Follow TV Tropes


Hashtag Rap

Go To

Describe Hashtag Rap Here... TV Tropes!

Also called punchline rap, this is a trend in the late 2000's and 2010's 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":

You'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", "Jackie Chan") 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.

Discussed in these articles: "5 Things You Didn't Know About Hashtag Rap", "A Brief History of Hashtag Rap", "Hashtag rap: a summary"



  • 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 comes from Gudda Gudda's verse on 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
  • Advertisement:
  • 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.
  • Childish Gambino does this a lot, especially on Camp. "Bonfire" alone has at least three examples:
    'Cause I'm a beast, bitch, grr — Invader Zim
    You can fuckin' kiss my ass — Human Centipede
    Made the beat then murdered it — Casey Anthony
  • From the Epic Rap Battles of History episode "Darth Vader vs Adolf Hitler 2":
    Vader: Brain-toss your ass in the air — Yahtzee!
    • "Deadpool vs. Boba Fett" has this:
      Boba Fett: I'll beat your ass with one eye closed — Boba Fetty Wap!
    • "Blackbeard vs Al Capone":
      Al Capone: I'm the MC assassin, slash like Edward Kenway. Raps so hard, call me Al — dente.
    • "Rick Grimes vs Walter White":
      Walter White: Run you over with my Aztek — GTA!
    • In "Gordon Ramsay vs. Julia Child":
      Child: Concede, I've got this in the bag — sous-vide!FYI 
    • James Bond in "James Bond vs. Austin Powers":
      I only need one round *gunshot* Golden Gun
    • "Elon Musk vs. Mark Zuckerberg" gives Zuckerberg a whole verse of this.
      Watch me
      Oculus, Instagram, WhatsApp (post!)
      I'm cleaning up like a wet nap (boast!)
      I drive around in a hatchback (beep beep)
      I'll end your story like Snapchat (ghost!)
  • Macklemore does this in his song "Downtown:"
    There's layers to this shit, player — tiramisu, tiramisu
  • "Shooter" from clipping..'s Wriggle EP goes above and beyond. With 45 uses, nearly every line barring the chorus is an example. Knowing clipping., this is almost certainly a parody of the practice.
    Clerk's shittin' in his drawers — Skid row
    Thought shit was just a hood game — Skip rope
    Shooter read the face real quick — CliffsNotes
    Kissed the shoe with the .45 — Mistletoe
  • Big Sean's part on Calvin Harris's "Feels":
    When I say I want you say it back — parakeet
    Fly in first-class through the air — Airbnb
  • Though not quite on the level of the clipping. example above, Nicki Minaj does this at least 13 times in her 2010 track "Roman's Revenge" alone.
  • Prominent in "Jackie Chan" by Tiësto & Dzeko, where every chorus ends with:
    Now your bitch wanna kick it — Jackie Chan
  • Andrew Huang manages to Hashtag Rap across languages with "Vass Tunga", note  which hops back and forth between English, French, Spanish, Swedish and Mandarin.
    ¿De quiénnote  est le meilleurnote  habilidad?note  Wǒ denote 
    I've been training to make hot moves - huǒchēnote