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‘Pull up in the Sri Lanka’ meme origins explained with hilarious examples

Bruno Cooke December 3, 2021
‘Pull up in the Sri Lanka’ meme origins explained with hilarious examples

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Since it originated on November 8 this year, the Pull Up In The Sri Lanka meme has proved that it’s got legs. The last few days have seen numerous Twitter users contribute to its crescendo-ing popularity. But where did it come from? Here’s the Pull Up In The Sri Lanka meme’s origin story, plus a few of our favourite adaptations.

Where did the Pull Up In The Sri Lanka meme originate?

On November 8, political commentator and television personality Wendy Osefo appeared as a guest on an episode of The Wendy Williams Show, alongside actor and comedian Michael Rapaport.

During the show, Rapaport asks Osefo if she likes Nicki Minaj. “What?” Osefo responds, apparently baffled. “Am I a Nicki fan?” As in, is it not obvious that she’s a Nicki fan?

Then, in order to demonstrate how much of a Nicki Minaj fan she is, Wendy begins to rap one of her verses. But she only gets a few words in before bungling it.

The line Osefo intends to rap goes, “Pull up in the monster automobile gangsta, with a bad b***h that came from Sri Lanka”. But instead, she raps, “Pull up in the Sri Lanka” – it’s from Minaj’s verse on Kanye West’s track Monster.

Watch the clip below.

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And here’s the whole track on YouTube. Minaj’s verse comes in at 3:35.

What does the Pull Up In The Sri Lanka meme mean?

Wendy Osefo attempted to prove her fandom but bungled it. That’s not to say she’s not a fan, it’s just what happened.

Most adaptations of it – social media users taking the audio from the clip and doing their own skit to it – involve people trying to demonstrate that they can do something, or that they are something, and messing up.

Meanwhile, some have identified other pop culture moments that have a similar energy.

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Or simply substituted the Nicki Minaj lyric for one by another artist – in this case Lana Del Ray.

Others are just… funny.

Who is Nicki Minaj referring to when she raps about her friend from Sri Lanka?

According to one Genius contributor, Minaj is referring to her friend, and fellow rapper, M.I.A.

Full name Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, M.I.A. is a British rapper, singer, producer and activist. Born in London to Sri Lankan Tamil parents, Arulpragasam worked with Nicki Minaj (and Madonna) on Give Me All Your Luvin in 2011. 

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They have collaborated on other occasions as well, and mentioned each other during interviews. 

Arulpragasam’s fiancé at the time, Benjamin Bronfman, also contributed to Monster – the track to which the Pull Up In The Sri Lanka meme owes an immeasurable debt.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.