good rap these days

  • Baemie St. Patrick

    This tape was FLAMES. “In Love with the Glove” is probably my favorite track.

    TWENTY88 didn’t get overshadowed….ninjas just not messing with Tidal until that new B drops. I only got Tidal for this album, TLOP be gotdambed.

    • PhlyyPhree

      Look here. I have spotify. That is ALL I need in this life of sin. All that talk Kanye gave about TLOP never being anywhere but Tidal and now it’s nestled firmly in my Spotify “eh” playlist.
      I can wait an extra 3-4 days for Tidal to get the exclusive and then let it be released to the masses. And lets be for real, I like both Big Sean and Jhene Aiko….but it’s an album full of Big Sean and Jhene Aiko. I’m not in a rush.

      • KB

        “And lets be for real, I like both Big Sean and Jhene Aiko….but it’s an album full of Big Sean and Jhene Aiko. I’m not in a rush”
        Probably the most accurate statement I’ve read in awhile.

      • Baemie St. Patrick

        I JUST listened to TLOP Saturday b/c I was asking someone to rank their Ye albums, so I had to listen to give my accurate ranking. It’s above Yeezus. Das all I got. Google Play Music is my main right now and she not going anywhere.

        I say give it a listen though. The sexual tension is palpable and it makes for some pretty chill with bae/boo/situationship music. I really like them together. It almost makes you wish they worked out on a personal level.

        • Brandon Allen

          I can’t take her side chick angstiness too much at once…like come on.
          You know you’re not a side chick.

          • Baemie St. Patrick

            NOW she’s not b/c we know she’s married but we didn’t know her life prior lol

            • PhlyyPhree

              Prior to, she was Omarion’s Brothers Baby Mama…which has got to be a hard row to hoe so I’ll allow her to get all this prior stuff out of her system.

              • Baemie St. Patrick

                I knew she had a kid by him but when she dropped Sailing Souls they weren’t together. She was dating some dude that was on that mixtape but she got some buzz and they broke up somewhere in there. I keep hearing that Comfort Inn Freestyle and The Worst is about Big Sean.

                • PhlyyPhree

                  REALLLY????
                  Because that is the most salacious news I’ve heard all morning. I knew they looked HEL LA comfortable in those promo pics and Jhene definitely fits his “type”….but to go back and make an entire album with the person that you were just making songs about??? AFTER you just married someone else??????
                  Yea, that’s Erykah level zen right there.

                  • Baemie St. Patrick

                    They admitted they went out on a “date” during promo rounds but they never got into too much detail about the relationship afterwards. The Worst is definitely some whispery gospel but if that song is really about Sean, I can see why they make good music together. That kind of passion and chemistry just doesn’t go away.

                    If I were her husband, I would definitely be raising some eyebrows.

                    I need to trade chicken for tofu b/c the girls who went to Lisa Bonet’s school for Veganism and Trappin a Ninja stay chose up. I’m doing it all wrong.

                    • Gbadebo

                      I avoid all “jealous” feelings like the plague…..but even I would be watching very closely….but from afar. I need evidence before I act a fool.

                  • Pause, Jhene got married? To who?!?! And yeah, She name drops Big Sean in Comfort Inn Ending in that long list of exes who screwed her over, didn’t know he was the inspiration for “The Worst.”

                    You mention Erykah, both she and Jhene (and myself) are pisces. So, take what you want from that ;)

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      She names a LOT of men in Comfort Inn Ending. Sean could have just as easily stood for Shawn. I just had no clue that she knew why they called him “Big”. I’m a little jealous.

                    • GirlMelanie86

                      Yeah I knew they had a thing for a second but I didn’t think the song was about Sean entirely- whoever the main dude is has a kid cuz she mentioned the baby mom walking in on them once.

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      Again, she named a looootttta names in that song. I figured it to be an amalgamation of several n-words, but I just didn’t count Big Sean in the number. I don’t know why this surprises me so. I guess it’s because I will never ever be the type to find out why they call him ‘Big’. Sigh

                    • GirlMelanie86

                      Dot da Genius. I didn’t know either. Just read an article that they may’ve been married for the last 2 years.

          • PhlyyPhree

            She is someone’s wife. But I liken it to Bey telling someone to put a ring on it when Jay had already put his chain and his name on it.
            The audience needs #goals so they don’t care

        • PhlyyPhree

          Lol. “Above Yeezus”
          That’s not saying much. I actually didn’t dislike Yeezus. So there’s that.
          I’m definitely going to give twenty88 a listen…I’m just not paying extra to buy it when Spotify already taxes me 9.99 a month.

          • Brandon Allen

            Yeezus > TLOP

            • I didn’t even listen to TLOP but I have my Ph.D. in Yeezus.

              • Brandon Allen

                “I’m in it” is Kanye’s most unheralded classic.
                Sounds like something vampire’s have s e x to.

                • Hubby’s favorite track on the album. Go figure lol

          • Baemie St. Patrick

            I didn’t dislike Yeezus either but it ushered in this new era of manic Kanye. It gets ranked last by default.

        • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

          Listening to TLOP for the first time right this second. . .So far, Ultralight Beam is better than half of Yeezus.

      • KB

        I can imagine this album being the equivalent of macaroni art that as a parent you hang on the fridge for a couple of days just to boost your kid’s self esteem, but will be taken down and put in the junk drawer with the quickness.

        • Baemie St. Patrick

          lol! it ain’t “Posed to Be” bad now….

        • PhlyyPhree

          EL EM AY OH.
          That is an entirely accurate description. It’s one of those albums I play on long car rides with potential bae to find out just how much he loves me.

          • Kas

            Always testing and probing for weak spots. We see you Phree.

            • PhlyyPhree

              You say weak spots, I say areas that need improvement. Just trying to keep the spark alive. Tis all

              • Kas

                Ask your man if he sees it the same way. I’m willing to wager there is a difference of opinion between the two of you.

                • PhlyyPhree

                  LMAOOO. I don’t have a man. I am decidedly #Unchosen. This is probably why.

                  • Kas

                    A word of advice from a man who has had his nose wide open a few times. Hook him, get that upper hand/leverage, then test him to see if you going to bother letting him stay around. You seem to have your steps backwards. No need to thank me, I’m here to be helpful. :)

                  • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

                    Heh Heh. Ummm..yeah.

                    spark does not = testing someone.

                    • PhlyyPhree

                      I like makeup chex. THAT is a spark.

      • occupiesthethrone

        I didn’t even know TLOP made it to Spotify, so good looks! Honestly, I ride so hard with Spotify, I will wait it out because eventually they all come around. The only two albums that made me reconsider were Beyonce and What A Time To Be Alive, and even then, I just thugged it out until they dropped. I lost my ipod like 2 years ago, and all the music I had had my computer disappeared when it crashed. I finally got my library back to what it used to be on Spotify, so it would take an act of God to get me to switch at this point.

        • PhlyyPhree

          It’s not about me riding hard with any particular company, but I’ve already submitted my billing information once. No need to do it again.
          And like you said, eventually Spotify gets everything. Although I’m still waiting on 25. Then again, I’ve been sad lately anyway. Apparently, God knew I didn’t need suicide watch music, so eh.

          • occupiesthethrone

            Once Spotify included radio, it was a wrap for me. That was a rough year waiting on Beyonce though, smh.

          • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

            Umm yeah..wait for Summer until 25. You need to play that $hyte outdoors in the sunshine.

      • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

        TLOP is on spoyify? Hold on’..brb..*fingerprints phone*

    • KB

      TLOP is now on Spotify, which I figured it would eventually be because not too many people are effing with Tidal right now.

      • Epsilonicus

        Tidal actually has 3 million subscrubers. And increased its subscriber base by 2.4 million in one year since Jay bought it. That is actually pretty good numbers. Spotify did not become Spotify in a day.

        I’ve never used Tidal so I don’t know what the user experience is like but so far it seems people are coming over.

        • I like it. The software is better. My one beef is that they can have random clearance issues with individual tracks. Like one week, they had Nutmeg from Supreme Clientele, then the next week they don’t.

          • PhlyyPhree

            Spotify goes through the same thing.
            One week they’ll have something, the next they won’t. I assumed they were just licensing songs for a period of time and then it was up to the artists/labels/gatekeepers and pennypinchers to decide whether or not it was worth it to renew their access.

          • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

            Ummm….I play Nutmeg at least once a week so that could not work for me.

    • Brandon Allen

      I didn’t even knnow it was a Tidal exclusive. I listened to it through… other methods.

      • Baemie St. Patrick

        I’m sure once this is on Google Play music, I’m canceling my free trial membership.

        • Google play >>>

          • Baemie St. Patrick

            in-dambed-deed. Spotify just gives me a headache…

            but I’m old.

  • Lea Thrace

    In Love with the Glove was on heavy rotation this weekend. Cant wait for Vol. 2.

    AND, I bought a box of Hamburger Helper just because of this mixtape. I do not eat that garbage so I donated it to a food pantry. But their marketing worked nonetheless. *kanyeshrug

    • “I do not eat that garbage but I donated to people in need”

      How Ayesha Curry of you

      • Bruh there was an Ayesha Curry set of memes on my feed this morning that had me in tears. I gotta find so I can repost here

        • Brandon Allen

          Here you are.

          • Yaaaassssssss

            When I tell you the deep, visceral belly laughs that sprang forth from me on this Monday!!

            • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

              How much of a fire storm would this cause if Ayesha Curry actually threw this shade bomb?

              • It’d be like Hiroshima. Butthurt everywhere!

          • TheCollinB

            Gyyyyaaaaaaad damn!

          • CheGueverraWitBlingOn

            Ruthless.

      • Lea Thrace

        *curtsies* My definition of garbage is another woman’s phillay meenion.

        I’m too darkskint tho. I will take a benevolent Oprah comparison though…

    • NomadaNare

      Why does in love with the glove remind me of SZA

  • hamburger helper was lit when the bills were tight as a lad. I wish the mixtape was louder though,

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