Where does Black Beatles come from?
Black Beatles was released in September, 2016 by the duo Rae Sremmurd, made up of brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi. Rapper Gucci Mane takes a verse on it, too.
In the song, they portray themselves as black counterparts to rock icons The Beatles and reference John Lennon's signature round eyeglasses.
Black Beatles was fairly popular right away, but rose to greater heights on the back of a massively viral video craze, the mannequin challenge, in which a camera tracks around people frozen in various poses like mannequins. Early mannequin challenge videos—credited to Florida high-school students in October, 2016—featured no music. But, Rae Sremmund's record label hatched a plan to capitalize on the trend. In November, the duo recorded their own mannequin challenge video on stage, prompting future mannequin challenge videos to use Black Beatles as their soundtrack.
In November, 2016, an original White Beatle, Paul McCartney, posted his own mannequin challenge video on Twitter. Swae Lee called McCartney's acknowledgement "the ultimate co-sign."
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) November 10, 2016
That month, Black Beatles jumped from #9 (an appropriately Beatles-y spot) on the Billboard charts to #1, where it mostly remained into January, 2017. Its success was widely attributed to the viral mannequin challenge. Pitchfork, Billboard, and Rolling Stone all named Black Beatles one of the top songs of 2016.
Who uses Black Beatles?
Thanks to the video craze, Black Beatles is mainly associated with mannequins.
Black Beatles isn't just a good song to stand perfectly still to, but also the kind of song people like to crank up, sing along to, and dance to.
Many memes reference signing along to the chorus, which opens with the line "That girl is a real crowd pleaser."
I could be in the middle of a fire but if Black Beatles comes on you can bet my life I will remain frozen until the beat drops.
@patgoldberg , May, 2018
Just remembered getting home as mum was reversing off the drive, roof down, shades on blasting black Beatles the fkin g
@AlexLannon95, May, 2018
For years now, memes have been playing a huge role boosting certain artists and tracks that somehow enter the Internet’s weird, youthful zeitgeist: In hip-hop, Vine, YouTube and Twitter have surged the popularity of Migos’s “Bad and Boujee,” OG Maco’s “U Guessed It,” and Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles,” which, similar to “Dame Tu Cosita,” inspired a seemingly random online competition with the #MannequinChallenge.
Julyssa Lopez, Remezcla, May, 2018