We Talked To The Guy Behind The Best Meme Of 2016 And He's Been Laughing Nonstop

"It's the internet. It doesn't bother me one bit. I actually like it."

By now, you must have seen or used this iconic expression — clipped, GIF'd, screencapped, photoshopped, memed —somewhere across your social media timelines. It's been dubbed the greatest meme of 2016.

Giphy / youtube.com

The internet's favorite pursed-lips reaction GIF comes from a 2009 rap battle hosted by the Ultimate Rap League.

The battle was between rappers Jesse James and Conceited, a then-newcomer to the battling scene.

Conceited was irreverent through Jesse James' bars but made the notorious face when James tripped up over one of his words.

Conceited's reaction was first GIF'd in early 2015, but it wasn't until well into 2016 that people in masses started picking it up. The memes are now delightfully extra and comically next-level.

Me in the past: graduate college in 4 years at 21, have a career and make 6 figures by 24. Me in the present:

Me: Bro this is the best drawing I've done Drawing:

There really is not enough internet to feature all of them in one space, but here are some of the best hand-picked ones for a sampling.

The memes have covered all sorts of subject areas, some hilariously NSFW.

BuzzFeed News tracked Conceited down, and had the absolute pleasure of discussing and, really, CTFU over, the genealogy of the meme and his unexpected fame. Meet 27-year-old Reggie Sergile.

Reggie Sergile

Sergile, a Brooklyn native who now bounces between Miami and New York, was working as a server at Red Lobster for five years before his foray into battle-rapping when he was 20.

"I just got into it 'cause I was always a fan," he said of battling. "I was always watching them, and I knew I could really do this. At the time — and this sounded cocky — no one had my style. I was rapping punchline lines after lines after lines."

The battle with Jesse James was only his 4th match-up ever.

Sergile's said his exact thoughts when making the face to James after "he stumbled over a line" was, "Ohhh! Oh." He said a blunder like that in battle-rapping is reason enough to react to.

"It wasn't even close. I killed him," Sergile boasted of his win.

Sergile said he first spotted his face being used last year for #ThanksgivingClapBack jokes, but it wasn't until close to Election Day this year that it started getting "really crazy."

#debates Moderator: Let's talk about race. Me:

Twitter: @RaquelWillis_

His expression was specifically used by many during the first presidential debate when moderator Lester Holt said, "let's talk about race."

"It was until recently — a few weeks ago — that I was like, 'Damn, this is crazy, this is everywhere,'" Sergile said after September's debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

One of his favorite uses of the GIF during this time was people reacting to all the times Trump infamously referred to the African-American community as "the blacks."

trump: "I have a great relationship with the blacks" "the blacks":

"That was hilarious," Sergile recalled, adding he fully agrees with the context under which his expression was used. "That was very accurate."

Like everyone else, he said he has been making that face IRL more frequently — especially after Nov. 8.

Me: When Donald trump becomes president I'm moving Canada Bank account:

Ever since the election, Sergile believes his face has become the "Don't worry about it, America" face.

"100% how I felt about it," he said.

"There's nothing we can do with Trump winning," he added. "The whole is we all can only hope he can do a good job for everyone."

His favorite memes, to date, has been the elaborate "calculator one" and the "20 selfies one."

math teacher: alright so I'm letting you guys use your calculators on the test, nobody should fail my calculator:

"Someone took the time to draw it out on the calculator," he said, laughing and still amazed.

"My favorite one was the one that's like, 'when you take 20 selfies..." he honorably mentioned. "That's by far the funniest one."

Me: "I just took like 20 selfies, atleast one of them has to be cute" Camera roll:

"I can't even pick one," he said after going through a rolodex of viral memes.

Apparently, his friends have been ragging on him over his internet-fated fame, but it's nothing but "hilarity" to him.

Reggie Sergile

"We've all done this before with other people," Sergile said of meme subjects. "It's the internet. It doesn't bother me one bit. I actually like it."

In fact, Sergile's actually grateful for the meme, if it brings new fans to his true passion of battle-rapping.

"I want [people] to know where I came from and to watch the original battle," he said. "Hopefully that makes them watch one battle, to see another battle, and get hooked to rap battles."

Sergile was also recruited for Nick Cannon's Wild 'N Out reboot in 2013, which he's made recurring appearances on for four years now.

Even though Sergile is currently taking a bit of a hiatus, his fervor for battling is evident in the way talks about it.

"It's the rawest and purest form of lyricism and hip hop," he said. "Drake, he will go on tour but every night it will be the same thing, same song, same set-up. Which is fine, but as battle rappers, we get to say whatever we want to say one time. Competition is at the highest."

"That's what I love about it," he added. "It's a fight, a blood sport."

As for his future plans, Sergile is said he and Nick Cannon are working on a sitcom that’s without a title yet, but has “something to do with college.” To the coyness, we say:


JK, we'll fill you guys in as we learn more about the project.



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.