Our weekly column in which writers reveal their current in-the-margins pop culture obsession.
The music video for “IMDABES” has been viewed more than 4 million times on YouTube. I may be personally responsible for watching what feels like half a gillyun of those.
“IMDABES” is when you burn the hell out of cookies and you still eat them. It's for the moment when you know the zeitgeist has popped because your mom saw the thing that you used to like on the “Today” show and brought it up to you. “IMDABES” is the correct response when a situation has turned so sour or just a tiny bit celebratory, it's absurd.
Gmcfosho released this song in 2012, which is when I first saw “IMDABES” — it grew into the hundreds of thousands of views and then hung out just over the million mark until a larger Reddit had its way with it in the summer of 2014. Upon entry it was counter-cultural — nearly outsider art — chock full of lo-fi Web 1.0 features so plentiful, it'd demean its gall and brilliance to list them all.
What I obsess over mostly with “IMDABES” is the shitty clip-art and the MS Paint version of the SUN wearing SUNGLASSES laying down the beat — the only beat, it's only necessary item to launch this much swag (x5).
The artist clearly loves hip-hop, which is why he's able to take vaporizing jabs at it.
Anybody who was nurtured by rap music videos in the '90s will bathe in the warm comedy of his opening line to the first verse, a phonetic play-by play, “Standin on a car / feenga in da air.” From there its nods to hashtag verse; jibes at hyperbole like in Mims' here-today-gone-tomorrow swagger “I can sell a mill sayin' nothin' on da track”; cartoonish violence toward women in gangsta rap; the sweet self-congratulatory laze of rhyming “mine” with “mine”; shameless moneyed boasts as he sips a 40 from atop a car that has one of those pine tree air fresheners dangling from the rearview, idle on an oil-stained driveway; bad green screen, “slow motion” and “araseddfasdfis.”
It's splendid web detritus Gmcfosho made with his pals. It has legs because he genuinely cared to enough to set the lyrics (and a man) on fire. He was also conscious enough to keep it light and work it in his favor; he's got a damn fine Etsy page, the snake eyes its own tail.
I send this video to friends when they've done me a solid, or quote it — in the voice — to demarcate when a fad has jumped the shark. I think of this video when I feel bogged down by culture and media and art and gender and money and adulthood. 'Cause when in doubt, imdabes.