How Jimmy Iovine, Jay Z & The World Cup Broke Alex Da Kid's New Signees X Ambassadors & Jamie N Commons

"Jungle" may be on its way to becoming one of the most ubiquitous songs of 2014. The track - a collaboration between Brooklyn quartet X Ambassadors and British singer Jamie N Commons, both signed to producer Alex Da Kid's Interscope subsidiary KidInaKorner - is featured in an epic Beats by Dre World Cup commercial, which, with Lil Wayne, LeBron James and other stars acting as human product placement, has clocked more than 15 million views. But it also has appeared in trailers for Orange Is the New Black's new season, Michael Bay's film Almanac, NBC's The Blacklist and Electronic Arts' Battlefield: Hardline video game. On June 15, a remix featuring Jay Z was unveiled during game five of the NBA Finals and, in a groundbreaking move, made available exclusively on Beats Music - helping "Jungle" debut at No. 100 on the June 28 Billboard Hot 100 and rise 20-11 on Hot Rock Songs. Here's how it came together.

Sam Harris, X Ambassadors: I first heard Jamie when we signed with Alex. Immediately, I said, "We have to collaborate with this guy somehow." He sounds like a 60-year-old black man trapped in the body of this lanky British dude. A couple months later, I got this track Alex did with Mike Del Rio. It brought to mind a concrete jungle, and my experience of moving to New York with my brother [and bandmate] Casey. Not to make it a pity party - my brother's a bad-ass - but he's been blind since birth, and I'd been witnessing how rude people are to him, bumping into him. Once some guy knocked his cane onto the subway tracks. The song came from that everyday jungle he has to maneuver. The words fell into place. I recorded it in my girlfriend's kitchen - that's what you hear on the record. Alex loved it, and said he was on his way to a session with Jamie.

Jamie N Commons: I started expanding on Sam's idea of the city being hard. I was just moving to L.A. at the time and definitely going through those emotions: a new place, not knowing anyone in a city that's very populated but very lonely. What's on the record is pretty much the first time I sang it. It was done really quick because they needed to get it over to the [sync staff] for them to check it out.

Alex Da Kid: When you're breaking new artists, you've got to use as many platforms as you can. We use syncs - it's a great step before radio. We did it with [Imagine Dragons'] "Radioactive": Nobody remembers the number of syncs we had before it hit. I knew we had to get "Jungle" to key brands, films, people. Jimmy [Iovine, Beats CEO and former Interscope Geffen A&M head] was one of them.

Omar Johnson, Beats Music, chief marketing officer: There's this culture at Beats. We'll go make a commercial, then we literally sit in a room and Jimmy gets out the secret iPod, and we'll play music. And then a song plays and [snaps fingers] - done! We had a huge track from a huge artist for this World Cup commercial. But the moment we heard "Jungle," we said, "Nope, that's the right song."

Alex Da Kid: I was at Jimmy's and we were thinking about how to make this an event. I left, and later I heard he and Omar had gotten Jay Z.

Steve Berman, Interscope vice chairman: It's been great watching Beats. Whenever there's a twist, they say "Art evolves" and pivot: The original of the song was in the TV spot, but then Jay Z did the remix and Beats recut the ad and dropped it in the NBA Finals. When you're introducing a group and have an interesting track to support it, it's about building awareness.


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