Foreign Gists

Pharrell reveals he was regularly fired from McDonald’s


(Credit: Frank Schwichtenberg)

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Pharrell Williams has had a stellar career in music and has been a mainstay as a producer since the turn of the millennium. The producer who rose to fame as part of The Neptunes alongside Chad Hugo is also a rapper, songwriter, and entrepreneur who has helped many artists get onto the charts. 

Since the early 2000s, the Virginia mogul has become an icon in hip-hop. However, before he saw the riches of fame, Williams was merely a young African-American with a big dream. Born and raised in Virginia Beach, as an adolescent, Williams knew he wanted to be involved in the creative industries somehow. Unable to buy his way in as some of the more privileged do, Williams knew he would have to really graft if he wanted to work his way up the ladder.

Williams has previously revealed that he took on several jobs at McDonald’s as a teen. The superproducer even worked in three different locations. However, it seemed he couldn’t hack it, as he would eventually get fired from every one of those positions. 

In an appearance on  Late Night with Seth Meyers, Williams recalled his McDonald’s days, revealing, “‘I’d get caught up in the music they play in the dining area. At a certain point, they realized I was no help; I was only good at eating the chicken nuggets.”

In a 2021 appearance on Naomi Campbell’s  No Filter with Naomi, Williams reflected on his work ethic as a teen and admitted that his heart wasn’t in the job, declaring, “I wasn’t the best employee. I got fired every time from my McDonald’s jobs. I wasn’t very driven work-wise in my teen years.” Williams continued to unveil that he focused more on going to Chad Hugo’s house than mopping floors.

He continued, “Music just became so much more fun to do, so that’s just what we did all the time.” However, after gaining celebrity, Williams worked with McDonald’s in a strange turn of events. The rapper produced and wrote Justin Timberlake’s 2003 hit song ‘I’m Lovin’ It’. 

In a deal with McDonald’s, Williams licensed the melody and cadence of the song to McDonald’s, and it has since become their signature jingle, still used to this day. In the video below, you can watch the music video for ‘I’m Lovin It’.