"He gone get you right, whatever it is."
Mike Jones, from here to Albuquerque had one of the first "original" meme's of the hip-hop Internet age. His repetition of "Who Is..?" was the "Got Milk" of it's day. A new commercial that ran on Super Bowl Sunday in a small market in Georgia is like a sketch from an episode of Saturday Night Live. But who's judging? Get back your name recognition any way you can. Some people have the Super Bowl halftime show, others have rap Stans who made good.
And that's what happened to Jones. A Georgia lawyer named Mark Jones spent $50,000 to bring the H-town rap legend in to film one of those shot-on-video commercials that lawyers often get on television. While it might seem like Mike Who? is slumming for bread, it's a great move to get his name back out there, how else would he have gotten writeups on the all the major hip-hop Web sites and MTV?
It doesn't take much to get swept under the rug in the entertainment industry, especially in hip-hop. Today's Houston freestyle king is tomorrow's act playing an Amarillo dive bar, I don't know. You might be platinum one day and the next playing the equivalent of the chitlin circuit for has-been rappers.
But that's to take nothing away from Jones. His platinum-selling Who Is Mike Jones? turns ten years old this year, and while being in a low-budget commercial for a Southern lawyer isn't the best way to mark the occasion, getting some viral airplay on the internet isn't a bad way to go. YouTube can do a Tarantino on any fading star, but the window of appreciation is much, much shorter -- we're talking hours, even days.
And it's uncertain how much the lawyer, Mark Jones, chess strategist that he is, gets out of this. The video has made a major splash but his Twitter account still had under 1,000 followers as of this writing. Of course that may be big in the world of local lawyer television commercials; trust that every city has a few -- how about that "Texas Hammer" dude who stands on the big rig?)
"Mark Jones...Mark Jones.." No.
The spot won't get shortlisted by AdWeek or anything, with its choppy cuts and iMovie sound editing. Mark Jones has that deer-in-the-headlights look, standing next to the rapper. The attorney doesn't scream "capable defense," but at least he's got some marketing savvy.
Story continues on the next page.
One of the few rappers to have a click named after an animated family cartoon, Mike Jones was no joke, a ringtone rapper of the highest quality. When Houston was getting put on the map, he was there. If anything, he helped unfurl the edges a little, make it all more palatable.
He even shared his number at a time that free long distance was a thing and those Cricket hood plans started to be ubiquitous. The only thing he should have had was a cell-phone sponsor, something like Run-DMC had with Adidas. Maybe there was a chirp phone sponsorship that we missed. Mike is still an OG.
Of course Mark Jones is basking in all this glory, even though it looks like he can only practice law in Georgia and Alabama, the possibilities are endless. As long as you remember him as that white guy who got Mike Jones to film a commercial for him. Our memories are so short for these types of things though.
Neither Jones replied to multiple requests for comment.
Looking at the price tag that's probably what Jones will make back if about a dozen people go to him to try and beat a DUI case. If using Mike Jones as a way to open up his business to the most-prosecuted segment of society--thats's young black and Latino men, then maybe that was money well spent.
Like what you read? Or think you can do better? We'd love for you to join our team.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
The Ask Willie D Archives Houston's Top 10 Hipster Bars, Clubs & Icehouses 2014 Today's 10 Most Promising Young Metal Bands Hip-Hop's Seven Best Breakup Songs Houston's Top 10 Rooftop Bars and Lounges
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.