Sucka MCs still got nothin’ on Kevin G. His famous Mean Girls rap became a hit along with the comedy back in 2004, but 12 years haven’t erased its legacy. Fans quote the verse to this day, and they even stop Rajiv Surendra — who played Kevin Gnapoor — on the street to recite it to him.
MTV News recently sat down with Surendra to revisit the rap, which went down during North Shore High School’s talent show before the Plastics took the stage for “Jingle Bell Rock.” I discovered he was happy to reminisce about his adventures on set, even though he’s since moved on to other artistic and acting pursuits. He didn’t always love basking in Kevin G. nostalgia, but more on that later.
The hilarious cinematic moment looked a little different in Tina Fey’s early script, which described the character, “Kevin Gnor,” as a “completely American Asian math nerd.”
“They were only auditioning Chinese guys,” Surendra revealed. He initially tried out for Damian, the guy who likely never got his pink shirt back from Cady (Lindsay Lohan), but that part went to Daniel Franzese.
The casting crew, however, saw something in Surendra’s first read — “Lucky for me,” he joked — so they called him back. The bold mathlete was then renamed Kevin Gnapoor, a surname that rhymes perfectly with gems like “make love to your woman on the bathroom floor.”
“Tina [Fey] had written [the rap] as a poignant part of the film, especially for my character, but I had looked at it as comic relief,” Surendra explained. “I didn’t take it very seriously [at first], but to them it was a big part of the movie.”
It was so important that Fey and Amy Poehler recreated the scene to help Surendra prepare. The night before the talent show shoot, they knocked on his trailer door and gave him a video cassette — remember those? — of their performance.
In the 90-second clip below, Poehler raps again and again while Fey, Lohan, and a Mean Girls producer dance behind her in a hotel room. Plus, there’s a raunchy dick joke that didn’t make it into the movie.
“That was really endearing and funny,” Surendra said of the tape. “When I look back it made me realize, Hey, this rap is a big deal to them.”
Fans couldn’t forget about it, either. When they’d ask him to spit those rhymes post–Mean Girls, he refused: “I was like, it’s so long ago. I don’t want to do that.”
But an unexpected person later changed his mind. Now he’s happy to get his rap on and even stripped down for it at BuzzFeed.
You can thank Padmini — an Indian actress and Bharatanatyam dancer who Surendra called the Elizabeth Taylor of Tamil movies — for this change of heart. Surendra was raised in Toronto, but he grew up watching black-and-white classics from the “golden age of Tamil cinema” in the 1950s and ’60s. Tamil, as he clarifies in his new memoir, The Elephants in My Backyard, is both an ethnicity and a language. Tamil people hail from Sri Lanka (where his parents are from) or South India.
Padmini, pictured in the GIF below, starred in hundreds of films. A 2004 interview with the actress moved him to tears, he said, and made him reconsider his celeb status as Kevin G.
“It is only because of those fans that I have had a career,” Padmini reflected, looking back at her life two years before her death at age 74. “As an artist, the most valuable thing to you is to have an audience.”
Surendra was touched by her gratitude. Then a run-in with a Mean Girls co-star — he wouldn’t name names — added to this feeling.
“I hadn’t seen her in so long,” he said, explaining what happened when he tried to say hi. She recognized him yet brushed him off and kept walking. “She’s super famous now, so I understand. But we worked together and hung out and sat for lunch. I wasn’t going up to her as a fan, I was just saying, ‘It’s so nice to see you again.’ It really shocked me because I thought, well, You can’t even say hello or how are you? Well, she doesn’t care how I am, so she’s not going to ask.”
These experiences made Surendra realize that fans only ask about the rap because they love it so much. “Every time someone stops you, you do what they ask, and you should be grateful that they’re actually asking you."
He continued: "Padmini understood why she had become famous, “and she never forgot that. She didn’t take it for granted, and that completely changed my perspective. Being remembered as Kevin G. and people calling you Kevin G. — I really do see it as a wonderful thing.”