I’m in charge of the website this weekend, which means I get to spread my suffering to you under the guise of Content. I’m sorry.
Surely you are aware of “Chug Jug with You,” a Fortnite-themed parody of Estelle and Kanye West’s “American Boy.” If somehow you are not, or you just wanna hear the damn thing again, here it is:
The version above is from 2018, but the song got new life a few months back thanks to its viral spread on TikTok, which I am too old to understand how to use but enjoy laughing at the ones that come across my Twitter feed. While the song’s moment seems to have come and gone again, is it ever truly gone?
This particular interest in “Chug Jug With You” started this morning, when I made the mistake of scrolling Facebook. A friend had posted the unusual-for-them message “10 kills on the board right now just wiped out tomato town.” Are you playing Fortnite?! I started to comment excitedly—as Kotaku’s resident Fortnite guy, I spend a lot of time trying to get my friends to play Fortnite with me, which, wisely, they almost never do.
But as I typed, I thought wait, is Tomato Town even still in the game? This is when it hit me, with bone-shaking force: my friend had written a snatch of lyrics from “Chug Jug With You.” It was all downhill from there.
Things went exactly as you’d expect: I remembered how weird and not-funny-but-is-it-actually-funny-oh-no-it’s-actually-funny-isn’t-it-wait-no-it-isn’t-right the song is, so then I looked it up on YouTube, and then my friend shared a vtuber cover so I watched that, and now the song is crashing through my head on an unstoppable loop. Because my brain is uniquely invested in making my soul unhappy, I then thought I wonder if I could learn to play this song on guitar. This led to looking up the chords to “American Boy,” which I was pleased to learn are all chords I know. Then I searched YouTube for “Chug Jug song acoustic guitar.” YouTube, of course, is full of guitar lessons for the song, as well as TikTok duets with John Mayer covering it (remember John Mayer?!). So of course I had to check out all of those, with a couple detours to remember John Mayer before getting back on track, and now it’s difficult to write this blog because I keep typing the words to “Chug Jug With You” instead of whatever I’m trying to say.
Thankfully-slash-alas, I can’t learn to play “Chug Jug With You” on guitar right now. I chipped the nut (that’s what it’s called, let’s be mature here) around my guitar’s high E string, so now chords played on the first fret there sound like shit. A friend has offered to fix it for me if I can perform what I thought was going to be the simple task of measuring the nut and buying a new one. But none of the measurements I’m getting on my measuring tape seem to match the available pieces I can purchase, so I’ve just been kind of putting the task off until I can figure out whether I’m bad at measuring or whether my guitar is weird. I can still play the guitar if I use a capo, but “Chug Jug With You” doesn’t require a capo, and I could use one anyway but it won’t sound the same and then I’ll get all hung up on whether it sounds weird because of the capo or because I suck far too much at guitar for someone who’s ostensibly been playing it for so long.
(If you can cover “Chug Jug With You” on your instrument of choice, please share in the comments.)
This guitar-related digression is exactly what’s wrong with, but also so great about, stuff like “Chug Jug With You.” The random flashpoint of a friend’s Facebook post has not just resurrected the song in my brain, but sent me down a rabbithole of YouTube musicians and Twitter memes and guitar research and reflections on the course of my life itself, opening up unconnected facets of my world that are nevertheless tied together by “Chug Jug With You.” There’s so much crammed into the song—too many Fortnite landmarks, too many words in general—that almost anything could remind you of it at any time. While its TikTok spread and articles about its TikTok spread may have stopped, it’s always lurking out there, ready to pounce onto your gray matter.
Plus, let’s admit it, this is the perfect time in the history of the world for “Chug Jug With You,” or at least my experience of the world. Pandemic lockdowns have ruined my brain, making sustained tasks like reading and writing difficult to impossible. These days, when I’m not working, I’m rewatching TV shows I’ve seen a million times—I’m on maybe my fifth tour through BoJack Horseman—because my brain can barely string together complex thoughts and my emotions can’t handle any media where I don’t know what happens next. The harmless, familiar catchiness of “Chug Jug With You” makes it feel safe to me, in a world where unknown things are constantly waiting to blindside me with their horrors. Its absurd memetic spread makes it hilarious in that unhinged nonsense way the better things on the internet are now that I spend all my conscious hours trapped inside with it. When I can see other people again, I’m sure someone will say something random and I’ll helplessly blurt out a lyric from “Chug Jug With You” like the walking Twitter trending sidebar my brain has become. And maybe everyone will laugh and then I’ll get quiet, thinking of all the different tolls this time has taken on those of us who’ve survived it, thinking about how something incredibly dumb like “Chug Jug With You” maybe helped me through it but also reminds me of how much everyone has sacrificed, how this squeaky-voiced plea for camaraderie and adventure is cringe-worthy in its maybe-earnestness but also, really, is all so many of us have wanted for the past year.
Anyway, enjoy the song.