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Top 10 Songs That Started Catchphrases

VO: Matt Campbell
Scripts written by Q.V. Hough The original classics that naturally became part of pop culture lingo. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Songs That Started Catchphrases. For this song, we're looking at the songs that changed pop culture and gave the world catchphrases through accessible catchy wording alone. Special thanks to our users Top 10 Songs That Started Catchphrases or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Scripts written by Q.V. Hough

Top 10 Songs That Started Catchphrases

 
The original classics that naturally became part of pop culture lingo. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we'll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Songs That Started Catchphrases.
 
For this song, we’re looking at the songs that changed pop culture and gave the world catchphrases through accessible catchy wording alone.
 


#10: “The Motto” (2011)
Drake feat. Lil’ Wayne

 
Nominated for a Grammy award, this track was all the business upon its time of release. The flow. The conviction. Oh, and the motto: “you only live once, that’s the motto, YOLO.” For the more adventurous millennial listeners, this concept took hold quickly, with the acronym being ideal for social media hashtags and a way to brand one’s questionable decision-making. The motto itself makes sense IF applied sensibly, but as conveyed in the rebuttal track by Joey Bada$$, YOLO doesn’t quite work for those unable to consider the consequences of their actions. You may OLO but please do so responsibly.
 

#9: “Fuck Tha Police” (1988)
N.W.A.

 
For this controversial hip-hop classic, the inception began in a time when the world had yet to learn of the police brutality thatplagued the city of Compton. As the second track of N.W.A’.’s landmark debut album, and sampling both “Funky President” and “Funky Drummer” by James Brown, the track incited a much needed conversation in society. And though the track ultimately became somewhat of an anthem for the concept of rebellion, it’s arguably more relevant that ever in the age of YouTube and documented police corruption.
 

#8: “Sexy and I Know It” (2011)
LMFAO

 
In the early months of 2011, an American hip-hop duo released an aptly titled single called “Party Rock Anthem”, and by the end of the year, their follow-up #1 offered a comedic take on the idea of bringing sexy back. Of course, the thong-filled music video played a major role in the titular catchphrase taking off, but with the rise of selfies and Instagram, “Sexy and I Know It’ became the perfect way to hashtag the concept of feeling sexy, even if one may not be sexy in the traditional sense. So, thanks, LMFAO?
 

#7: “Who Let the Dogs Out” (2000)
Baha Men 

 
If you’re not well versed on the history of this addictive song, just know that it was essentially distributed to the world in part at least by Nickelodeon. As the breakout single from the “Rugrats in Paris” soundtrack, the track has an aggressive chorus, complemented by the danceable island aesthetic. Of course, it’s the potent delivery of “Who Let the Dogs Out” that essentially allowed the Baha Men to inject the souls of the world with their message, resulting in the one of pop culture’s most puzzling unanswered questions. Who let those damn dogs out?
 

#6: “Born to Be Wild” (1968)
Steppenwolf 

 
In the late 60s, themes of war and love played a prominent role in the lives of many. However, for a certain demographic of the counterculture movement, the highway represented freedom and endless opportunities. With “Born to Be Wild,” Steppenwolf not only anticipated the genre that was to become Heavy Metal, but the invigorating hook provided a catchphrase for hippies, rebels or anyone no longer willing to fight the against “The Man” and a corrupt system. Of course, the song gained momentum once a motorcycle was included for the iconic 1969 film “Easy Rider”.
 

#5: “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (2008)
Beyoncé

 
Over the years, Beyoncé has empowered young women of the world through poignant metaphors, but with this sassy production, the message is blunt and straight to the point: “if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it.” The music video itself has become a cultural phenomenon, but when you strip everything down, the song addresses a simple matter than can often plague relationships for years. Fellas don’t HAVE to put a ring on it, and in turn women don’t HAVE to put a ring on anyone's finger either, but they should at least know what’s gonna happen if they don’t. So, there ya go: a simple catchphrase delivered by a “Flawless” icon. (“I woke up like this.)
 

#4: “Gettin’ Jiggy wit It” (1998)
Will Smith

 
Big Willie Style. It’s a concept that many embraced as Will Smith wrapped up “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and subsequently become an A-list movie star. But it was his debut solo album that managed to both confuse and inspire the average consumer. Back when the world was a little less sensitive, Will could get away by including a slight alteration of a racial epithet in the title, and why? Well, because it’s just do damn catchy, especially when conveyed by the Fresh Prince of all people.
 

#3: “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (2004)
Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell Williams

 
Before this release from the S-N-double O-P, D-O-Double G, it wasn’t exactly appropriate to ask Mom or Dad what they’d do “when the pimp’s in the crib.” But given the massive popularity of “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and the artists involved, things change. Snoop's biggest release since “Gin and Juice”, this 2004 collab dropped it's way into the public pop lexicon like it was hot. Pharrell on the beat. Snoop on the Mic. These guys were thinking ahead, and just the phrasing of the song’s title opened the doors for endless parodies.
  

#2: “Bust a Move” (1989)
Young MC

 
Years before gangsta rap became the new norm, and legends like Tupac and Biggie hit the scene, one Young MC emerged from Queens, NY to give us one of hip hop’s most beloved singles. Lyrically, Young MC unveils a natural flow – something thatkaraoke all-stars try so hard to imitate – but aside from the funky aesthetic and crisp delivery, there’s the accessible title, which doesn’t take a whole lotta smarts to understand. Bust a move. Get your freak on. Get low. It might’ve been built for the streets and boomboxes, yet it survives at wedding receptions and awkward company parties. But thankfully, the catchphrase meansthat Young MC will always be relevant.
 
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
 
“Takin’ Care of Business”
Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1973)
 
“No Scrubs” (1999)
TLC 
 
“O.P.P.” (1991)
Naughty by Nature
 
“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” (1986)
Wang Chung
 
“Hey Ya!” (2003)
Outkast 
 

#1: “U Can’t Touch This” (1990)
MC Hammer

 
Perhaps building on the momentum of Young MC, and certainly the rising popularity of hip-hop in pop culture, a bay area musician doubled down with catchphrases for the catchphrase win. Believe it or not, MC Hammer had previously released two albums before he released “U Can’t Touch This”. It was, however, the singer’s most accessible song, as the singable chorus and powerful declaration set in motion a whole new aesthetic for rhyming and dancing. Oh, and let’s not forget about “2 Legit 2 Quit” – yet another infamous MC Hammer single that coined a catchphrase.
 
So, do you agree with our selections? What is your favorite song that started a catchphrase? For more addictive Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
 
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