Desdamona is a rapping lunch lady in new Kmart ad

A year after the back-to-school campaign featuring Da Rich Kidzz, KMart once again taps into the local scene with a new commercial starring Desdamona as a rapping lunchlady. It's a fun spot that plays off her natural energy as an MC, and she appreciated the opportunity to do something a little outside the box.

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"Initially I got an e-mail from a music licensing company, like, 'Hey, we're doing this commercial and are looking for rapping lunch ladies,'" says Desdamona. "I don't even think they told me who the corporation was to begin with."

She sent them a link to her YouTube page, then she got an e-mail that said, "You've moved on to the next round, we want you to do these lyrics, send us a video of these lyrics a capella."

"So I did the lyrics and beatboxed a little bit cuz I thought that might help me out," she says. "A day or two later I got another e-mail asking me to do the lyrics to a track that they sent, so I did that. At that point, I was getting like, 'Wow, this is a lot for something I don't know if I'm going to get.' I don't know who or what kind of competition I'm up against, because clearly they're not just looking at me. I sent them that third video, then they wanted one of me standing up, rapping and moving, so I sent them another video. At this point, I'm like, I better get this gig. It's a lotta work. In total I sent them over seven videos."

Shortly after she was chosen to play the part, she was flown to Chicago to record the vocal tracks. There she met Nikki Lynette, a Chicago MC who would play her rapping lunch lady cohort. "I didn't know who the other people were going to be. I met Nikki at the recording session," says Desdamona. "I already knew Nikki's music, so it was cool to get the chance to meet her in person and collaborate in a strange way on the project." Finally, Desdamona traveled to Los Angeles to shoot the ad over the course of two days. 

It's a fun spot that plays with hip-hop in a way that's funny but not embarrassing, and the use of actual rappers gives some authentic presence and energy to the performances. Desdamona's individual style shines through, even behind the confines of a cafeteria counter.

"I was a little concerned [at first]; I am an MC so I don't want to sound super corny," she says, but was eased by the quality of Kmart's commercial with Da Rich Kidzz. "I wasn't worried about lyrically if I would feel like an idiot doing it. So we made very minor adjustments as lyricists, in the process of the way that it should sound and be rapped. This is the first time I've ever rapped something that I didn't write. But I feel good about what it is, and I don't feel like I compromised myself to do it. It felt really natural, it didn't feel forced. I didn't feel like I was stepping so outside of who I am, except for, you know, the hairnet [laughs]."

Desdamona connected with the shoot as an extension of her real-world work with kids in a school setting, though not as a lunch lady.

"I know there's this whole thing of branding and this whole legitimacy thing that happens and makes people fearful of stepping outside of what they normally do because it could come off making them look bad," she says. "[But] this was a good exercise in being able to have fun and not take myself so seriously. It was super fun, I would definitely do it again. I had a great time. The people were so great, the process was great, there was learning happening. It was good. Now there's a national commercial, which is like, there you go. Add that to my resume."

Desdamona headlines Thursdays on First and 3rd in Rochester on August 21, and kicks off a Midwest tour with MC Longshot at Patrick's Cabaret on August 23.

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