Ricky and Morty

Soulja Boy’s ‘Rick and Morty’ Takes TikTok by Storm

It started as a freestyle on his livestream — now, TikTokers are rapping the song about the Adult Swim cartoon in front of historical sites.
September 23, 2021
6 mins read

If you’re on TikTok, chances are you’ve seen quite a few people chanting “Rick and Morty” over and over within the past few weeks, and you might be wondering why. They’re not just hyping up the animated show — they’re actually singing the lyrics to Soulja Boy’s newest single, “Rick and Morty.” The recent TikTok trend where users perform the song to various audiences, dead and alive, is a perfect representation of Gen Z’s weird sense of humor.

Soulja Boy, most known for his 2007 hit “Crank That,” released “Rick and Morty,” named after the Adult Swim animated cartoon, in June. He first freestyled the song on a Twitch livestream while his avatar, based on titular character Rick Sanchez, danced in the background. Since then, the single has taken the internet by storm.

The main reason for this widespread fame is the song’s repetitive lyrics. Clocking in at just two and a half minutes long, the track mentions the show’s name a whopping 39 times. The viral song has led to one of the weirdest internet trends of late.

In typical Gen Z fashion, there’s really no explanation for this one. Basically, TikTokers will approach a friend or loved one, or even the grave of a historical figure, and record themselves performing “Rick and Morty.”

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TikTok user @theboyraabit01 is credited with creating the trend by posting a video of himself rapping the song in front of what he thought was Woodrow Wilson’s grave — although he figured out later that it wasn’t. Regardless, TikTok blew up the song by giving thousands of these public performances.

The longer the trend circulates, the more the meanings the song takes on. Some performances, like @theboyraabit01’s show for Rosa Parks, seem to be a way to pay respect. Others use the song as a way to desecrate the final resting sites of controversial historical figures. TikTok user @prettypantsuit, for instance, performed the song at the Florida Confederate Monument and captioned the video, “I spat on it after.”

Many TikTokers also use the song as a persuasion technique. Some perform the song for their friend group as a way to apologize for getting back with an unpopular ex. Others use the song to get free food from their favorite restaurants. The Kentucky Senate TikTok account even features a video with the caption, “Rapping Rick and Morty by Soulja Boy to the Senate Chambers until we raise the minimum wage in Kentucky,” in which a senator chants the lyrics on the floor of the Kentucky State Senate.

“Rick and Morty” is known for a particularly passionate fan base, so chanting at graves is, surprisingly, not the strangest craze that the Adult Swim cartoon has inspired. For example, many people remember the infamous Szechuan sauce debacle back in 2019.

After a “Rick and Morty” episode featured Rick scouring the universe for McDonald’s limited-edition Szechuan sauce, fans petitioned online for the restaurant to bring the sauce back. The fast-food giant tweeted that they would bring back a “one-time only, limited-edition” supply of Szechuan sauce but added, “When we say limited, we mean really, really limited!” Fans showed up in the thousands to clamor for the tiny supply of Szechuan sauce, leading to riots and police intervention. Even today, packets of Szechuan sauce are listed on eBay for as much as $700 — all because a fictional mad scientist said he liked it. The influence that “Rick and Morty” has on its cult following is virtually unparalleled.

The release of Soulja Boy’s “Rick and Morty” coincides with the series’ Season 5 premiere. The timing created a lot of buzz for both the song and the show.

Despite the silliness of the TikTok trend, audiences shouldn’t be too quick to write off “Rick and Morty” as idiotic. Co-creator Dan Harmon wants to be sure that fans know there is a lot of heart behind the show, which will be made clear in this upcoming season. Instead of one-off, standalone episodes that focus on wild adventures, Season 5 will have more emphasis on character growth and development.

Although the animated format of the show doesn’t exactly lend itself to much change, Harmon wants to keep the characters real, and that can mean big changes. He told GameRant that in the next season, “Morty is getting sick of Rick’s crap. He should. We wouldn’t want to watch him wake up every day and go, ‘I wonder what my loving grandpa has planned for me?’”

Harmon knows that fans love the show’s characters as they are, but he sees this type of growth as organic. “I look at it as like smoking meat versus cooking. You kind of let the flavor of itself happen, and let that change things.”

To promote Season 5, Adult Swim has also released a series of teaser trailers for a live-action “Rick and Morty” special. The trailers star Christopher Lloyd as Rick and Jaeden Martell as Morty.

The grandfather-grandson dynamic of Rick and Morty is loosely based on the relationship between Marty McFly and Doc Brown in Robert Zemeckis’s sci-fi classic “Back to the Future.” However, Rick and Morty’s version of this pairing is much less wholesome and much more dysfunctional. Lloyd, who played Doc Brown, perfectly portrays his character’s alcoholic, foul-mouthed alter-ego in these trailers. Although the creators of “Rick and Morty” haven’t confirmed whether there will actually be a live-action special, fans are inspired by this spot-on casting.

With all the buzz from the song and the TikTok trend, Season 5 may be the biggest season of “Rick and Morty” yet. All I know is this song is definitely going to be stuck in my head for a long time.

Elizabeth Dewit, University of Pittsburgh

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Elizabeth Dewit

University of Pittsburgh
English, French

Elizabeth is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in English and French. In addition to writing, Elizabeth loves cooking, traveling and music.

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