‘Tingz of Aubrey’ meaning explained as SNL sees Drake’s ‘exes’ unite

Bruno Cooke December 4, 2022
‘Tingz of Aubrey’ meaning explained as SNL sees Drake’s ‘exes’ unite
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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For NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL) show on December 3, 2022 (season 48, episode 7), women playing the supposed former partners of the rapper Drake took to the stage to “stand up” and “fight” for their rights in a sketch referred to as The United Tingz Of Aubrey.

The episode was Keke Palmer/SZA. 

Other websites summarized the goings-on by saying “Drake’s exes unionized,” or that they collectively “skewered” the Canadian singer.

The sketch revolved around women who have appeared among the lyrics of Drake’s songs, but how does that explain the meaning of the sketch’s name, United Tingz Of Aubrey?

Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK

What is the meaning behind the name of the SNL sketch United Tingz Of Aubrey?

Drake’s full name is Aubrey Drake Graham. Born October 24, 1986, he’s a Canadian rapper and singer, and an influential figure in contemporary pop music.

Meanwhile, “tingz” is a slang term with two meanings, one generic and one more specific. 

In nonspecific context, “ting” is just a shortening of “thing.” It’s popular in Jamaica and the Caribbean. An Urban Dictionary entry from April 2020 adds that it’s also used to “describe a mood, situation or event,” as in Nicki Minaj’s song Barbie Tingz.

But in certain contexts, according to Daily Rap Facts, it can also refer to a woman – specifically, it adds, a “beautiful” one. And Slang Define lists the specific meaning of “tingz” as people with whom one has been intimate – hence the framing of the Tingz Of Aubrey sketch as Drake’s exes “unionizing.”

How understanding the language of United Tingz Of Aubrey clarifies its meaning

If in certain contexts “tingz” refers to the previous partners of an individual, and Aubrey is just Drake’s first name, then the meaning of the United Tingz sketch starts to take shape.

iHeartRadio Canada clarifies that the Canadian rapper has a penchant for mentioning women in his songs. Some of the women on stage allude to this more explicitly than others. 

“My name is Courtney,” says Ego Nwodim, “and I left Drake a voicemail once about an overdue car payment. Now I’m an interlude on an album. How does that work?”

“My name is Keke Palmer and that ‘Keke Do You Love Me’ song ruined my life. That man had the whole Internet asking if I was the Keke. Well yes, I am the Keke, just not that Keke.”

“Here at United Tingz of Aubrey we believe in a brighter future,” the women say in unison, during the comedy sketch. “One where Tingz can be left alone.”

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Twitter reacts to the United Tingz sketch

While it may not be the most scientific way of gauging public reaction to a comedy sketch, people have been responding to SNL’s United Tingz Of Aubrey skit on the platform in a measurably positive way.

One said it was “arguably the funniest one in quite some time” – clearly a fan. Another called it “hilarious.”

A tweet claiming the sketch had its poster “crying” has proven particularly popular. It has 31.5K likes, at time of writing. 

And others still have been posting pictures of people laughing, meaning they too found humor in the United Tingz Of Aubrey skit. One thought to post a gif of Drake himself – or Aubrey himself – saying “Wow” while looking at his phone.

Seasons Of Love, adapted

The cast of SNL’s United Tingz Of Aubrey sing a version of Seasons Of Love during the sketch.

It’s from the broadway musical Rent, and starts off with the instantly recognizable lyric, “525,600 minutes.”

Except the “tingz” of the sketch changed “minutes” to “shawtys.” Macmillan’s top user-submitted definition for “shawty” is “an attractive young woman; someone’s girlfriend.”

It is particularly popular in hiphop lyrics, and has appeared in songs by the Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes, Flo Rida and Pop Smoke, among others. 

“525,600 shawtys,” the women sing in the comedy sketch. “525,600 tingz, in strip clubs, in airports, Black women who live in Memphis, it doesn’t matter if you’ve met him at all, he’s singing about you.”

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Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.