The Travis Scott meal at McDonald’s inflicted the worst bodily harm I’ve ever experienced in the performance of my journalistic duties, and I say this as a reporter who has gotten tear-gassed while covering a riot.
In case you haven’t had the displeasure: The fast-food giant announced a limited partnership with the famed Houston rapper earlier this month, marking the first time a celebrity endorsement has been tied to a McDonald’s meal since the Michael Jordan-branded “McJordan” in 1992. The Travis Scott meal is essentially a Quarter Pounder with extra bacon and lettuce (“Travis-Style,” as the marketing overlords have dubbed it), along with a medium Sprite and fries served alongside barbecue sauce.
Some perceive Scott as sloppily fellating the throbbing knob of capitalism by stamping his name on this campaign, but in his defense, being the first celebrity to do anything since His Airness is a lofty status symbol to attain. Plus, if you were given an opportunity to make money by having 15-year-old kids in Supreme T-shirts fork over (presumably) their hard-earned money to buy a burger just the way you like it, your proletariat pride would take a backseat at the drop of a Fortnite beanie.
Love him or hate him, Scott is a hip-hop giant whose commercial success and artistry have elevated him to the status of other leviathans like Drake and Kanye West. Unlike the latter, Cactus Jack has been able to find at least a modicum of success in executing a clothing line, even if it consists of $65 shirts with MS Paint-quality designs.
So yes, the Travis Scott meal and the hype surrounding it make for mindless spectacle, but he’s a rapper and celebrity who has more than earned my trip to McDonald’s, so I sit here today with a stomach ache from hell and a chilling absence of dignity. I took some leftover Zofran my doctor gave me three months ago and a Pepto Bismol chewable tablet to counteract the distress that came with eating a McDonald’s burger for the first time in years, but I’m still hard-pressed to find something that can bring back the piece of my soul that left my body as I went to the drive-thru Monday afternoon and said to the cashier, “Can I get the Travis Scott burger?”
I was so embarrassed by this that I almost apologized to the cashier. I instead asked if he has had to suffer any cringeworthy antics from kids who film themselves saying, “Cactus Jack sent me” while blasting “SICKO MODE” for TikTok clout (maybe Donald Trump was onto something when he signed an executive order pulling the social media app from app stores).
Even at 12:30 p.m., I managed to get out of the drive-thru in less than three minutes. Normally, I would celebrate this achievement, but I actually wish I’d left sooner and spared my stomach.
I know McDonald’s isn’t exactly known for its Michelin-grade food, but the company’s chief marketing officer Morgan Flatley said in a statement, “Travis is a true McDonald’s fan having grown up visiting our restaurants in Houston,” so maybe the lesson here is that the quality of an artist’s music is seldom congruent with the quality of their culinary leanings. Just as Brian Wilson likes to eat his steak with ketchup, so Scott likes fast-food burgers that commit crimes against your digestive tract.
A moment of silence for the cow that died and became the Travis Scott burger which taught me this invaluable lesson.