If 2015 has proved anything, it’s that Drake is a master of meme material.
Drake achieved plenty in 2015.
The Canadian rap superstar dropped an album in February that became the year’s first platinum record. A joint release with Future in September gave him a second No 1 album. He gained more than 9.7m followers on Instagram, signed a deal with Apple Music, and Spotify officially dubbed him the world’s most-streamed artist, with more than 1.8bn streams and 46m listeners this year.
But his greatest achievement, and the image of Drake that has been etched into internet history, is that of his killer moves in the music video for Hotline Bling.
Some see Drake’s dancing as goofy, others say it’s hypnotic. Personally, I see it as familiar, then again I’m a little more Hotline Bean.
At first, what struck internet commenters most was how the dancing rapper appears to be always on beat – much like Beyoncé in her Single Ladies video, which, coincidentally, is one of the many tunes Drake has been synced to.
#nowplaying Single Ladies -Beyoncé ft Drake pic.twitter.com/kNOqoYisQd
— …but I'm sleep tho (@nategotjokes) October 21, 2015
No matter what soundtrack supports the abstract neon imagery of Hotline Bling – disco, punk, reggae, whatever – Drake’s dancing is on point.
I'm convinced this is the greatest video on the internet right now ?pic.twitter.com/HB4hS9z8An
— ☁Donte☁ (@DonteAfff) October 20, 2015
Really, it works with just about anything.
Drake dances to the Frasier theme quite nicely. pic.twitter.com/GK0X6iTlsz
— Mark (@tole_cover) October 20, 2015
As fans of Dancing Spider-Man may already know, this phenomenon comes from a perfect combination of repetitive rhythmic motions and our brain’s tendency towards spotting synchronicity, as already explored by Radiolab with Michigan State University’s Devin McAuley.
Maybe Drake himself knows a thing our two about our perception of rhythm, as Hotline Bling choreographer Tanisha Scott told The Fader that the rapper knew the video was made to go viral. “He told me, ‘I already know I’m going to get so many memes from this.’ He was loving every part of it,” she said.
And he was right, because even beyond Drake’s ability to dance to whatever tune is playing, Hotline Bling had more memes to offer.
The graphic editing skills of the internet came out in force on this one, plonking the dancing rapper in all sorts of settings.
He played Wii Tennis.
He met Kirk and Spock.
He started a new business…
… or two.
And somehow managed to squeeze in a game of poker.
This being the year’s hottest track, everyone clamoured to jump on the Drake-driven bandwagon.
And you know a hot meme has gone mainstream when Ellen’s feeling the Bern.
Though Donald Trump’s tepid take with Saturday Night Live very nearly threw cold water onto the whole experience.
But Drake’s dream meme will never die. Just this week, W magazine posted a dramatic reading of the song by 13 celebrities, in honour of its latest cover star.
Keep watching Siliconrepublic.com as we look back on the greatest memes of 2015. Let us know your favourite at @siliconrepublic on Twitter.
Main image of Drake by Helga Esteb via Shutterstock