Last night, Sam and I attended an event involving Nelly, Mike and Ike candy and a lot of creative use of strawberries. Ostensibly, it was to celebrate “the reunion of Mike and Ike,” a pair of musicians and friends who had split over artistic differences but were coming together once again.
Mike and Ike do not actually exist, which was somewhat confusing. “So … Nelly is giving a press conference about imaginary people?” I asked Sam about 10 minutes in. “I … think so,” she said. And he was—but also about Mike and Ike the candy, because it is back, with new flavors, and that is the overarching reason this event happened. And in addition to promoting the candy, Nelly was also promoting fitness DVDs.
If you are confused, rest assured: We were, too. But it was fun. We were greeted with strawberry basil spritzers and strawberry Caipirinhas on dry ice; goat cheese balls powdered with strawberry dust; raw tuna and strawberry ceviche on crispbread stamped M&I; and candy candy candy as far as the eye could see.
And then into this lovely weirdness comes Nelly. Upon taking the stage, the rapper began talking about the influence of Mike and Ike—the candy and the imaginary people—on his creative process.
“I’m not gonna tell my age, but I’ve been eating Mike and Ikes for over 20 years. It’s funny, because you don’t know what small details actually play an intricate part in what it is that you do as far as creativity sometimes, and I just want to say, like, we have a QuickTrip gas station that’s on the corner maybe about a block away from the studio from where I create, and … we tripled their orders. This was way before we were even involved in the campaign—we tripled their orders of what they ordered every two weeks of Mike and Ikes, because our studio’s right down there and we eat them constantly, 24/7, 24/7.
So when this thing came about, it’s just like … I like to think that Mike & Ike have played a part in my upcoming album, because you look for certain things to continuously enhance your creativity … I like to think we are creatures of habit, and sometimes when the habit is not there the creative juices is not flowing. So, again, when I go into the studio I’ve gotta have those three thigns: Mike and Ikes, we gotta have the coffee, annnnddd I’m not gonna say the other thing.”
When they opened it up for questions later, I decided to play along. “So, when you’re not eating Mike and Ikes, what are the other foods you eat to give you energy or fuel your recording process?” I asked.
“You know what? I eat a lot of oatmeal. I have a problem, um, keeping on weight. I have a problem keeping on weight and I eat a lot of oatmeal, a lot of peanut butter. Um…peanut butter Mike and Ikes, hey! … But I eat a lot of stuff protein-driven to try and help me keep weight on, because I will burn it off fast.”
“This is not taking away from the responsibility of being who you are and setting good examples, but … I firmly do not believe that celebrities and athletes should be role models. I believe that we can be inspirations. I believe a role model is someone whose role is in their life continuously, on an everyday basis, not just their wins or their losses. Because that’s what you get through the media from us celebrities, you get our wins and you get our losses, you don’t get the in between factor, and I think the in between factor is what plays a role in being a role model. I think I can be an inspiration for all those who have come from a background that I’ve come from, and being a success story; I think role models should be someone in your community.”
Awww. We think he makes a pretty good role model, anyway. Just lay off the candy a little bit, maybe? Oatmeal’s cool, though. And strawberry dust. I don’t know about Peanut-Butter Mike and Ikes, but I’d totally buy peanut butter strawberry dust …