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What Is The Song In The Michelob ULTRA Super Bowl 2021 Commercial?

The world is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, but the show will go on for Super Bowl LV. This year's game will be played at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium with a reduced crowd in attendance that will include recently vaccinated first responders, as reported by CBS Sports. But even though the festivities both in Tampa and in people's homes across the country will be scaled back, one thing remains unchanged: The grand tradition of the Super Bowl commercial.

Most of the year, TV fans avoid watching commercials at any cost, but Super Bowl commercials rarely fail to impress. This year's crop of ads is already making its way online, including a fresh spot for Michelob ULTRA that's designed to tug at the heartstrings of sports fans. The ad features a number of famous athletes including Serena Williams, Peyton Manning, and Alex Morgan enjoying some downtime with their family and friends. 

At the heart of the 60 second ad is the message that happiness doesn't just come from winning, it comes from the joy of making the most of each day with the people you love. It's a sweet sentiment, but it may be slightly overshadowed by viewers wondering what song is playing in the background of the Michelob ULTRA Super Bowl commercial — which is totally understandable thanks to its catchy and familiar hook.

The song in the Michelob ULTRA Super Bowl 2021 commercial is a famous '90s jam

Rather than score the ad to a song that's currently burning up the charts, Michelob ULTRA opted to go with a classic for the sports-themed spot. The song that's playing over Williams' karaoke night and Anthony Davis' chess match is "Can I Kick It" by A Tribe Called Quest. Released in 1990, the mellow R&B song includes several samples, including the hook from Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side."

In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, A Tribe Called Quest band member Phife Dawg, who sadly died in 2016, revealed that Reed actually received all of the royalties from the song due to the band's label not clearing the sample. "I remember with [record label] Jive, there was a problem with the sample being cleared," Phife explained. "I don't think they cleared the sample, and instead of Lou Reed saying, 'You can't use it,' he said, 'Y'all can use it, but I get all the money from that.'"

As a result, "Can I Kick It" may feel like an odd song to use in an ad about finding joy in the process. But in a weird way, it's actually perfect. Even though A Tribe Called Quest didn't receive any of the royalties from the song, the group insisted they're just happy people got to hear the song at all. "I'm grateful that [the song] kicked in the door, but to be honest, that was the label's fault," Phife said at the time. "They didn't clear the sample ... It's his art; it's his work. He could have easily said no. There could have easily been no 'Can I Kick It?' So you take the good with the bad."

Ultimately, the song may not have made A Tribe Called Quest any money, but it did put them on the map. And the fact that the jam is still making its way into ads three decades later proves that success comes in many forms.