Hollywood loves a talking baby—whether that’s with a fantastically strange tale of corporate greed (see: Boss Baby) or a surprisingly poignant account of babies speaking long before babies should actually speak (see: the Look Who’s Talking franchise)—so it was really only a matter of time until someone created a narrative featuring a real famous baby who can talk. The famous baby in question? Asahd Khaled. The talking? Well, that’s actually Kevin Hart’s voice.
In the bizarre-yet-delightful 60-second Apple Music spot, Asahd is shown to be a wheeling and dealing baby who, despite being in a high chair, knows his worth and makes fun of his father’s catchphrases, much to the surprise of his father, former Adweek cover star, DJ Khaled.
“I’ve been in the music business for a long time and I’ve never seen a campaign like this, with this much buildup for the biggest summer anthem,” DJ Khaled told Adweek, noting that the ad teases his new song, “No Brainer.”
Khaled continued: “It’s flying up the charts like a rocket. It’s going to be billions of views. Right now, we’re talking to you in the first four hours of the release.”
The spot, directed by Anthony Mandler, kicks off what will be a three-part commercial series featuring DJ Khaled and Asahd. While Asahd has done a cameo for Weight Watchers and has other brand deals, with this “Apple Music [ad] he really put his Denzel to it,” said DJ Khaled.
Larry Jackson created the concept, asking DJ Khaled to talk back-and-forth with his son, but Asahd would “say some things you might not like,” explained DJ Khaled. “I’m like, ‘What do you mean? We can’t have that.’ He’s like, ‘Nah it’s going to be funny, it’s going to be entertaining.'”
“It took me a while to agree on the script because my son, it’s family,” said DJ Khaled. “He’s already negotiating his numbers—it’s scaring me! I agreed to it because it was funny and Mama Asahd [Nicole Tuck] agreed to it, my beautiful queen, nothing can happen without Mama Asahd and Father of Asahd to agree.”
DJ Khaled continued: “Larry came to my queen and myself and we agreed. We thought this would be beautiful and fun. Also [that it would] make people smile and laugh, show the growth of Asahd—he’s a coming up young mogul for all the young moguls out there.”
“When we were doing this, when they brought this idea to me, I was like, ‘We have to get Kevin Hart to be Asahd’s voice.’ I asked Kevin Hart and Kevin Hart was said, ‘Anything for Asahd. Anything for the Khaled family, no problem,’” said DJ Khaled. “I want to thank Kevin Hart for really taking the time to do this amazing voiceover because he’s such a busy guy, he’s big.”
While Kevin Hart handled the voice of Asahd, the production also had to work with a special effects team to make it look like Asahd was actually speaking. That’s where Method Studios’ Ed Ulbrich, the man behind effects for films like Titanic and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, came in.
The release dates of the other two spots have yet to be determined, according to DJ Khaled, who explained that the spots are “ready, they’re in the can. Larry Jackson plotted this out a long time ago and I just added steroids to it to connect with the album, Father of Asahd.”