You know you’re getting on a bit when your favourite viral videos are nearly old enough to enroll in secondary school. For fans of comedy, the chicken-based grime track ‘Junior Spesh’, prepare to feel old: this week marks ten years since it was released into the world.
If you’ve never seen it, ‘Junior Spesh’ is a jokey homage to the £1.50 junior special meal served at Canning Town’s Southern Fried Chicken, the closest poultry outlet to the studio where a group of east London teens were recording grime tracks under the name of Red Hot Entertainment. It was never intended to be released. But when it somehow leaked, the reaction prompted MCs Jaxor, Klayze Flaymz, Terra & Ray to film an impromptu video. Which is how nearly a million people came to see the lads goofing about outside SFC while holding up cans of knock-off Fanta and miming along to lyrics about ‘Dr Pep’, ‘ketch’, ‘mayonnaise on the left’. And constantly stressing that £1.50 price point over tongue-in-cheek gunshot sound effects.
Whilst the number of views it earned doesn’t make it London’s quintessential viral smash – it’s a fifteenth as watched as ‘One Pound Fish’ and a third as popular as a pirouetting Buckingham Palace Guardsman – within grime its impact was humongous. Over the years, it’s been bigged up by Dizzee Rascal and Lethal Bizzle, inspired an eponymous fried chicken blog written by Rinse FM DJs Elijah Butterz, Slackk and Bok Bok, and even earned Red Hot Entertainment their own freestyle session on Westwood’s 1Xtra show. They’ve also been interviewed on E4’s ‘Rude Tube’ and when Channel 4 created their 2013 TV series ‘The Fried Chicken Shop’, how did they promote it? By sending Red Hot into a chicken shop to ask nonplussed staff for a junior spesh, natch.
Careerwise, the Red Hot Entertainment boys never scaled the same heights again. Whilst Klayze did create something of a legacy as a chicken-based MC by appearing on a comedy rap about a cheeky Nando’s in 2015, it’s not exactly propelled him into the stratosphere. Strangest of all, though, there doesn’t yet seem to be a blue plaque outside Southern Fried Chicken. Still, there is good news: it still offers the same meal that prompted the song to be written. Nowadays it’s just called ‘Kids Meal 1’ – and it’s £1.89.