If you've been anywhere near social media this week (although honestly if you haven't been, I wouldn't blame you), you've probably noticed a little phenomenon called The Mannequin Challenge, in which teens are freezing in dramatic tableaus to the tune of Rae Sremmurd's "Black Beatles." But what exactly do the Mannequin Challenge song lyrics mean? What's the connection between this particular tune and the current viral trend? Let's take a deep dive
The Mannequin Challenge seems to have begun on Oct. 26, when Twitter user @pvrity__, a student at Ed White High School in Jacksonville, Fla., posted a video of six classmates posing in increasingly elaborate moments. In two weeks, the hashtag #mannequinchallenge has garnered over 56,000 additional creations; @pvrity___'s original post alone has over 4,500 retweets and 4,200 likes.
Almost every Mannequin Challenge has been soundtracked by hip hip duo Rae Sremmurd's "Black Beatles," a track off their album SremmLife 2, released on Sept. 13, 2016. Rae Sremmurd consists of brothers Khalif "Swae Lee" Brown and Aaquil "Slim Jxmmi" Brown, and has been blowing up the billboard charts since 2015, when they won "Best Group" at the BET Awards and gained a nomination for "Top Rap Artist."
For the curious, here's what's believed to be the very first Mannequin Challenge:
So what, if anything, is the connection between "Black Beatles" and posing like a mannequin? Well... that remains a mystery. But I have a theory.
The song opens with the chorus, which, I think, is a reflective moment on the party scene so many of us are familiar with:
That girl is a real crowd pleaser
Small world, all her friends know me
Young bull livin' like an old geezer
Release the cash, watch it fall slowly
Frat girls still tryna get even
Haters mad for whatever reason
Smoke in the air, binge drinkin'
They lose it when the DJ drops the needle
There's a sadness there, a sense of detachment and ennui about the hard partying lifestyle, one which is supposed to bring so much excitement to our lives.
This is also, it should be noted, when most of the Mannequin Challenges begin recording, and it's definitely ironic that the duo raps about people losing it while teens pose like statues.
The next line, I think, is the key. Or at least, could be the key. Is the closest thing to the key.
Gettin' so cold I'm not blinkin'
What in the world was I thinkin'?
New day, new money to be made
There is nothing to explain
So cold? Not blinking? That's exactly what the people within the Mannequin Challenge are doing. It's a comment on the fake aspects of the ~rich and famous~, and begs for a new perspective. When you hit the pause button, you gain the ability to see things from multiple angles. And what Rae Sremmund, sees, maybe, is disappointing. Is lacking reality. Is empty.
The rest of the song continues on in a similar fashion, describing these "crowd pleaser" girls with a detached, almost bored tone. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I don't know, man. It seems to have a pretty hefty meaning when you dig into it all.
Check out the full lyrics to "Black Beatles" here.