'Whole Foods Parking Lot:' Q&A with the Supermarket Rapper

"You know the deal with the little shopping carts they got..."
"You know the deal with the little shopping carts they got..."
 Youtube

In what’s a sure sign of the impending musical apocalypse, a new rap video has gone viral that’s not about the mean streets of L.A., but rather a rough ride through a Whole Foods parking lot.

Composer Dave Wittman, who’s scored music for such films as The Son of No One (starring Al Pacino and Ray Liotta) and a recent commercial for Pepsi featuring David Beckham and Sofia Vergara, came up with the nearly four-minute ditty, which brilliantly rhymes the colloquial “brah” with “Quinoa,” and pokes fun at the chain’s clientele and exorbitant prices with lines like: “Some girl in yoga pants is lookin’ at me funny / I'm just trying to find a decent Pinot Noir for under twenty!” He shot a high-quality music video guerilla style at two Westside locations (Venice and Santa Monica).

“It was something we did down and dirty,” says Wittman of his unlikely Youtube hit, which he pieced together with the help of a handful of friends from the Fog and Smog collective, a group of SoCal and Bay Area collaborators. “Whole Foods has a pretty strict policy about not shooting in their stores, so I didn’t get permission.”

But it was Whole Foods who first reached out to Wittman once the video started gaining traction on Youtube (the clip is currently at 1.5 million views and counting), not to scold him, but to praise his efforts. “I got an email from their corporate office and my immediate thought was, ‘OK, here’s the cease and desist — the gig’s up, it was fun while it lasted.’ But they said, ‘We love it. It’s done in good taste. It’s funny and coming from an honest place. We’d love to be able to use it on our website.’ Now we have an agreement. It worked out really well.”

Wittman is also selling the track on iTunes (via CDBaby), but while he’s intimately familiar with gourmet fare like a Kale salad with a lemon twist and has the rhyming skills of a seasoned pro (he cites rappers Common and Mos Def as influences), he has yet to figure out how revenue will flow. “I’m not sure how it works or how many have been bought,” he says, “My goal is to do some sort of merchandising for this song, like a reusable bag that Whole Foods can sell and give proceeds to a charity for high school music.”

Still, people are calling. “Friends who know agents tell me, ‘You oughta be in the room with so and so’ and it sort of turns me off,” adds Wittman. “I got an offer to be in an adult film. I’m weighing a lot of different options. That’s probably not going to be the one.”

Ultimately, though, Wittman doesn’t see a future in supermarket songs either, but he understands why this one is resonating. “It’s about the absurdity of all these different lifestyle touch-points: the cars we drive, the products we use,” he says, “It’s a snapshot of where we’re at in our culture right now.”

See the video below and read an extended Q&A with Wittman after the jump…

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