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Hashtag Rap
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' "Gorilla":
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.

Examples

  • 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
    • Also showed up in Drake's "Over":
      Two thumbs up — Ebert and Roper
      I could teach you how to speak my language — Rosetta Stone
  • 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
    • Also from "Bedrock":
      And I keep her runnin' back and forth — soccer team!
  • Pitbull, "Back in Time":
    And fought blind against the world — Ray Charles
    • Remarkably enough, this isn't the first hashtag rap involving Ray Charles. Lil Wayne already did it in J.R. Writer's "Bird Call" in 2009:
      But ya'll can't see me — Ray Charles
  • 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
    • And it's not the first time Justin has done hashtag rap in a guest verse. As noted in this article, he did it in FreeSol's "Role Model" in 2011, including a reference to his controversial 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show:
      This shit got me amped up — Ritalin
      Oops, did I take it too far? — Super Bowl
  • 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
    • And then it turns out they're all examples of colons, for which Solange — playing an English teacher — fails them.
  • Discussed in these articles: "5 Things You Didn't Know About Hashtag Rap", "A Brief History of Hashtag Rap", "Hashtag rap: a summary"

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