‘Brick by Brick:’ The Best Moments ‘Snowfall’ Contributed to Pop Culture

Franklin Saint built it all brick by brick. Let’s rewind to some of the best cultural contributions 'Snowfall' has given us ahead of the FX show's final season.

Snowfall Pop Culture Impact

Image via FX

Snowfall Pop Culture Impact

Traditionally, South Central, Los Angeles has been the designated set for cultural classic films and TV series dating back to the ’90s. Prior to director John Singleton’s 1991 film Boyz n the Hood and F. Gary Gray’s 1995 film Friday, there was an ’80s version of the lionized city that compelled a story. The culturally revered Singleton, who died in 2019, took the initiative in recounting the tale as one of his last projects and presented viewers with a time capsule set to rummage from the very first episode of Snowfall

According to the 1985–1990 file of the Drug Enforcement Administration, “as early as 1981, reports of crack appeared in Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, and in the Caribbean.” Snowfall paints a picture of the communal paralysis that resulted from crack’s appearance in LA. The crime drama aired on the FX network for the first time on July 5, 2017, and dropped viewers smack-dab on June 14, 1983, listening to Ronnie Hudson’s “West Coast Poplock.” There had been other crime drama series surrounding drugs before this show—think Power (2014), Top Boy (2011), and Breaking Bad (2008). However, Snowfall dials heavily on the ugly like no other series, making it the anomaly of the genre. 

The show retells the start of the gritty crack epidemic that took place in Los Angeles during the early 1980s, following the oxymoronic straight-edge street entrepreneur Franklin (Damson Idris), who grows into a criminal juggernaut by Season 5. He’s joined in his enterprise by his best friend Leon (Isaiah John), the Manny to his Tony Montana, Aunt Louie (Angela Lewis), his uncle Jerome Saint (Amin Joseph), and, as of late and against all her beliefs, his mother Cissy (Michael Hyatt). Together, they have been navigating the ebb and flow of the crack cocaine epidemic.

Whether you’ve binged the series during a holiday break from work, watched the episodes weekly, or never seen the series a day in your life, you’ve seen the memes and you unwillingly made the connection. Snowfall, though entertaining, serves as a history book for the culture, and while the illustrious cast of principally Black actors made a splash on TV, the memes have been making the rounds offscreen on social media and beyond. The show has also inspired podcasts and conversations that surpass TV and further cemented it into pop culture. 

In that form, Snowfall has made a mark with this sort of engagement. With the sixth and final season of FX’s jewel debuting on Feb. 22, the impact on pop culture is sure to pick up the threads. Let’s rewind to some of the best cultural contributions Snowfall has delivered so far in its first five seasons.

“Teach Ya Mans How To Squabble”

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Uncle Jerome has been emasculated for most of the series’ duration up until this very scene. During the season’s sixth episode, a conspicuous two-liner would instantaneously become clay in the internet’s hands: “Teach ya mans how to squabble! Grab that trigger next time, nigga.” Jerome says this from the driver's seat of his car to his unconscious opposition on the ground after a heated fight. His statement proved to anyone else who has ever questioned his manhood that his fists are the only weapons he needs. This scene was then reproduced into TikTok voiceovers and memes with captions like, “When you knock out a dude who thought you was soft cus you a peaceful man these days.” This rework of the scene included the “Still D.R.E.” instrumental by record producer Dr. Dre from Compton, California, one of South Central’s neighbors. 

The meme emerged again regarding the NBA after Golden State Warriors players Draymond Green and Jordan Poole got into a squabble (no pun intended) in late October 2022. Uncle Jerome’s scene continued to spread and infiltrated fighting video games such as Red Dead Redemption 2. With the caption “Unc said it best” across the banner of the screen, Jerome’s line sounds off as the two players in the video game battle. 

Not only did Jerome exert his strength in Season 5, but the series also accrued its peak viewership. “FX revealed that Snowfall averaged 4.3 million total viewers across linear, VOD, and streaming with its Feb. 23 premiere, marking the series’ most watched season to date,” Deadline reported. “The latest total viewer count was up 13% from the previous season and 43% up from Season 3. Snowfall Season 4 was FX’s most-watched series of 2021.” 

“Bodies, Bodies, Bodies”

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The kingpin of the series, Franklin Saint, unceasingly evolves into various dimensions of himself. Contrary to Franklin spending the better half of the show hauling psychedelics to and fro for Teddy McDonald/Reed Thompson (Carter Hudson), the first time he really gets high is when he does so accidentally at his Aunt Louie and Uncle Jerome’s wedding reception in Season 5, Episode 8. Viewers instantly understand his complex of never using drugs when Franklin is upstairs hallucinating and having an epiphanic dialogue with his younger and former self. The younger and former Franklin recounts to the protagonist all the people that he and his “little minions” have killed on their expedition to the top. Younger Franklin inquires about people that have died along the way saying, “Tiana, Khadijah, Lenny, Karvel, him, him, him, her, him, him, BODIES, BODIES, BODIES, BODIES.”

This well-executed scene floated around the Twitter atmosphere and is still presently floating. A meme was tweeted as a universal response for, “When you ask your girl how many guys has she slept with,” and then cue the “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” clip. Another tweet mentioned, “My last day of work, I’m slapping the shit outta ‘Tiana, Khadijah, Lenny, Karvel, him, him, him, her, him, him, bodies, bodies, bodies.’” A TikTok was created using the first-person shooter video game series Call of Duty, where the “Bodies, Bodies, Bodies” clip rolls in between killings.

This fan-favorite from Season 3, Episode 9, “Blackout,” ushered a cultural feast. The scene sees the Lacoste Polo and beeper–wearing Franklin riding as passenger next to his second-in-command, Leon, as the latter pulls the car over. During this curbside colloquy, Franklin hands Leon his ass and pop culture hasn’t been the same since. 

In the scene, Franklin crisply says, “I built this shit. Me! BRICK BY BRICK. And I’ll be damned if I let you tear it down just because you don’t like the way another nigga talk.” And it went viral. This hashtag stormed social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok. The scene was renamed in a caption on the Snowfall’s Instagram page of 299K followers as “Big Brick Energy.”

The series from which the line descended inspired an entire album from rapper Skyzoo. “The Brooklyn-bred artist has built a career on high-level rap rooted in perspective, conceptual creativity, and wit. On his latest project, he teamed up with the production group The Other Guys to rap from the POV of the fictional Franklin Saint, a store clerk–turned-kingpin in Snowfall,” Vulture reported. The album Mind of a Saint was released in January, and the eighth track “Brick by Brick” unfastens with the notorious scene. 

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