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Dawn of the Memes Memes. The newest entertainment of the 21st century. The origins and meanings of some of the public's favorite memes may surprise you.

“Ima keep it real with you chief”

On Jan. 14, 2016, the first appearance of the infamous image of Kermit the Frog with his hand on the shoulder of fellow Muppet, Pepe the King Prawn, was documented on the internet. The meme was first posted by the Facebook group Space Friends, although there is a watermark of the Instagram user @icyunvme_echols on the image. This account is locked, so the meme was most likely created sometime before its first “actual” appearance.

The meme’s format is a simple one where the “Ima keep it real with u chief!!” is put on the top of the image and a satirical text is inserted in the bottom. The image is normally used in an ironic or back handed context.

“That ain’t it chief”

The most popular spinoff of “Ima keep it real with you chief” is the “That ain’t it chief” meme. The pop culture phrase has no defined origin, but it began its ascent to greatness in the summer of 2018. Similar to its predecessor, this phrase is also used in an ironic or backhanded way. But, unlike its ancestors, the “That ain’t it chief” phrase is commonly used when trolling a previous post or statement.

Both of these memes are used in a sarcastic, but lighthearted way. Since each of their inceptions, both phrases have steadily grown in popularity, and now both are a national phenomena. Both have been added to urbandictionary.com, and achieved icon status. Many people believe that the “Chief Family” of memes is the most influential and greatest of them all.

“You Know I Had to Do It to Em”

On July 1, Twitter username @ExhelonWinter dug up a future classic from the meme Underworld. He found a picture posted by Twitter user @LuckyLuciano17k, all the way back from Sept. 2, 2014. The image was in unison with the caption: “You know I had to do it to em.”

This meme is classified as a “Photoshop Meme,” meaning people edit the original to have funny captions or edit the picture itself. A very well known example of this is the green M&M with Dr. Phil’s face doing the divine pose of the meme. There are many versions of this meme, even after two years, the infamous figure remains circling around the internet.

Moth and Lamp

The “Moth Lamp” meme was originally posted by a Redditor under the username of @No_Reason27. The picture is of a moth found outside of their window. It also held the caption “Close up of moth outside my window.” This first post gained over 33,000 points on Reddit.

During the summer of 2018, images of moths being attracted to lamps spread throughout social media. The purpose of these memes are to poke fun at moths being attracted to light illuminated using by lamps. This surge of memes are used in a way similar to “Brother May I have Some Oats” or “Cats Wanting Fruit Loops” memes.

"American Chopper" Argument

The American Chopper argument, Is a classic in meme lore. On the TV show “American Chopper”, an episode aired in 2009 titled “NHL Bike/ B-2 Bomber Bike,” part of the show’s sixth season. In this episode, Paul Teutul Sr. and his son, Paul Jr., get into a very heated argument about Paul Jr.’s tardiness.

This meme first began popping up in 2011, although it was brought to fame in March of 2018. The meme format is a set of images from the argument, with boxes that can be filled with text. The text was originally a comic and wholesome way, but recently it evolved into a whole selection of formats, including: Photoshop memes, Meta Humor memes, Fandom-specific memes, and memes based on other memes.

Fortnite

Fortnite. The recipient of Game of the Year at the Golden Joysticks. The biggest game of 2018 is also one of the most popular memes in recent memory. July 25, 2017 is a day that will forever be remembered as the release date of Fortnite by Epic Games. Fortnite steadily grew in popularity, to the international phenomenon it is today.

As with many major games released in recent years, Fortnite spawned many memes. But, unlike its predecessors, the memes kept coming. Even after two years since its release date, new and improved Fortnite memes are still being created daily. Fortnite memes are not defined to one genre; in fact, some would call memes based on the game their own genre.

T-Pose

The T-pose position is used as a default unanimated state for 3D modeling. The earliest known images of characters T-posing come from the early era memes of the 2000’s. One of the first occurrences of the T-pose is the “Wuss Poppin’ Jimbo” meme, depicting Hugh Neutron from the show “Jimmy Neutron” performing the holy pose. Since its resurgence in 2016, T-posing has steadily grown in popularity and widespread use in real life.

The T-pose is so universal that it has become almost its own category of memes. There are times they are found posted with a pop culture character T-posing, or others where they are integrated along with other memes into a super-meme.

Let's Get This Bread

Let’s Get This Bread, or “LGTB” as it’s affectionately known, has become a very popular phrase over the course of the past 2 years. Its origins can be traced back to rapper Rich Boy in his song “Let’s Get This Paper,” released in 2007. The phrase laid dormant for a decade, until Twitter user @carlyxnicole posted a Photoshopped image of DJ Khaled riding the Batpod from The “Dark Knight”, with the caption “good morning lets get this bread.” Since that first post, the phrase has been steadily rising in popularity on social media.

LGTB originally was a slang expression for earning money, but it has now turned into a phrase that means “Let’s Win!” This meme can be used in a variety of ways, but is most commonly found as a Twitter-style meme or Photoshop meme.

"All Star"

“Somebody once told me the world is gonna roll me…” has become synonymous with the ironic meme community. On May 4, 1999 the song “All Star” by the band Smash Mouth was released. It was easily their most popular song, and was even used in the movie “Shrek”’s soundtrack, where it gained even more infamy.

This meme has been around for so long, and has been popular for so long, it is difficult to pinpoint who the first person to post it was. “All Star.” since its inception, has grown so much that it is, in itself, a meme category. Some ways that it is used are: Somebody Once Told Me, parodies, covers and mashups.

Surprised Pikachu

On Sept. 26, 2018 Tumblr user @popokko posted a picture with an image from the hit show Pokemon, which garnered over 223,000 notes. This is the first known iteration of the “Surprised Pikachu” meme. The image is of one of the show’s main characters, Pikachu, exhibiting a surprised expression. The episode the image appeared in was the tenth episode of the show’s first season titled “Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village.”

The “Surprised Pikachu” meme is normally used as a reaction to something someone said previously or as a meme by itself. The meme has also gained some attention after being used in Fandom specific circles as well. Since its first appearance, the meme has been steadily growing in widespread use and popularity.

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