Ice cream giant Good Humor enlisted the help of Wu-Tang Clan mastermind RZA to come up with a new ice cream truck jingle to replace the long-used tune “Turkey in the Straw.”
“Turkey in the Straw” is a classic American folk song that dates back to the early 19th century, and like many songs of that era, its legacy is tied directly to blackface minstrel shows. As the originator of the ice cream truck, Good Humor was compelled to retire “Turkey in the Straw” and commission a new jingle amid ongoing talks over systemic and institutionalized racism throughout American culture and society.
Per a press release, RZA’s new jingle “drew inspiration from his childhood memories of chasing after ice cream trucks on Staten Island — blending traditional ice cream truck sounds with jazz and hip-hop elements.” The little tune is centered around an inviting melody of chiming bells underpinned with some steady but soft kick drums and rapid-fire cymbal hits.
In a behind-the-scenes clip, the RZA spoke about his new jingle, saying, “We wanted to make a melody that includes all community, that’s good for every driver, that’s good for every kid. And I’m proud to say, for the first time in a long time, a new ice cream jingle will be made available to trucks all across the country, in perpetuity. That mean’s forever — like Wu-Tang’s forever. And I can assure you, this one is made with love.
The RZA’s jingle will be available to ice cream trucks in the U.S. via music boxes produced by Nichols Electronics starting this month. Nichols Electronics, which is based in Minneapolis — where this year’s protests against police brutality and racial injustice started after the killing of George Floyd — also announced that it would remove “Turkey in the Straw” from its music boxes.