Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles”

Please welcome back guest Dullblogger J.R. Clark, who sent in these thoughts on the hit song and video “Black Beatles.”

If you’re not a fan of contemporary hip-hop music or the Mannequin Challenge, you may be unaware of “Black Beatles,” the recent Billboard Hot 100 number-one single by brothers Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi, the duo known collectively as Rae Sremmurd (Ear Drummers spelled backward).  The song name checks John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and although it does not musically resemble a Beatles song, there are sly lyrical references to the song “Day Tripper.”

In October 2016, “Black Beatles” became the anthem of a social media viral trend called the Mannequin Challenge in which individuals and groups shot footage of themselves standing frozen in place while the song played in the background.  McCartney posted his Mannequin Challenge entry on Twitter, and commented, “Love those Black Beatles.”


Just me, or does this screen shot from Paul’s Mannequin Challenge look like he’s horrified to discover a water leak in his ceiling? –NC

Lee told Rolling Stone magazine that the concept of the song “was about the way you dress, the way you perform at your shows.  You have people who love your craft and your music.  You’re traveling around and living the whole rock star lifestyle.  I always loved John Lennon’s swag.  I like his glasses. . .we always liked their tunes; the whole movement, their style.”

Lee said that the duo met McCartney in 2015 at the Coachella Music Festival, “and he gave us some uplifting words of wisdom.  We were humbled.  It was a rock star moment to have this dude telling us that.  He didn’t even know us, but he was just talking to us.  I guess it was our aura or I don’t know what it was.  He just took the time to speak with us before we even made the song.”

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  1. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    The video is great. A whole bunch of quick references (rooftop concert, small (cavern?) club with cheering girls, crossing Abbey Road, bed in for peace, etc.)
    I hear this song on our local hip hop station every day. It’s getting a ton of airplay.

  2. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    I read the news today oh boy:

    It was 50 years ago today — almost — that Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.

    The English city of Liverpool is getting set to celebrate the half-centenary of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” one of the most influential albums by local heroes The Beatles.

    The city announced Wednesday that it has commissioned 13 artists to create works based on the album’s 13 tracks. They include choreographer Mark Morris’ dance tribute to the title song, cabaret artist Meow Meow’s “outlandish procession” based on “Lovely Rita” and a mural by U.S. artist Judy Chicago inspired by “Fixing a Hole.”

    There will also be a singalong by 64 choirs of the jaunty “When I’m Sixty-Four.”

    The works will have their world premieres at venues across Liverpool between May 25 and June 16. On June 1 — the anniversary of the album’s release — the city will host a fireworks extravaganza by French pyrotechnic artist Christophe Berthonneau.

    By the second half of the 1960s, The Beatles had tired of touring. They played their last live concert in August 1966 and devoted their energies and creativity to the studio. “Sgt. Pepper” was recorded at London’s Abbey Road studios over five month in late 1966 and early 1967, and released on June 1, 1967.

    Incorporating technological innovation and diverse musical influences — including Indian classical, English music hall and trippy psychedelia — it topped the charts in Britain and the U.S. and was instantly hailed as a rock ‘n’ roll landmark.

    “‘Sgt. Pepper’ pushed creative boundaries and we want to do exactly the same,” said Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson. “This is a festival which brings high-end art into the mainstream and gives it a Liverpool twist which is thought-provoking, sometimes cheeky and always entertaining.”

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