The internet’s catchiest song right now isn’t a chart-topper by Drake or one of the well-received tracks from Taylor Swift’s new album. It’s a song from TikTok, performed by an unnamed dancing llama/alpaca creature.
Confused? Naturally. If you haven’t encountered it already, the short acoustic earworm known informally as “Mi Pan Su Su Sum” is TikTok’s latest obsession and has been tagged on more than 45 million videos hosted by the platform. It quickly rose to popularity, thanks to a slightly ominous rendition featuring a red-tinted alpaca-like creature dancing.
We know how bewildering this sounds. Trust us: Watch the nine-second video and you too will be hypnotized.
Do we understand what we just saw? Not at all! Other takes on the song have been equally absurd and hilarious, often featuring animated characters doing inexplicable things.
Like this Sims dance-off:
Or this terrifying chain of events:
We could not tell you what was happening here to save our lives:
Some versions feature the alpaca with friends, as seen in this clip posted by actor Gilbert Gottfried:
The song’s most fervent followings are from Spanish speakers; those who heard “mi pan” as “my bread” quickly took the carb-loving idea and ran with it.
So what exactly does “Mi Pan Su Su Sum” mean and where did it come from?
Thankfully, the audio’s singer has stepped forward with the answers we so desperately have needed.
“Mi Pan” = “Miel Pops”
It turns out, TikTok user Chernaya Princessa made the original acapella a month ago as a cover of a commercial jingle from Russia.
The phrase is actually “Miel Pops,” a Kellogg’s brand of honey-flavoured cereal, accompanied with the buzzing sound a bee makes.
One TikTok user sped up the audio, which gained traction among the community’s “Alt TikTok” subculture. (Think of them as anyone using the app who loves memes more than influencers.)
The beloved CGI llama/alpaca appears to be from the Japanese app aDanza, which allows people to make animals dance to any music they upload.
Given all this information, the truth about the “Mi Pan Su Su Sum’s” origins have done little to slow down its catchy momentum as a “nonsense” song. The way we see it, there’s life before hearing “Mi Pan Su Su Sum” and life after.
Given the uncertainty around TikTok’s American presence (which is thankfully a non-issue in Canada), we think a case for not banning the app should absolutely include this virtual alpaca banger.
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