Big Shaq’s “Man’s Not Hot” should have stopped being funny weeks ago. But instead of fading into obscurity, we’re getting great iterations on the joke almost every day.
At this point, “Man’s Not Hot” is a little old hat. In late August, the comedian Michael Dapaah appeared on “Fire In The Booth” to freestyle a song as Big Shaq, a character from his online web series. This video has over 5 million views, and his satirical song was then uploaded all over YouTube and Twitter, taking off first amongst brits and then internationally. The song pokes fun at grime, a specific genre of UK rap. Some of the jokes are references to specific rappers like Fekky and Stormzy, while others literalize British slang. In the line, “On the road doing ten does, like my toes,” Dapaah takes the slang for running from the cops, “doing ten toes,” and turns it into an absurdist lyric where Shaq explains that he has ten toes.
In the United States, this song has brought awareness and appreciation for the genre to the masses. This is probably a real thorn in Drake’s side, as he’s been trying to make Skepta happen for like half a year.
When I first saw portions of this video in early September, it was through unlabeled Twitter videos showing off the refrain, which is an out of control series of bars where Shaq imitates gunshot noises for way too long. This part of the song starts out with Shaq saying, “da ting go,” so using that phrase, I was able to find more videos. It seems like most people had the same problem as me, and the song has taken on a life of its own, frequently mislabeled as “Da Ting Go.” It was kind of a slow burn—as someone who has some friends in the UK, I couldn’t tell if I was just experiencing a meme bleed over effect or if it was genuinely popular. It was, and now if you search “Da Ting Go” on YouTube you’ll find dozens of videos remixing the song. Some of them are actual, genuine bangers, like this mash up with Gorillaz’s “Feel Good Inc.” It has over a million views.
Most of them are quite silly, like this Pokémon theme song remix:
This morning, Compete’s Eric Van Allen sent me this slightly meta version that recreates the song using Starfox soundbites from Super Smash Bros.:
In general, nerds seem to really dig this one. For one, it’s just shitposting gold. Big Shaq’s artfully created, and incredibly silly rhymes are both fun to clown on and bounce jokes off of. It also doesn’t hurt that one of the most known parts of the song is just gunshot noises. Here’s a YouTuber recreating Shaq’s onomatopoeias with the gun sound effects from the game Insurgency:
Earlier this month, esports commentator Phreak referenced the meme during a League of Legends world championship match:
The meme has also made its way into video game mods. Here’s one for Skyrim, which changes the music on your menu screen to this Big Shaq remix:
And here’s Kaze Emanuar’s Super Mario 64 mod that adds Big Shaq soundbites:
In terms of Internet humor, Big Shaq’s freestyle is ancient. It should be dead, but there are new iterations on the joke almost every day. I haven’t gotten sick of it either, not even after watching this in-character lyric breakdown that dropped on Genius two days ago:
The strength of Dapaah’s hilarious rhymes, his performance, and the seemingly infinite options for remixing has given it real staying power. From the first two lines of the song, where Shaq says, “Two plus two is four, minus one that’s three, quick maths/Everyday man’s on the block, smoke trees,” I legitimately start laughing out loud. Instead of dying within a day, like most things on the internet, Big Shaq threatens to become apart of the fabric of our culture. I’d rather have people quoting this than Borat.