Over the past 24 hours, you’d be hard-pressed to find a celebrity or high-profile account that doesn’t have a comment section flooded with the simple phrase, “nah he tweakin”.
Millions of users across the platform have jumped on this latest viral trend, spamming accounts like The Rock, Kim Kardashian, and even news outlets like The New York Times, with this phrase for seemingly no reason.
But as internet culture goes, a trend of this magnitude always has an origin story. So what’s the story?
Kicking off Wednesday night, initial reports suggested the trend could be a coordinated bot attack. However, that theory has since been abandoned as the motive is unclear and the resources required for this attack would be extensive.
After much sleuthing, users have now traced the trend back to none other than the internet’s favourite viral artist, Lil Nas X, who commented “nah he tweakin” on an Instagram post sharing the news that Tony Hawk is releasing skateboards infused with his blood.
A relatively mundane origin story, Lil Nas X’s comment holds significance. Back in April, the artist faced controversy for his sneaker collaboration with streetwear brand MSCHF.
The MSCHF x Lil Nas X “Satan Shoes” were Nike Air Max ’97 that contained 60 cubic centimeters of ink and 1 drop of human blood (drawn from MSCHF employees), released on March 29th and retailed for $1,018 USD.
Lil Nas X has since been embroiled in legal drama with Nike.
In response to the collaboration, Nike announced in a statement to The New York Times, that the brand “did not design or release [the] shoes…do not endorse them,” and are “seeking compensatory, statutory and punitive damages, plus disgorgement of profits in an amount to be determined and is asking the court to order that the shoes and all marketing materials be turned over to Nike for destruction.”
Following the lawsuit initiated by Nike, US district judge, Eric Komitee granted the global sportswear brand a restraining order effectively blocking MSCHF from shipping the 665 pairs of shoes (despite a majority already having been shipped) — as well as preventing the final pair from being claimed as part of a competition run on Twitter, with Lil Nas X imploring his followers to use the hashtag #SatanShoes on Twitter to enter.
While the order was in effect until a trial could stand to begin, Nike and MSCHF have since come to a settlement agreement on Thursday, 8th April, 2021. As WWD reports, the premise of the settlement is that MSCHF will “initiate a voluntary recall to buy back any ‘Satan Shoe’, with the intention to remove pairs from circulation.” However, David H. Bernstein (one of the attorneys representing MSCHF) seems as unbothered as Lil Nas X, issuing a statement explaining “The 666 shoes (665 of which were already sold and shipped to collectors [prior to] the temporary restraining order hearing last week) were individually numbered works of art that will continue to represent the ideals of equality and inclusion wherever they are displayed.” He further explains “the artistic messages MSCHF hoped to share with these shoes were also powerfully communicated through Lil Nas X’s music video…and were dramatically amplified by the Nike lawsuit, which brought extraordinary publicity to MSCHF and its works of art.”
This, once again, solidifies that Nas X’s viral power holds now bounds.