Having consumed a few too many lemon pepper chicken wings, DJ Kool was dozing off to the Super Bowl last Sunday when his friend and colleague Fatman Scoop called. Fatman Scoop asked whether DJ Kool was watching the game and then instructed him to check it out and call him right back.
So DJ Kool shook himself awake just in time for the NFL commercial celebrating the league’s centennial—the one depicting Marshawn Lynch as he knocks over a towering cake and the chaos that ensues. About 30 seconds in, DJ Kool was stunned to hear his own voice in a remix of his 2003 version of the hip-hop classic “It Takes Two” that he recorded with Fatman Scoop.
“Mind you, I was just kind of waking up so I’m still a little bit foggy,” he says. “I saw the commercial come on right from the beginning, the lead in and everything. When the music dropped, I’m like, ‘Oh sugar honey iced tea. Whaat?!’
“And I just sat there—shocked,” he adds. “But in a very, very good way, ‘cause I could hear the cash register.”
Kool and Fatman Scoop recorded their version of Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s 1988 hit “It Takes Two” at a BET soundstage set up at Walt Disney World in Orlando. A remix of that by the New York-based DJ production team Crooklyn Clan was released by AV8 Records, a label that excelled in breakbeat during late ’90s and early 2000s. The Crooklyn Clan remix was the version used in the NFL commercial.
Born and raised in Southeast D.C., DJ Kool is best known for his party anthem “Let Me Clear My Throat,” as well as his hit record “Twenty Minute Workout.” He began working as a club DJ in the late ’70s, and when he started making his own records, they showcased his mastery of turntable skills as well as go-go and hip-hop old-school party chants. He once described himself as a product of DJ Arthur “Maniac” McCloud and Chuck Brown. In recent years, he has performed as a featured guest with Rare Essence at their more high-profile gigs. He also tours with Rob Base as part the “I Love the ’90s” brand.
DJ Kool’s upcoming projects include a recording with Snoop Dogg and another with DJ Flexx. This Saturday, he will be inducted into the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum along with rapper Scarface.
For a variety of reasons, some very important, the viewership of the 2019 Super Bowl was reportedly down to the lowest number of people in 11 years. Still, an audience of 98.2 million—minus the folks who were in the bathroom, plus those who watched the commercial later online—is very likely DJ Kool’s largest ever.
Kool hedges on the financial details around the ad, saying only that they are yet to be determined. But there are other kinds of rewards. Years ago, not long after Kool’s 2003 “It Takes Two” was released, he played on the same bill as Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock in Las Vegas. “At the end of their performance, they played our version of the record,” recalls DJ Kool. “So after they came off stage, I was like ‘Rob, that’s what’s up. I appreciate that.’ And he said, ‘Kool, what you don’t understand is that we’ve been doing that ever since you put that record out. I just want to tell you that you did my record better than I did.’”