At this point, if there's an emotion you can experience, there's a hip-hop GIF you can use to express it. Collected from music videos, rap battles, obscure TV appearances and more, rapper GIFs have been used to express everything from exasperation to amusement across social media.
If you spot someone saying something confusing or self-evidently ridiculous, you might pull out the Waka Flocka Flame "OK" GIF. If you notice anyone doing or saying something that you wouldn't dare be involved in because it's stupid, you might the GIF of 50 Cent laughing and speeding off in a car. Petty behavior may be up your ally, which means a GIF of Cardi B sitting courtside at an NBA game with popcorn in hand is your got-to. You get the idea.
Over the years, these rap GIFs have been so constant and so varied that they've become their own subset of both our language and the pop culture zeitgeist. As a result, you probably never thought about where, or when exactly said GIFs come from. Most of them are from things you never paid attention to in the first place. The rest belong to music videos, popular interviews and movies. Nearly all of them get used for memes at one point or another.
Whether they're from obscure interviews or your favorite movie starring a rapper, the chances are you've used at least a few GIFs and got some laughs in the process. Now it's time to take a look at the stories behind them.
Today, XXL takes a look at the 15 of the best hip-hop GIFs of all time. Check out the list below to see if your favorite rap GIF made the cut.
Didn't Wanna See ThatJay-Z
Jay-Z unknowingly cemented himself as a future GIF legend with his video for "Give It 2 Me" in 2000. The GIF, which comes from Hov entering a bathroom at a house party only to quickly turn away after seeing something unpleasant, gets used to communicate a hilarious level of discomfort. Essentially, "Yeah, I'm not around for this."
Driving Off Laughing50 Cent
Back in 2009, 50 Cent laughed as he sped off in a flossy whip and left a lame in the dust. That moment took place in an episode of HBO's Entourage, and has since been transformed into a GIF designed to let a recipient know you're amused but unimpressed. It's like a less distressed, more dismissive version of the Hov "Give It 2 Me" GIF.
Whenever someone wants to document something being super amusing or ironic, the Future "sensational" GIF is usually a good choice. In the video clip, Hendrix, rocking a red beanie, shades and a blinding smile, says the word "sensational" as he looks at the camera. The moment comes from a 2014 Nardwuar interview when he asked the rapper about the taste of plain cheesecake. In effect, a question about cheesecake led to the birth of another piece of web iconography.
Jay-Z is jamming, but it doesn't look like he's all that comfortable doing so. That's the essence of why this GIF, one derived from a 2008 Coldplay concert Hov attended, is a classic. Over time, people have used the GIF as a virtual poster for moments when they're trying to vibe with something, but they're not sure they can.
When Kanye West infamously interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards on Sept. 13, 2009, he became one of the world's first memes. He also made perfect GIF material when he shrugged after saying Taylor didn't deserve the trophy for Best Female Video. Throw this one up on social media when you really don't give a damn.
Conceited never planned on being GIF fodder, but sometimes that's just how life goes. Over the last few years, a clip of a 2009 battle featuring Conceited and Jesse James has been one of the most frequently used GIFs on the internet. In the clip, Conceited reacts to one of James' bars by pursing his lips, raising his eyebrows and shifting his eyes in the direction of the camera. The zoom in at that exact moment accentuates a look that says, "I don't know about that."
Waka Flocka Flame was feeling a little creeped out when he became one of rap's most iconic GIFs about eight years ago. For an interview video he did with Noisey back in 2012, the rapper was reading one fan's particularly bizarre YouTube comment that included a remark that they wanted to perform oral sex on him. Waka rolls his eyes in every direction, raises his eyebrows and seemingly makes peace before he begins going through the next comment, and in the process, he creates a symbol for everyone who's genuinely confused.
Soulja Boy shouted Drake's name incredulously when Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club brought up the Toronto rapper during his interview. The moment just before that—when he gets up and walks away—was made into a GIF that signifies that it's time to go and you're fed up.
If you've used Twitter often enough, there's a strong chance you've used the Birdman handrub GIF for times you've been plotting. The clip, which features footage of Birdman rubbing his hands together as he stares at a The World Is Yours blimp above him, comes from the video for his Lil Wayne-featured 2004 single, "Get Your Shine On."
Applause Showing ApprovalDrake
Over the years, Drake's gradually morphed into one of the most overzealous celebrity basketball fans in all of hip-hop. Back in 2015, his fandom led to a GIF for the ages when he suddenly rose up to aggressively clap during a Toronto Raptors game against the Philadelphia 76ers. People have since used the resulting GIF as a way to applaud stuff, usually somewhat ironically. Thank you 6ix God.
About two years ago, The Four contestant Elijah Connor turned in a performance that the hosts for the reality contest show weren't too impressed with. Among them was Diddy. In a possible attempt to convince Diddy to give him another chance, Connor began to stare longingly at Diddy for a very awkward 30 seconds. Unfortunately, nothing but hilarious GIFs came from that exchange and Connor was denied. The GIF is generally used to symbolize someone else wanting something from someone who's not willing to allow it.
Courtside Chillin'Cardi B
Cardi B was posted up courtside at the 2018 NBA All-Star game when her 21 Savage-assisted single "Bartier Cardi" started to play through the speakers. Naturally, she began to bop along to the sounds of the track, and with a bag of popcorn in her hand, she created the impression of someone enjoying the show more than a little bit. Fans use the resulting GIF to echo that sentiment.
Shoulder ShimmyLil Uzi Vert
Lil Uzi Vert's never been afraid to have some fun, and he's sometimes done so by dancing. Nearly three years before he debuted the Futsal Shuffle, Uzi let loose his signature shoulder shimmy. While accepting the trophy for Song of the Summer at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, he did the shoulder shimmy and became a popular GIF in the process. People usually use this GIF to celebrate some great news.
During a 2016 appearance on Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club, Gucci Mane made the claim that host Angela Yee was once sexually interested in him. When she denied as much, a look of shock crossed his face as he prepared to clap back. The moment's now been used to signify shock and confusion on the internet.
Kanye West has been known to have his smile turned upside down, but it's usually his own doing. While attending Game 4 of the 2015 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Yeezy briefly let loose a smile. However, once cameras caught him, he immediately frowned. The GIF has been used to show someone who's initially happy, but quickly learns the downside of some news.