Netflix & Chill - the Influence of Hip Hop

 Ian Lawrence a.k.a. DJ Stimulus

Ian Lawrence a.k.a. DJ Stimulus


I am Ian, but most people know me as Stimulus. Let me take you on a quick quest…

Millions of people in the world are familiar with the phrase “Netflix and chill.” If you’re not, then you are not studying enough hash tags and you are definitely not listening to enough hip-hop music. Netflix and chill is the modern version of dinner and a movie. This simple phrase describes a modern cultural phenomenon. If someone invites you to Netflix and chill, they are implying that they are romantically interested in you, willing to visit you at your house and or let you come to theirs. They are open to a dialogue about what you consider to be “chill” or a relaxed/comfortable way of spending time together AND all of this will happen while watching a movie or television program that you have chosen together on demand via the Internet. This tiny phrase reflects a lot about modern dating, entertainment consumption and technology. I can honestly say I have never invited anyone to Netflix and chill, but I know perfectly well what it means, because like many cultural phenomena, it is referenced in hip-hop music and was created in and by hip-hop culture.

The first person to make the phrase popular in 2009, NofaceNina, is not a rapper, DJ or visual artist. She was and maybe still is an amateur dancer. And all of her videos are to hip-hop music. The evolution of her 2009 tweet into what it is and means today is very “hip-hop”.


Like many hip-hop songs, the Netflix and chill phenomenon started with already existing content being transformed into something denser, capable of expressing something different from its original version. There are 2 popular hip-hop songs named Netflix & chill, each with millions of streams that allow people to digest the full context of the phrase. When simply used as a hash tag or post on a social media platform, the phrase is an insider secret, efficient communication for those in the know and nothing special to those who are uninformed. As a hip-hop song, the cultural phenomenon described by the phrase can be communicated to people who may or may not be interested in it or aware of its existence. If the people you hang out with don’t use the phrase in conversation, you won’t encounter it. If the people you communicate with on social media don’t use the phrase, you won’t encounter it. But like many descriptive words and phrases created and/or influenced by hip-hop culture, "Netflix and chill" found a way to reach people far beyond the network of its creator.



Music is not a passive communication tool. It does not require you to come to it. It comes to you. Hip Hop music is the most powerful form, it is everywhere. Played in retail stores, supermarkets, cars, restaurants, business-offices, hospitals and of course in clubs and concert venues. In any of those places we are introduced to music that we have never heard. Sometimes we like it, sometimes we don’t. But Hip Hop finds a way. Why? Hip-hop music tells stories and describes experiences, both real and fictional. Many genres of music do this. But no music genre does it as efficiently as hip-hop.

Mankind’s primary tool for communication is the use of words. We speak them, write them, read them and sing them. In Hip Hop, we also rap them. Should we all learn to rap and make Hip Hop music? Maybe.

But for now let me leave you with some music of mine to help you understand what I am talking about. This little journey about " Netflix & chill" was just a mere taste of what I will be unpacking around my study of Hip Hop at TEDxMauerpark 2018💡