Lil Wayne's “Lollipop (Remix)”
There are a ton of songs about or inspired by Dallas, and they say a lot about who we are. So each week in this space, we'll take a closer week at one of these songs — and we'll try to determine what, exactly, they say about this great city of ours. Check out this feature's archives here.
Though he had already put out five well-received albums and was steadily earning a reputation as a guest-verse killer that often outshined the other rappers whose tracks he appeared on, 2008 found Lil Wayne preparing to make a case for himself being the biggest rapper on the planet.
That March, Weezy released “Lollipop,” the first single from his sixth LP Tha Carter III, a song that dominated the charts all year, and one that cemented his place as the hottest thing going at the time. By the year's end “Lollipop,” had sold 9.1 million digital copes — more than any other single that year — and eventually earned Wayne a “Best Rap Song” Grammy.
But it was the officially released remix of the track that featured a guest verse from Kanye West and a few lines about Dallas. In his verse, Yeezy offers up the following metaphors: “Tell her, 'Girl, like Doritos, that's nacho cheese' / Tell her friends, 'Like Fritos, I'm trying to lay' / I can't only have one and I ain't tryin' to wait.”
While Frito-Lay's flagship plant in Irving now churns out over 50 tons of Doritos chips a day, the company's origins were much more humble. Back in 1932, Charles Elmer Doolin of San Antonio started The Frito Company with nothing but a hand-held potato ricer, a recipe and 19 accounts that he'd purchased from an established corn chip manufacturer for a $100. Doolin's daily yield back then was a mere 10 pounds of chips.
By 1933, the company had moved its headquarters to Dallas where it had also recently opened up a production line. In 1945, the company had also licensed its product regionally to the Atlanta-based H.W. Lay & Company. Then, in 1961, the two companies merged to form the Dallas-based Frito-Lay Inc, the largest snack food company in the country. This is also around the time when the company introduced that “Betcha can't eat just one” slogan that Kanye so wittily referenced.
At that time, the company's main four brands were Fritos, Lays, Cheetos, and Ruffles. But that would soon change, of course.
While the two companies were in the midst of joining their operations in 1961, Frito-Lay's marketing executive, Arch West (no relation to Kanye), was on vacation with his family in San Diego. It was there he stumbled upon a little shack selling fried tortilla snacks of its own. He brought some chips back to show his bosses in Dallas, though they were initially unconvinced of the snack's potential.
Without their knowledge, West finagled around some money from some research and development accounts, and began, somewhat secretly, developing and testing his new chips in markets in California.
West called his chips Doritos — a sort of Americanization of the Spanish word doradito, which translates roughly to “little bits of gold.” And, after finding success in test markets, Frito-Lay officially put Doritos on the market in 1966. The following year, the company introduced a taco-flavored version of the popular chips. In the years since, the company has put over 100 different flavors of Doritos on the market, including the 29 different varieties it currently offers.
It's most dominant flavor, though — and the one that now accounts for more than half of the brand's sales these days — is, in fact, the very nacho cheese variety that Kanye referenced in his verse. That flavor first hit the market in 1972.
While nacho cheese Doritos are undeniably one of the most dominant chips on the market, one has to wonder if the chip's success would have been possible without a few other local, nacho-related breakthroughs.
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After fast-thinking Piedras Negras maitre d' Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya first put tortilla chips, cheese and jalapenos in a salamander broiler and lent the resulting dish his own nickname in 1943, the dish was enjoyed primarily by Texans.
In 1976, concessionaire Frank Liberto of Ricos products developed a cheap, liquid cheese product that could not only be quickly pumped onto chips, but that had an extremely long shelf life without needing to be refrigerated. That year, he began selling the first ballpark-style nachos at Arlington Stadium, where they were an immediate success. How popular were they? Well, Liberto sold his nachos to one in every 2.5 patrons in the park. The next-highest seller, popcorn, was only purchased by one out of every 18 patrons.
By 1978, the idea had caught on at nearby Texas Stadium where nachos were available for the first time at Dallas Cowboys games. During the first Monday Night Football game of that season — a contest between the Cowboys and Colts — commentators Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, and Don Meredith were served ballpark nachos for the first time. Cosell, in particular, was so taken with the dish that he began using the term “nachos” to describe great plays throughout the game, i.e. “What a nacho run that was!”
Needless to say, nachos soon became a staple in every sports stadium and arena in the country, as well as in movie theaters and the like. It wasn't long after that pretty much everyone in the country knew exactly what the term “nacho cheese” meant.
We should mention here that nachos weren't Arlington Stadium's only innovation that was later copied in just about every other athletic presentation in the country. According to the City of Arlington's website, the ballpark was also the first to come up with the dot race concept.
And, according to his Dallas Morning News obituary, Arch West was also the brainchild of one more major chip-related innovation: When his pal Dave Pace lamented that his company's picante sauce wasn't selling like it should, it was West that suggested he have stores move the salsa from the ketchup aisle to the chip aisle.
Despite the many snack products that West helped pioneer — he developed ad campaigns for Jell-O, for instance — he will forever be known as the guy that invented Doritos.
Fitting, then, that just before this mastermind behind the rise of the third-largest food brand in America was buried, West's family threw Doritos into his grave. For the record: They went with original flavor Doritos with their toss.
Said the family: They were trying to avoid the orange-stained fingers.