Un-hashtag Seapunk – Seapunk is not really punk

text: Magda Rucinski 

It’s not really a music genre, either, so much as it is a Tumblr-spawned meme that trickled down into the craniums of some musicians who embraced it as a sort of performance art.
So what is it, exactly?

A Brooklyn DJ who goes by the fitting handle Lil Internet claims to have started the seapunk craze with a single tweet. The hashtag then floated from Twitter to Tumblr. In utero, seapunk shined as Tumblr grafitti. It’s a design style that makes use of cheesy nautical themes and riffs the imagery of‘90s pop culture zeitgeist Lisa Frank. Think totems of the ‘90s, like peace signs, neon, and tie-dye, repackaged as a joke subculture with its own unique fashion style and music genre.

Seapunk transitioned from hashtag to semi-legit genre when artists started identifying with seapunk. What does it sound like? Let’s say chill electronica with elements of R&B. With such a fluid definition, anyone can jump on the seapunk bandwagon. Rapper Azealia Banks’ video for ‘Atlantis’ from her Fantasea album capitalized on the seapunk aesthetic with plenty of flying dolphins, a computer generated ocean, and spinning diamonds. The Harlem rapper who shot to fame with her single ‘212’ has also been known to wear a blue weave and reference seapunk, to the total chagrin of legit seapunk artists, whoever they may be.

Like anything born on the Internet, the idea has a limited shelf life, but will be remembered forever in jest. “Hey guys, remember seapunk?” some hipster un-ironically clutching a PBR will quip in, like, 2014, and merriment will be shared by all. But seapunk is still relevant, so don’t be shy about busting out that Manic Panic Atomic Turquoise hair dye, or plastering your Tumblr page with psychedelic dolphin GIFs. All will be forgiven. Hey guys, remember Angelfire?