Like few shows the came before and after it, The Simpsons has always embraced the art of music, from Danny Elfman's iconic theme song to The Simpsons Sing the Blues to the show's Hollywood Bowl performances. Less often, the outside music world takes pause to reflect on The Simpsons, but that's exactly what happened on The Tonight Show this week, as up-and-coming rapper Lil Yachty joined Jimmy Fallon and The Roots for a ridiculously fun and goofy song that manages to namedrop 59 Simpsons characters and a ton of classic moments.
To be sure, Tupac and Biggie aren't coming out of their graves to praise "Lil Yachty Raps About 59 Simpsons Characters" as the jam of the millennium. But they probably aren't spinning in those graves, either. I'll freely admit that I was ready to derisively dismiss this for several undisclosed reasons, but that was like three listens ago.
Anybody could have just gone up there and started throwing character names together, as Lil Yachty does with the last dozen characters, but what makes this entire shebang work so well is the selection of Simpsons reference points being used. We get an "Everything's coming up Milhouse," we get Grandpa yelling at clouds, we get the Carl and Lenny explanation, Moleman's "Boo-urns," insect overlords, Moe's prank calls, Maude's death, Bobo, steamed hams and more. Basically about 30 seconds of the song would make sense to someone who's never seen the show. And that's the kind of person we don't trust.
Some major characters are notably absent here, which is understandable, since there's no legal standard for that kind of thing. But hey, both Rex Banner and Mr. McGreg showed up to the party, so no one else is even needed. What we really want to know is, did The Simpsons predict Lil Yachty doing this?
Fans of Lil Yachty know that the young MC is right at home with both the beat and the subject matter in the above video. He raps about Nintendo and has Nintendo sounds in his songs, so there's nothing too strange about watching him wax on about Ralph Wiggum doing "the unpossible" while The Roots perform a Simpsons-esque backing beat. The Tonight Show rocks musical performances all the time, but I wish there would be more original stuff like this, as opposed to all the karaoke and lip syncing.
Simpsons fans sadly won't be able to catch up with their favorite animated family again until the show returns for Season 29 in the fall. (Hopefully it'll be able to match its shocking ratings feat from last season.) In the meantime, you can pick up the debut LP from Lil Yachty, titled Teenage Emotions, which hit stores last month, and you can always catch Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show every weeknight on NBC at 11:35 p.m. ET. But you really want to check out our summer premiere guide, because that's where you'll find all the shows coming in the next few months.