The cold open on last night’s Broad City was easily one of the best TV moments of the year so far. In a nod to Missy Elliott’s iconic Hype Williams video for “The Rain (Super Dupa Fly)” — you know, the one where she wears a trash bag onesie — protagonists Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson hit up the bank for a fat deposit by making it rain, ’90s rap video style. But the song heard in the scene is not Missy’s, nor is it a sound-alike. It’s a track perhaps better known to Broad City‘s core demographic: Drake’s “Started From the Bottom.”
We spoke to Broad City music supervisor Matt ‘FX’ Feldman, who previously oversaw the music on the US version of Skins and is on the rise among New York partygoers for his TRIBES NY events, to find out why Drake made the cut instead of Missy. As he told us, it’s a combination of things, really: money, relevancy to both the scene and the viewers, and a straight-up love of Drizzy.
“Our editor Nick Mougis threw out this idea of using ‘Started From the Bottom,’ and he sent me this super long email about it,” Feldman said. “I was into it, the girls [Abbi and Ilana] were into it, and so began this nerve-racking six-week process of, ‘Can we get Drake?’ Every day we’d be like, ‘Did we hear from Drake?!’ ‘Nah.’ Abbi talked to some people, eventually we connected with his management. Drake did us a real favor on the price, I will say… And hey, if we can afford a Missy Elliott track second season, we’d love to, obviously.”
(UPDATE: Comedy Central reached out to us to clarify one thing about “Started From the Bottom.” It’s actually the Broad City crew’s theme song of sorts, so Mougis speaks for all! A rep says: “Apparently the Drake song was played throughout the entire day of shooting and it was basically the whole crew’s/production’s theme song. From the beginning, it was always a creative choice from the entire production to use this song in the scene.”)
While a Missy track would have looked like a straight-up homage, Drake’s “Started From the Bottom” is pretty much the show’s mantra… except that Ilana and Abbi are still, you know, at the bottom. The realistic portrayal of this strive towards success is big part of what makes Broad City compelling: each week, New York practically takes a dump on Abbi and Ilana — in the most hilarious way possible, of course.
The music of Broad City also feels authentic to the young New York experience, and not in an expected way. Stereotypes might suggest that a sitcom about 20-something white girls should be soundtracked with your standard indie rock and pop fare, á la Josh Schwartz’s empire. With the exception of a sync from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and a few other rock acts, hip hop and underground electronica reign supreme on Broad City. Matt FX is particularly good at sussing out lesser-known artists deserving of more attention, particularly tucked in the show’s brief transitions. This season he soundtracked an entire episode with RJD2, highlighted a number of artists on tastemaking Brooklyn label Astro Nautico, featured unreleased tracks from producer Hot Sugar, and used a Spanish-language rap song from Ana Tijoux to capture the differences between Ilana and Abbi. Feldman details his findings in videos posted to the Comedy Central site, too. (And for those wondering, the infectious theme music is taken from DJ Raff’s “Latino N’ Proud.”)
All this speaks to the way millennials, particularly in big cities, are genre-less music consumers. For god’s sake, there’s an entire episode centered around the ladies getting ready for a Lil Wayne show, and there’s even an “A Milli” sync.
“Abbi and Ilana love old-school hip hop, so we’ve highlighted that on the show and will continue to,” Feldman said. “I mean, it’s 2014, this is how people listen to music. I’m from New York and I know girls just like this — and they know every word to every Drake song.”