Tay Zonday’s latest viral hit starts with a breathy inhalation and ends with a sigh — from this viewer, at least. What’s found in the middle is a passable hip-hop music video full of the requisite clichés — writhing female bodies, grillz, bling, and lots of head-nodding. Baby-faced Zonday is joined by guest rapper Mista Johnson, who claims he and Zonday are “big city pros.” Sponsored by Cadbury Schweppes, the video hawks new the Cherry Chocolate Dr. Pepper, which is surely as tasty as it sounds.
While the “sell-out” factor here is high (as Zonday himself says, “Now I’m paid a hefty, hefty fee.”), the video and lyrics do recognize Zonday’s roots. The video starts with a shot of Zonday at his keyboard in front of the spartan, white-sheet backdrop that served him so well in his original viral hit. The camera then whip-zooms out to reveal that we are no longer in Zonday’s basement. Lyrics-wise, the Internet sensation begins by saying, “This is the web and it’s gonna murder your TV,” and ends with, “This Internet thing is wild.” But overall, it’s standard rap video fare. The only thing missing are the 22-inch rims. I guess Zonday is still driving his Hyundai.
Milking his Internet fame for all its worth, Zonday appears to still be searching for that elusive record deal, as “unsigned” remains one of the tags on this latest video. Still, the professionally produced track and overly produced video bode well for the baritone. He also appeared earlier this year on VH1’s Best Week Ever, spoofing himself. John Mayer even did an impromptu a capella remix of Zonday’s original hit (entire bit emedded below).
All in all, it adds up to the sort of eclectic heritage that is an Internet meme. And while all of Zonday’s songs are catchy, they always seem only 90 percent baked. Here in “Cherry Chocolate Rain,” a strange lyric finds its way into the song: “Ohio’s agriculture’s based on grains.” A reference to Dr. Pepper’s key ingredient of high-fructose corn syrup, perhaps? If so, it’s the strangest name-check I’ve heard yet.