In Fortnite, there’s a character who is more or less a human-sized ice cream cone with arms, legs, and–on top of everything else–a face. And this week, to kick off Fortnite’s No Sweat Summer event, he’s released a suggestive hip-hop song and dance about eating ice cream that’s got everybody in the metaverse losing their minds in one way or another. Nobody’s neutral here. Folks either love the new in-universe song by sentient ice cream cone Lil Whip, or they find it profoundly horrible.
For me, the new emote corresponding with Lil Whip’s hip-hop track, Drippin’ Flavor, is a masterpiece of both song and dance. But more importantly than that, it’s a distillation of what has given Fortnite its staying power: this willingness to put a lot of effort into being extremely stupid.
This is one of those things that you kinda need to see for yourself, so if you haven’t seen this beautiful abomination yet, you should take a moment to watch at least some of this little music video that one of Epic’s content creator partners put out at the start of Fortnite’s No Sweat Summer event.
Just so we all know what we’re dealing with here, these are the lyrics for this part of the song: “MMMMMMM/ Lil Whip, Lil Whip Lil Whip/ MMMMMMM/ Take your pick/ Take a lick/ Just like this/ MMMMMM/ Whip it up/ Lil Whippin’ in your cup/ MMMMMMM/ Lil Whippin’/ Drippin’ flavor/ That’s what’s up.”
Remember, this is a song about ice cream, so it’s not sexual! It just FEELS like it is–you can’t mention licking stuff in a song if you want to avoid that vibe–and that’s a big part of what set off the legions of haters when we first learned about the song.
Somebody who’s new here might look at this Lil Whip situation and see some kind of failure. After all, when the emote leaked on Sunday night/Monday morning, the response among the Fortnite community was nearly universally one of disgust. It’s easy to see why: The vocals grated, and the lyrics seemed weirdly sexual for a song that’s just about eating ice cream–Epic may have let things get out of hand with all those “MMMMMMMMM”s. And the dance definitely includes some of those pelvic motions that freaked people out a half-century ago.
But this ain’t a failure. Not even remotely. Drippin’ Flavor is a fun song, and the dance fully owns. I’ve used this thing as my victory royale celebration a few times, and I don’t think I’ll be using any others for my taunts any time soon. I’ve stood in a crowded Party Royale bathroom doing this ice cream sex dance with a horde of randoms, and it was beautiful.
Even Ariana Grande and the Xenomorph from Alien are getting in on the Lil Whip craze.
But what really makes it work is the thing that has made Fortnite work since Epic introduced the battle royale mode: just the sheer gall of this shit. This emote is outrageous. A song about eating ice cream that has weird sexual overtones, written and performed by an ice cream cone man, and I can make Thanos and Darth Vader and Superman and Robocop and Ariana Grande do the dope suggestive dance that goes with it? This is squarely within the box of stuff that I want out of Fortnite, delivered with legitimately high quality. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt this pandered to by any entertainment product that wasn’t directed by Michael Bay.
I’m a simple guy, you know? I didn’t become a Fortnite guy because I love battle royales or because I thought it was an exceptionally fun game. No, I became a Fortnite guy because I could make Will Smith’s character from the Bad Boys movies do the Gangnam Style dance. Hundreds of dollars in microtransactions and a year of “getting good” later, I’m still really just this idiot who wants to make my digital doll do a stupid dance. I play Fortnite for the memes.
And this is as meme-y as it gets, even in Fortnite. Lil Whip also exists as a non-player character in Fortnite’s world who you can interact with during battle royale matches. When you find him, this guy even has some weirdly suggestive dialogue that might come up, such as: “If you don’t want it in a cone, I can squirt it into a loose paper bag.” That’s not dirty at all, but it sure does sound like it is.
I can’t get enough. Over the next week I’ll probably use that Drippin’ Flavor twice as much as all my other emotes combined (that’s probably a conservative estimate, since I don’t even want to use any of the other ones right now). It’ll stay on my locker wheel maybe forever.
This song is a bop, and the dance rules, and the whole deal is divisive in a way that doesn’t matter. Sounds to me like Lil Whip’s Drippin’ Flavor is the song of the summer.