For those unfamiliar with the term, "hashtag rap" refers to a delivery device in rap where the MC, instead of using "like" or "as a" in setting up a simile, just cuts straight to the word for emphasis. It’s a common tactic especially in the world of battle rap, where lines like these (usually "I’ll put [x] in a box") have become endlessly parodied clichés in and of themselves. In "Semicolon," their latest video for YouTube Comedy Week, the Digital Short veterans of The Lonely Island riff on the concept, with most welcome help from Maya Rudolph and Solange, who makes cheesy lines like "We run the game/Umpire/we chase the night/Young Squire" sound ever so smooth.
Of course, within about 30 seconds of watching this video, those familar with the rules of grammar will notice that The Lonely Island and Solange are using the semicolon incorrectly. Instead of using the punctuation mark to separate two independent clauses, they use it to separate an independent clause from a word for emphasis, the typical job of a colon. And, as Slate’s David Haglund points out, there are a few other errors in need of a copy edit. But maybe that was the point of it all, to elaborately disguise a treatise on the futility of living your (that’s "your," not "you’re") life as a pedant and feeling better about yourself because of it in the middle of a spoof of hashtag rap. That’s probably overthinking it, but if that was the intention, then good job, Andy Samberg and collaborators.
So, pedants and self-identifying grammar fascists, you should probably beware this video as it will either make you into a victim of trollbait or frustrate you to no end, depending on your interpretation. But, if you enjoy deliberately wack wordplay, kinetic typography and/or the presence of Solange Knowles in anything, you will enjoy this video. Watch.