Summary List Placement
In June, Soulja Boy released a song that goes like this:
“Rick and Morty / Rick and Morty / Rick and Morty / Rick and Morty / Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick, Rick / Rick and Morty / Rick and Morty / Rick and Morty / Rick and Morty.”
The song is called “Rick & Morty.”
Referencing the incredibly popular Adult Swim animated series of the same name, “Rick and Morty” has been circulating widely on TikTok since its mid-June release.
But in addition to videos set to the actual song itself (there are over 342,000 on TikTok), it’s also spiraled into a meme that shows TikTokers covering the song in front of gravestones (some belong to famous figures, and others are deliberately misattributed to them), friends, and plants.
The trend started with a video in front of a grave misattributed to President Woodrow Wilson
“I performed Rick and Morty by Soulja Boy For President Woodrow Wilson,” Benjamin Raab, a 24-year-old who releases music under the name The Boy Raabit and goes by @theboyraabit01 on TikTok, wrote in an on-screen caption of a July 31 video that now has approximately 1.2 million likes and 7.1 million views.
Raab’s video deliberately misattributes a grave emblazoned with the surname “Wilson” to the 28th President of the United States. Wilson is actually entombed in the Washington National Cathedral and Raab told Insider the video was filmed in Michigan. But the video sparked a trend of people “performing” Soulja Boy’s hit in surreal ways.
Many of the videos are also set in cemeteries or memorials — and in some cases, appear to genuinely feature the graves of figures like Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy — while others show TikTokers rapping the song for other people or inanimate objects.
While the meme has now expanded beyond its cemetery origins, the invocation of historical figures like Wilson or Davis was part of its early humor, as both Wilson and Davis have legacies tied to racism. Vox reported that Wilson resegregated the federal government and defended the Ku Klux Klan during his tenure, while Davis was the pro-slavery president of the Confederacy. The idea of disturbing their eternal rests by yelling the words “Rick and Morty” at their graves is part of the joke.
The trend’s creator was inspired by another rapper who performed for gravestones
Raab, whose Woodrow Wilson video sparked the larger trend, told Insider that the inspiration came from another creator and rapper named Yung Smiley.
While Yung Smiley’s original TikTok account (under the handle @yungsmiley1) appears to no longer be available, videos are scattered online that appear to show the artist rapping his song “Saks” (or “Saks! 2”) in front of gravestones, including one that does appear to belong to writer Mark Twain.
RIP mark twain you would’ve loved saks 2 by yung smiley pic.twitter.com/t0ds6nprlr
— philadelphia excellence (@thebigkhalifa) August 2, 2021
While many of Raab’s earlier videos didn’t receive much attention, the “Rick and Morty” one struck viral gold. Raab has gone to capitalize on the fame on TikTok with further “Rick and Morty” videos of a similar ilk.
According to Raab, the graves in the videos are from “a few different cemeteries spanning across West Michigan,” where Raab is based.
Raab wanted to “stress the importance of mentioning my girlfriend,” who films all the videos and is named Madelyn St. Pierre, because “none of this would be possible without her help.”
While the cemetery setting has drawn some criticism, with some saying in the comments of Raab’s videos that the graveside performances are disrespectful, the creator told Insider in a direct message that “the positive feedback” outweighs “the negative.”