This is why Doja Cat’s single ‘Mooo!’ went viral even though it doesn’t make any sense | Social

Last week, South African rapper and artist Cat delivered the latest popular internet meme sensation with her left-field single “!”, a rap song about all things cow-related. No one’s sure how it even got this far, but now that it has earned over 3 million views in the past week, one thing is for certain at this point in time – you cannot deny the influence of social media rap and the gimmicky challenges that come with it.

For the unfamiliar, scenes in Mooo!” range from shots of Doja – dressed in a cowprint pyjama set of sorts – rapping against cartoonish backdrops of hamburgers, or with fries in her nose as she nonchalantly delivers unusual lyrics like, “I ain’t in the city ‘cause they ain’t got lawns” and “Old McDonald had a farm, I give him a titty tryna keep him calm”.

It’s fair to say that few were expecting “Mooo!” to be the rap song of the year. At first, it seemed like nothing more than a bright spark of fun with absurdly low-budget production value, and simplistic lyrics to match. But once I got past that, which didn’t take long, I could appreciate just what the song was intended to do; it was supposed to make us laugh.

In the age of social media, where virality is often a thin line between success and failure, humour and parody make for an obvious but viable career. And Doja’s “Mooo!” Certainly isn’t the first time in history that parody rap has found success. In the early days of his career, Eminem’s role as a jester in his music videos also earned him a series of chart-topping hits.

It’s the same sentiment that effectively gave Michael Dapaah’s Big Shaq and Man’s Not Hot performance its popularity. “Mooo!” is out of the ordinary, an unexpected treat you can’t help but keep fixated on, and the oddity of it all creates an eccentric level of sex appeal.

The ability to be there at the moment when it matters is a feat that few stars know how to perfect. Doja Cat has shown that all it really takes to make it in this day and age, is the audacity to create something quirky, and catchy enough that the shock of it all becomes the biggest contributing factor to its success. On this occasion, it worked on many of us. I’m not sure why I like “Mooo!” so much. The purist in me scoffs, but the fun side acknowledges that although the production is lo-fi and the lyrics are zany, it’s catchy and, more importantly, it’s hilarious.

For parody rap, the internet post-social media became a natural environment for what is often outrageous creativity. And, to give credit where credit is due where online parody rap is concerned, to be able to appear out of nowhere, and deliver a nonsensical comical hit that remains timely and relevant is an achievement in that even the world’s greatest pop stars struggle to orchestrate.

In Doja Cat’s case, what makes the virality of “Mooo!” genuinely uplifting, is that the South African artist has worked tirelessly over the last four years since releasing her first hit, “So High”, earning millions of streams in the process. At 22 years old, navigating a “do it yourself” rap career via social media presents newer challenges in a social driven era where you’re only as strong as your streaming numbers. But to remain consistent and successful at it, is another triumph entirely. Especially for a song that ultimately serves to remind people that sometimes silliness is fun, and that’s okay.

Meme culture thrives on the nonsensical. Once just a digital, post-Myspace language in the age of “banter”, the prevalence of gifs and short videos has allowed them to evolve into a form of commentary on various moments of note. Given the fleeting nature of such phenomena these days on social media, when memes do successfully catch our collective attention, it’s an indicator of the hunger people have for user-focused content.

And nowhere is that enthusiasm for the contrary, for the inane, more powerful, than on Twitter, where “Mooo!” first blew up. It’s often very easy to get swept up in the wave of something popular online without ever fully knowing how or why it came to be. When it comes to the internet, I’ve realised that if I start from a position where “anything goes”, my understanding of a viral moment begins to make sense. I doubt that “Mooo!” is really for me, it’s for younger rap fans who live and breathe social media, but because of its catchiness, I found myself swept along. And I’m not ashamed.

In a time of constant exposure to Donald Trump’s never-ending Twitter fingers, Nazis and CEO Jack Dorsey dealing poorly with the former, I’m past trying to understand why certain moments on Twitter make me laugh. After all, if thousands of adults can find humour in a woman dressed a cow, rapping about her “milkshake bring[ing] all the boys to the farm”, then I’m sure I can find it too.

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