Have you ever experienced something in your adult life that would make your teenage self just, like, drop dead? Something so amazing, so incredible, even your childhood dreams couldn't imagine it? For me, that showed up in the form of an email with an opportunity to talk to AJ McLean from the Backstreet Boys. No, that isn't a typo. Yes, this is real life. BSB has an upcoming Doritos Super Bowl commercial with Chance the Rapper which is, in a word, fire. Not only that, but AJ McLean's story about meeting Chance the Rapper was just a sneaky little gem the universe tacked on to this entire experience for me.
Thank you, AJ. Thank you, Universe.
You might have heard the Backstreet Boys are taking their new album DNA on tour, meaning you have the chance to let AJ, Howie, Nick, Brian, and Kevin pop and lock their way back into your hearts. The group formed back in 1993 which means they've been together for just over 25 years (let that sink in for a minute). Funnily enough, that happens to be how old Chance the Rapper is, too.
Chance and BSB collaborated on the 2019 Doritos Super Bowl commercial which proudly boasts the tagline, "The original. Now it's hot."
You watch. I'll wait.
Let's break this down, shall we?
Where would you guys like to start? BSB playing in Chance's mind as he eats chips? The colorful smoke bombs and epic cars? Or Kevin's pink furry coat? I think the best thing I can do here is offer this insight from the set of the commercial which, according to McLean, was a total blast.
McLean says Chance is a "funny, witty" genius who was a blast to hang out with. "To be blessed with having a Super Bowl commercial, especially with someone as talented and iconic as Chance, is like a godsend," he tells me. "It is way up there for me."
I feel the same way, AJ! The same way!
So, clearly, AJ is a fan of Chance the Rapper. But is Chance a fan of the classic '90s boy band?
"[Chance] was telling us he’s been a fan [of BSB] for years as he’s growing up," AJ explains about how Chance reacted to the chance to work with BSB. "To us, that’s super flattering because here’s somebody who’s a freaking genius in his genre and he’s 25 years old. And to know that he was a fan."
Even McLean can't help but be blown away by Chance's respect for classic boy bands. "If he’s a fan and he’s 25, what does that mean? What? You were a fan when you were born, basically?'"
McLean adds, "He was such a stand-up guy. Really, really, an amazing human being. I’ve been a fan for the longest time. So, it was awesome."
Ugh, I knew it!
McLean tells me creating the commercial was a very "hush-hush" process, but "it’s definitely going to be worth the wait."
The 41-year-old father of two cites his and his bandmates' children as sources of inspiration to continue working hard and pursuing their dreams, and even took a moment to reflect on what his fans who have been with him from the beginning must be thinking. "I think fans would probably be sitting back going, 'Are they still having fun? Are they still enjoying it or has it become a job?' And, it’s not," he insists.
We truly are having fun. Especially more now than ever, being fathers and being husbands, trying to set a good example for our kids. Showing them with hard work and determination you can reach any goal that you set for yourself. And, most importantly, you gotta have fun. And, I think our kids can see that. Our kids are the next generation.
Their kids... and Chance, obviously.
To know the most iconic group from my teenage years joined forces with one of the most iconic rappers of today's younger generation to create a commercial for arguably one of the most iconic snacks of all time on one of the most iconic days of the year? That's a whole lot of iconic, man.
I just need you guys to know how much I love AJ. Promise me you understand. He is a true dream.