Describe Hashtag Rap Here... TV Tropes!
Also called punchline rap
, this is a recent trend in rap, pop, and R&B lyrics where the lyric is followed by a pause, then an unconnected phrase (often a noun phrase) intended to be compared to the preceding lyric, like a hashtag on Twitter
. For example, from Bruno Mars
I'll be banging on my chest, bang bang — gorilla!
Not "like a gorilla", or "as hard as a gorilla", or even "I'm a gorilla", just... "gorilla."
Since it comes at the end of a line, this trope is handy for creating rhymes, and their unconnected nature allows them to be squeezed into just a few syllables without ruining the rhythm. They are also a common vehicle for a Shout-Out
, since (just as with a simile) you can use anything at all that can be compared to the preceding line. In many cases ("Gorilla", "Holy Grail", "Barry Bonds") they're also used as a Title Drop
Various punctuation is used to represent the pause before the "punchline," including commas, colons, and semicolons. On this page we use dashes.
According to Urban Dictionary
, the term "hashtag rap" was coined by Kanye West
on a radio show. Despite the name, the trope is not strictly limited to rap.
- Kanye West claims to have invented the technique in 2007 in his song "Barry Bonds" with this line (of course, this being Kanye, it's likely it's Older Than They Think):
And here’s another hit — Barry Bonds
- Another early example (2009) comes from Drake's "Forever", which has several examples:
Swimmin' in the money, come and find me — Nemo
If I was at the club you know I ball — chemo
He ain't even go to class — Bueller
- Ludacris, "My Chick Bad":
Comin’ down the street like a parade — Macy's
- One of the most notorious and bizarre examples is Lil Wayne's "Bedrock", which compares picking up a woman to buying groceries:
She don't even wonder 'cause she know she bad
And I got her, nigga — grocery bag
- Pitbull, "Back in Time":
- Bruno Mars, "Gorilla", as mentioned above.
- Justin Timberlake does this in Jay-Z's "Holy Grail":
Sippin' from the cup till it runneth over — HOLY GRAIL
- Big Sean's "Supa Dupa" is littered with these, one of the most memorable being:
Till I am the king of my castle — Koopa
- Todd in the Shadows criticized this tactic in his review of Pitbull's "Back In Time". Being a frequent Twitter user, he pointed out that few tweets ever use hashtags in such a manner. He then invented his own mocking example:
Finding out I had herpes was quite a shock — Pikachu
- Mocked in The Lonely Island's song "Semicolon", where they represent the pause after the lyric with a semicolon, and list no fewer than 31 examples of this trope. The first verse is already entirely absurd:
Get ready for a whale of a time — SHAMU
My whole team coming clean — SHAMPOO
These dudes is comic relief — WHOOPI
And I'm the motherfucking monster — COOKIE
- Discussed in these articles: "5 Things You Didn't Know About Hashtag Rap", "A Brief History of Hashtag Rap", "Hashtag rap: a summary"