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Memes in Hip-Hop: How Memes Are Helping Artists Reach the Top

In the era of social media networking, advertising has taken many conventional formats with the most popular form appealing to humor through the use of memes. Memes are older than social media as they were cultivated from online forums, and lately, the use of memes in hip hop has proven to be a viable form of promotion by artists who want to top the music charts.

Memes in Hip-Hop

Memes are highly by promoters and influencers because they are easy to make and there are online tools that are easily available for public use such as Adobe Spark’s meme maker. You’d be a liar if you said you haven’t noticed the impact of memes on the hip-hop scene. Here are some of the most notable cases below where memes have been used to promote music:

Rae Sremmurd’s Black Beatles

Black Beatles rose to the top of the Billboard singles chart after being used as the soundtrack to the Mannequin Challenge which was an online sensation. The Mannequin Challenge done by students in Colony High School, California, used ‘Black Beatles’ in their clip and this set off a chain of clips all using the song as the background for their very own version of the Mannequin Challenge.

The following night, Rae Sremmurd performed in Denver and they led the crowd in its own version of the challenge. The video posted on Twitter garnered over 60,000 retweets. In one meme-filled week, the song rose from ninth to first on the chart.

Migos’s Bad and Boujee

A lot of people were aware of this song way before they even listened to it or watched the music video. The song was the inspiration of so many memes on the internet.

When the song was released on the 28th of October 2016, it debuted at no.76 on Billboard’s Hot 100 songs chart. It was not only until December after Black Twitter woke to the song because of its trap beat that you can’t help but dance too with that catchy chorus. As a result, a wave of memes inspired by the song hit the internet and the song rose to the no.1 spot, knocking down Rae Sremmurd’s Black Beatles, a song that was also promoted by meme culture.

Old Town Road by Lil Nas X

Lil Nas X was a 19-year-old dropout from college who didn’t have a job just a year ago. Fast forward a year later, he has had a song that he made off of a rap beat he bought online, sitting at the top of the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 for more than 5 weeks. So how did an unknown artist achieve this?

Lil Nas X first uploaded the song on SoundCloud and was not anticipating such an overwhelming reaction. Old Town Road became the soundtrack to a dance challenge on the social network platform known as TikTok and the song rocketed. The song has since become a cultural phenomenon and has seen the likes of Nine Inch Nails react to it as well as Billy Ray Cyrus record a remix that topped the charts.

Lil Nas X now has a deal with Columbia Records.

‘Some People Make Millions, Other People Make Memes’

Popular hip-hop artist J Cole said that referencing the use of memes in the hip-hop industry. Hip-hop artists use memes to boost themselves and their music to new galactic levels. During his beef with Meek Mill, Drake ran a slideshow of memes making fun of his rivaling rapper while he was performing his diss track towards Meek Mill.

Upcoming rappers as well as established rappers have learned the power of the internet and are using them to become mainstream. Keep reading our blog to stay updated on news and information about the hip-hop industry.

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