#Wokeuplikethis: The latest catchphrase to jump from song to popular vernacular. Here are four more. Because Yolo.


The reason we’re all saying we “woke up like this.” (Robin Harper/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP)

If you noticed a lot of people #wokeuplikethis  Sunday, you can thank Beyoncé, who released a surprise remix this weekend of her song “***Flawless,” featuring Nicki Minaj. As noted by my colleague Emily Yahr, the original version of  “***Flawless” is well-known for sampling Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” talk at TEDxEuston. And while a certain elevator fight reference might be the remix’s most-talked-about lyric, both versions feature the made-for-Instagram catchphrase: “I woke up like this.”

Queen Bey is not the first pop star to alter the popular lexicon with new words and phrases. Here’s a look at a few other catchphrases that — love or loathe them — we owe to pop music. (This is by no means a complete list, so feel free to add suggestions in the comments.)

 “YOLO”


“You want me to wear this outfit? YOLO” (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Popularized by: Drake in “The Motto”

Lyrical context: Drake turned the cliched “you only live once” into a hashtag-worthy acronym on “The Motto,” a track from his 2011 mix-tape “Take Care.” The song is about working (and playing) hard. It’s all pretty self-explanatory: “You only live once, that’s the motto … YOLO,” Drake raps.

Real-life context: Generally used to justify indulgent, adventurous or ironically benign actions (a la “I’m going to have another slice of cake, YOLO). The phrase got so popular that the rapper called out certain stores when he noticed YOLO-themed merchandise on the shelves. In late 2012, Billboard pointed out that it would be pretty tricky for Drake to obtain a trademark on the term. And as Forbes notes here, Drake was not the first to use the acronym.

When we stopped saying it: Google Trends puts YOLO at the height of its popularity in April of 2012, but a quick Twitter search proves that people haven’t stopped saying it.

This s–t is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

Popularized by: Gwen Stefani in “Hollaback Girl”

Lyrical context: The lyrics to “Hollaback Girl” are tough to decode, though OC Weekly made a very serious attempt in May of 2005 and there are rumors that the song was directed at Courtney Love. The bananas line is pretty simple, though — Gwen is marveling at something so crazy (bananas!) that she spells it out for you. B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

Real-life context: Fairly identical to the lyrical context (minus any possible Courtney Love shout-outs) and incomplete without the b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

When we stopped saying it: Circa late 2006? “Hollaback Girl” was a hit song in 2005 and there are countless situations to which the “bananas” description applies. But we can say for sure that the phrase was not the dominant way to describe something as crazy in 2011 (or 2012) — that honor goes to “cray,” popularized by that Paris-themed Kanye West and Jay-Z song.

Mo money, mo problems

Popularized by: Notorious B.I.G., Puff Daddy, Mase

Lyrical context: Kelly Price broke the phrase down in the song’s chorus, singing, “the more money we come across, the more problems we see.” The song, released after Biggie’s death, explored the complications of rising fame experienced by Diddy and his Bad Boy family.

Real-life context: Identical to the lyrical context … though your mo problems don’t necessarily bring the mo money comparable to Diddy’s net worth.

When we stopped saying it: This one is pretty timeless. Vulture recently borrowed the phrase to headline a Questlove thinkpiece on hip-hop.

“Drop it like it’s hot”

Popularized by: Lil Wayne (on Juvenile’s 1999 song “Back That Thang Up“)

Lyrical context: A young Lil Wayne describes a series of dance moves: “After you back it up, then stop, then what, what, what drop it like it’s hot.”

Real-life context: As used by Weezy … or to advertise Hot Pockets.

When we stopped saying it: It took a long time. Snoop Dogg and Pharrell released a catchy song titled “Drop It Like It’s Hot” in 2004. That song was the inspiration for the aforementioned hot pocket video, which was made in 2012.

And of course, we’d be remiss not to deconstruct Bey’s “***Flawless” catchphrase, so here goes:

“I woke up like this”

Popularized by: Beyoncé in “***Flawless”

Lyrical context: Beyoncé looks good and she knows it. She brags that she “woke up like this.” It’s implied that we, the listener, also woke up like this: “We flawless.”

Real-life context: Possibilities are endless. Use it as a caption for your no-makeup selfie. Or as an ironic caption for your very made-up selfie. Or to contemplate the images put forth by celebrities.

When will we stop saying it?: Never. This one will serve us all as long as time immortal. Or at least until Beyoncé comes up with something better while we’re all sleeping.

A previous version of this post incorrectly referred to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie “We should all be feminists” speech as a TED Talk. It was a talk at TEDxEuston. The post has been updated.

Bethonie Butler is a producer and a reporter on The Post’s engagement team. She oversees online comments and has also contributed to The Style Blog and She The People.

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Anne Midgette · August 1, 2014