Rae Sremmurd have a penchant for memes, whether it's creating them or slipping references into their tracks.
Art imitates life; life imitates art. That's a theory first proposed by Aristotle, suggesting the fluid two-way street between culture and day-to-day life. Were Migos the first to dab, or were they just a nationally-influential platform for a hyper-regional craze that started before they got wind of it? Were Sugarhill Gang the first to say "I said a hip, hop, a hippity hop," or was it already a go-to lyric for many early rappers?
These lines become even more blurred when we look at how our rapidly-advancing technology influences art (or vice versa). All the way back to Prince's constant use of "U" and "2" for shorthand of "you" and "to," musicians reflect and affect the way contemporary kids talk and interact online. From the early dot com era we've got Britney Spears' "Email My Heart"; a few years later, internet pioneer Soulja Boy styled an album title as a URL address, then will.i.am actually turned his name into the URL of his website. Big Sean later had his style deemed "hashtag rap" due to the way he'd end a bar with a pause, and then a one-word punchline ("You're the type to get wet... diapers").
References to tech, digital interaction, and online slang are now a dime-a-dozen, from Yo Gotti's "Down in the DM" to Lil Uzi Vert's recent hook that breaks down his social media preferences. Among the leaders of this new school are Rae Sremmurd, who predate Uzi and fellow king of the internet-loving teens, Lil Yachty, by a few years, but are perhaps the rappers who are most connected to one subset of the online world: memes. The chicken-egg question arose early for them, with their first few singles starting memes of their own, and their next playing off an already-established one.
Our new cover stars just dropped their sophomore album, Sremmlife 2, last night, and due to the fact that there's a handful of meme references on there too, we're stacking up five times Slim Jimmi and Swae Lee either started or piggybacked on an online joke.