The 10 Best Music Memes of 2017: Critic's Picks

David Rams


A No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 might be the most coveted prize in popular music, but there’s no better way for artists to immortalize themselves than by turning into a viral meme. As with every year, 2017 offered countless brilliant songs and pop culture moments from some of top 40’s biggest stars, and the Internet promptly put their own hilarious, ironic spins on them.

From Ariana Grande’s gravity-defying My Everything album cover to Travis Scott’s over-the-top stage moves, here are the 10 best music memes of 2017.

10. Ariana Grande stool challenge

When Ariana Grande shared the artwork for her latest album My Everything, fans were undoubtedly excited for new music. More than music, though, they wanted answers—namely, How did she kneel on such an obscenely tiny stool?! Twitter users quickly tried to replicate the pose; Jesse McLaren’s blurry failed attempt garnered 377,000 likes and 125,000 retweets.

More users soon followed suit to varying degrees of success, until finally, Grande herself chimed in, quote tweeting McLaren’s post and writing, “Next week on Mythbusters.” Grande’s cosign meant the white stool meme achieved full-on Internet ubiquity.

9. #NickiMinajChallenge

?How do bad bitches leave for Prague? You’d be forgiven for not knowing the answer; most people never even go to Prague, let alone do so like a bad bitch. But Nicki Minaj isn’t like most people, as she reminded her followers in a June 13 Instagram video. Decked out in a pink jumpsuit and standing in front of a jet, Minaj declared, “Attention: This is how bad bitches leave London and go to Prague. You bitches can’t even spell Prague!” before strutting across the runway and twirling as she boarded the plane.

The post sparked dozens of replications from fans and celebrities alike, including Zoe Kravitz, who shared her own clip on Instagram saying, “Attention: This is how a bad bitch leaves her hotel to go do Good Morning America.”

8. BTS – third one from the left

BTS made huge waves in America this year, winning Top Social Artist the 2017 Billboard Music Awards and stealing hearts on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Still, some fans had yet to identify each member of the K-pop group by name by the time the BBMAs took place. As a result, when they took to Twitter to express their infatuation for Jin, they referred to him simply as “the third one from the left.”  The meme quickly took off, only increasing the group’s social presence and pushing them toward “household name” status in America—all thanks to the third guy from the left.

7. "Name a bitch badder than Taylor Swift?"

On Nov. 10, 2017 -- the same day Taylor Swift dropped sixth LP Reputation -- Twitter user @xnulz posted a photo of the pop star with the caption, “Name a bitch badder than Taylor Swift.” Sure enough, the Internet took her to task, offering up their ideal candidates, including “homemade toaster strudel” and “every single mom ever.”

Some users also took the prompt as an opportunity for a history lesson, submitting female political activists from throughout history, such as “Stagecoach” Mary Fields, the first African-American woman star route mail carrier in the United States. Oh, @xnulz, look what you made Twitter do.

6. Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. album art

Kendrick Lamar turned heads in April when he teased the album art for DAMN., which looked decidedly sloppier and less conceptual than the cohesive, politically charged cover of To Pimp a Butterfly. But he succeeded in drumming up hype ahead of the album’s release, as Twitter users hilariously co-opted the album artwork for their own reaction memes.

Some folks took it even further, re-imagining Lamar as a cowboy and renaming the album DARN., and in one egregious case, combining the cover with 2016’s infamous “Damn Daniel” meme. Artist Vlad Sepetov responded to the criticism in a Twitter thread, saying, “I’m glad that Dave and Dot saw the value in making something that didn’t fit the mold.”

5. Joe Budden angry?

As a member of hip-hop supergroup Slaughterhouse, Joe Budden considers himself a champion of puritan hip-hop virtues. The co-host of Complex’s Everyday Struggle show never backs down from a verbal scuffle with his guests, and in May, he unloaded on Lil Yachty after the 19-year-old rapper claimed that he’s “happy every day.” “That is a lie!” Budden responded. “That is bullshit, and I refuse to have somebody tell me bullshit!”

Twitter quickly turned Budden’s explosive reaction into a punchline and a reaction for, well, basically anything that would warrant a negative response.

4. "Rain drop, drop top..."

If the words “Rain drop, drop top” don’t inspire a visceral reaction within you, were you even listening to popular music at the beginning of 2017? Migos sent “Bad and Boujee” to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 off an inexplicably catchy chorus that took only seconds to memorize, inspiring a deluge of memes along the way. If you hit your crush with a “Rain drop” text and they didn’t respond accordingly, clearly they weren't the one.

Twitter users interpreted the final bars as they saw fit, as in: “Rain drop / drop top / I’m Rick Harrison and this is my pawn shop.”

3. Spongebob/Man’s Not Hot? Remix

English comedian Michael Dapaah expertly parodied cadences of several modern rappers with his “Man’s Not Hot” freestyle, wherein he plays fictional rappers MC Quakez and Roadman Shaq. His unintelligible gunshot noises quickly became punchlines for several videos, including a Spongebob clip where Mr. Krabs calls a radio DJ to request a song whose title eludes him. A petrified Spongebob watches through the window as his boss spits molten bars, arguably hip-hop’s crowning achievement of 2017.

2. Travis Scott Concert Pic

Travis Scott’s off-the-wall live performances have long been common knowledge—and in November, they became popular meme fodder. The now-iconic image stems from a video of Scott raging mid-concert, hoisting the microphone stand above his head and roaring during an incendiary (no pun intended) performance of “Goosebumps.”

On Nov. 16, Twitter user @bigracks shared the photo of the rapper with the caption, “I can’t stop laughing at this pic from Travis Scott’s concert tonight.” The post spread like wildfire (again, no pun intended), racking up 101,000 retweets and 288,000 likes and earning the rapper comparisons to Godzilla, Olympic weightlifters and of course, Doodlebob.

1. Childish Gambino “Redbone” Remix?

Childish Gambino scored the biggest hit of his career with “Redbone,” the retro-funk anthem that peaked at No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also scored some of the best memes of his career, starting in May, when Twitter user @chloestixx shared a heavily muffled remix of the track with the caption, “What 'Redbone' would sound like while you’re making out in the bathroom of a house party.”

Users quickly uploaded modified versions of the original, replete with the sounds of people banging on the bathroom door and smashing buttons on a Gamecube controller. @WSHHFANS took the cake when they tweeted “What 'Redbone' would sound like if it was my longest yeah boy ever.” And of course, the artist born Donald Glover himself referenced the meme himself during his set at New York's Governors Ball festival, where he introduced "Redbone" with a long story about being led to the bathroom by a girl at a party and hearing "the perfect song to make out to." 

Play on loop and let the hysterics ensue.


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