Why Meme Music Is a Legitimate Genre

By Kelsey Tang

Back in the early days of LOLcats and Ragecomics, the Internet was still learning to channel its bizarre humor into the form of a phenomena called memes. Now memes can come in a variety of vehicles: comics, gifs, those iconic templates with the text at the top and bottom. Arguably, one of the most compelling vehicles to express a meme is via music.

In order to understand what exactly is meme music, we first have to define what is a meme. Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, a.k.a. Father of Memes, first coined the term in his book The Selfish Gene:

“Anything that spreads by imitation — as genes spread by bodily reproduction or viral infection — is a meme… An internet meme is a hijacking of the original idea.”

In the early 2000s, the Internet’s most experimental minds hijacked particular songs, immortalizing them to become the beloved meme anthems we know and love today.

As of recently, already well-established artists are cashing in on the Internet’s inside jokes, deliberately composing meme music with the same professionalism that they would normally approach their craft with. Kanye West’s “Lift Yourself” released a nonsensical verse that soon became the subject of countless meme content:

Poopy-di scoop
Whoopity-scoop, whoop-poop

Since “Lift Yourself” began as original content, is it still considered meme music? Are we possibly entering a new era of meta-memes — memes that are aware of its meme-y nature?

Watch the video below to learn more.

Edward Chao