If this little incident happened 5-6 years ago it would have been one of many similar stories. Brands, trying to latch onto Hip-Hop's urban street cred, would reach out to big rap stars, only to have to renege on the effort when a consumer, cultural arbiter, or the legal dept. discovered (shockingly!) that rappers cursed and rapped about sex, violence and drugs.
Brands got smart - the only ones that stayed involved with mainstream Hip-Hop were the ones that could take that PR hit and declare proudly they were as (supposedly) anti-establishment as Hip-Hop.
But a brand like McDonald's? Booking a 10-city tour in major cities? How can they have screwed that up? I remember before McDonald's launched the "I'm Lovin' It" campaign a few years back. They were concerned with not being seen as "authentic" in the music space. Well, it's obvious, despite the success of that campaign - McDonald's can't be authentic with Hip-Hop until it stops babysitting its customers after they have signed acts for their marketing programs. The time to do the research on Twista to decide if he was an appropriate brand representative was before signing him to do the Chicago concert event. How hard could this research have been? You buy a few Twista CDs, or listen to some of his explicit tracks online somehwere, or you ask for song lyrics. You check the police blotter on the artist to make sure that the most he's gotten is a speeding ticket. That's it - that's all a brand needs to know to find out if the artist passes the test.
What is that test? It's the test to determine if hiring this artist to participate in a brand marketing program is worth any potential negative blowback to the brand. The artist needs to take this test too, but with a slightly different question: will this payday cause me image/credibility damage with my fan base (or is it time I begin to grow new fans or abandon the parts of my existing fan base that would diss me for doing this type of deal)? Both questions boil down to: "will doing this deal result in negative PR?"
An additional question is: how strong will the brand be in the artist's defense once the heat comes down? This is the question that Pepsi faced when Bill O'Reilly called them out for having Ludacris as an endorser. In that case, Pepsi caved... and then Ludacris responded with a salvo directed at both Pepsi and O'Reilly on his next record. Pepsi ended up getting nailed by both Ludacris and O'Reilly because the company decided to stop repping the "Pepsi Generation" AND also refused to stand up to the conservative cranks.
So, in McDonald's case here - they just got sloppy - plain and simple. They trusted someone too much. They felt they had overcome that music credibility gap from earlier this decade... but they never will because they can't embrace the fact that to embrace music and youth means to embrace rebelliousness - at least in some ways. It's embracing the fact that some of the teens that show up at some of its all-nite restaurants are high or drunk or bored and restless. That humor sometimes involves profanity or putdowns, or that dancing more often than not involves close touching. Does sanitizing the youth experience make anyone want to buy more Big Macs? Does it result in more profits for franchisees? If not, then why the charade?