When news broke last week that Vine would be discontinuing its mobile app, it marked the end of a specific *weird Internet* era. Due to its six second time limit and self-referential video format, and because it existed as a standalone product outside its parent company Twitter, new Vine users faced many barriers to entry.
But out of this confusion and its restrictions Vine sprang a creative, renegade form of video and humor and internet culture. It was a meme you created, also complete with sound. The six-second looping repeated the punchline again and again, making the joke funnier and funnier as it seeped into your brain. We wouldn’t have cultural moments like “eyebrows on fleek” and “damn Daniel” without Vine. Like most internet media, Vine became a short-form language individuals used to express themselves and communicate.
Vine also had flanking effect on the music industry: the Vine song. Again, because of the six-second format, a Vine song wasn’t really about a song. Not really. Instead a Vine song whittled away a record to its most essential—or most entertaining—moment. Think of it as the break in an old disco record: when, in the song, are people dancing?
Oh and how the people loved breaking it down on a loop. Vine—and black teens—served as an incubator for many dance crazes that took over the culture. The Whip, the Quan, dabbing, the Schmoney Dance, that new fist-pump throwdown people love. All from Vine.
So with Vine approaching its end, here’s a lookback at some of the classic Vine songs that likely wouldn’t have reached our eyes without the social media platform.
A prime Vine song. I’ve watched this video about 100 times and the bubbling twist always gets me. This type of humor couldn’t live anywhere else.
Silentó—“Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)”
Back in innocent times when the whip was still cool.
Chedda Da Connect—“Flicka Da Wrist”
Often the joke was simple: Throw together a classic or old-school piece of media, with a song from today. Try not watching Romeo & Juliet now without hearing “Flicka Da Wrist” in your head.
iLoveMemphis—“Hit The Quan”
There is little to no people hitting the quan in this Vine. But it’s a fun reminder of how kids interpreted songs for their own goofy means.
Bobby Shmurda—“Hot N****”
#shmoneydance. It’s like the pre-req to internet culture 101. If you don’t know it, that lanky, lazy bop Bobby Shmurda hits, maybe this post isn’t for you.
Did Drake need Vine for “Hotline Bling” to blow up? Absolutely not. But that video served as reminder of Drake’s throne as Internet King. Dude memed himself for the DIY-ers and collagists to play with, and it made him look somehow cooler. This Vine is just one of many parodying Drake’s goofy-ass dancing.
OG Maco—“U Guessed It”
This is a classic example of a Vine song: one great phrase others can caption themselves saying. The song follows more of a comedy format than a musical one—that twinkling piano sets up the “U Guessed It” punchline and the repetition only underscores the joke.
Sometimes, it’s better not to know.
We Are Toonz—“Drop That #NaeNae”
The world of Dance Vine is a mesmerizing one.
Lil Yachty—“1 Night”
Boat had a small following on Vine beforehand, but he’s also pretty much an IRL meme doubling as rapper. That isn’t a criticism. He just sounds like a mashup of weird internet culture and 90s nostalgia and #millennial and mixtape rap. So of course he made a great Vine song.
Kanye West—“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”
Again: Kanye didn’t need Vine. He hosted a massive listening party at Madison Square Garden. Exposure isn’t in Kanye’s worries. But Vine provided a way listeners could express how the song made them feel and share with one another. Most mornings after this song dropped had someone else meme-ing or Vine-ing this record’s glorious beat drop to perfection. This is just one of many.
Nick Fraser—“Why You Always Lying”
Vine’s peak. This bit was so good, he turned it into a full-length song, not the other way around.