Rap and Taco Bell and rap goes together like, well, wraps and Taco Bell. The fast food powerhouse has long used rap in its commercials, and big-name rappers have co-signed the brand.
This year seems to be a moment for the relationship between rappers and the Mexican monolith, with Lil Nas X making the move from former fast food worker to Chief Impact Officer and Doja Cat taking credit for the return of the Mexican pizza to menus.
Doja Cat announced the return of the popular menu item during her Coachella set alongside Rico Nasty—a.k.a. Tacobella. She even made a video featuring an unofficial Mexican pizza rap on TikTok, which was followed by an official Taco Bell commercial featuring a rap all of its own.
Rap and Taco Bell have been in bed for decades, way back to when MC Hammer was shilling shells in a 1991 commercial. It’s deeper than just business deals, though, as many rappers have dropped a reference to Taco Bell with no hint of an endorsement check.
Let’s take a trip down Mexican fast food-inspired memory lane and see who, like Lil Boom “stay rapping like Taco Bell.”
Way back in 1988, Seattle’s “Baby Got Back” superstar dropped this gem about how cool he and his pals were when out on the town. “Now the freaks are getting hungry & Mix-a-Lot’s treatin’/We stopped at Taco Bell for some Mexican eatin’/But Taco Bell was closed the girls was on my tip.” They have to eat at Dick’s instead.
It was 30 years ago when Fat Lip and the crew dropped this schoolyard classic, and the Bell drops right in the first verse. “Ya mama is so big and fat that she can get busy/With twenty-two burritos, but times are rough/I seen her in the back of Taco Bell with handcuffs.” It might not be the most memorable Ya Mama diss, but it gets the party started.
The Philly rapper got his big break on Roc-A-Fella’s 1998 Hard Knock Live bonus CD (remember them?), which featured the line “Fuck Taco Bell/I run south of the border.” This seems a missed opportunity for a vegetarian-friendly “Beanie Burrito” tie-in, much like the rapper never quite hitting his undoubted potential.
Hipster favourites The High & Mighty were joined by Eminem for the 1999 track with the duo’s Mr. Eon opening proceedings: “In Taco Bell screaming ‘Viva Gorditas,’” he says, though it sounds like Eminem screaming the Spanish. That was not Eminem’s first Taco Bell-linked record, nor would it be his last.
One for the foodies as Thes One raps of his favorite taco spots in 2002: “Home of the drive-by where they pop the shells/I eat at Chano’s and La Barca, not Taco Bell/And if you’re not from the city then you should probably bail.”
Big Boi drops the Taco Bell reference on the 2000 worldwide smash hit: “Pullin’ off my belt ‘cause a whipping’s in order/Like a three-piece fish before I cut your daughter/Yo quiero Taco Bell, then I hit the border.” Plenty of other Southern rappers have followed suit including Offset, Chamillionaire and Project Pat.
Times were different when Kanye released his sophomore album Late Registration in 2005 and reminisced on free fast food from his friend. “My dog worked at Taco Bell, hooked us up plural/Fired a week later, the manager count the churros.” Kanye returned to Taco Bell in 2021 for “Lord I Need You.” “We used to do the freak like seven days a week/It’s the best collab since Taco Bell and KFC, uh,” the artist soon to be known as Ye rapped.
The Dutchess rapped about keeping it real in 2006 even if she was “flossy, flossy”: “I still go to Taco Bell/Drive-thru, raw as hell.” Smoke E. (once of R&B group Playa) also mentioned the drive-thru when he complained about the drive-thru lane size back in 2001 on Timbaland & Magoo’s “Roll Out”: “Fast food so dangerous that I’m crackin’ my rim/Like why Taco Bell drive-thru so damn slim.”
In 2008, Chino XL dropped what might be the most specific Taco Bell line ever: “I catch you popping champagne, chop it to your brain/Just for thinking outside of the Bun like Taco Bell’s campaign.” Clever.
Das Racist might be famed for their 2010 hit “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” but they also feature on this 2011 track alongside Despot, Danny Brown and El-P (later of Run the Jewels). Das Racist’s Heems spits that “I’m at the Pizza Hut, I’m at the Taco Bell/The combination made my eyes bleed (See what I did I there?)” What he did was reference his own breakout novelty rap record and a line from Chef Raekwon on the Wu Tang-Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.”
One of the least glowing Taco Bell references on record comes from the trio’s 2011 album Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 where Mike D spits: “Wasn’t we here back on Raising Hell?/Or running wild like rats in the Taco Bell.”
“Soared to Taco Bell and I ordered some gorditas (Mmm, that’s good!),” raps Odd Future leader Tyler in 2013, “Wanted four more, ordered ‘em, didn’t eat ‘em.” Wasteful.
Serial restaurateur Rick Ross references his fast food empire on this 2016 banger: “I sold a few records, I bought me a Checkers/Wingstop well invested, so Taco Bell left for breakfast.”
Eminem was back in 2019, rapping on his journey “From Taco Bell to TRL.” The remix also features 50 Cent, who once sued Taco Bell for using his likeness without permission. 50 Cent protégé Lloyd Banks would later rap about Taco Bell on “If You So Gangsta” in 2004.
“When I’m back home, though, they treat me like Robert De Niro/Took her to Taco Bell, bought her a churro,” raps one of the biggest stars of the moment on the 2022 hit. Don’t ask what happens next.