Let Him Cook / Let That Boy Cook
Let Him Cook, also known as Let That Boy Cook, is a slang term and catchphrase used as a callout to give someone the space to plot, strategize or hone their craft. A common use of the term is to refer to someone's rizz or game when it comes to flirting, with "Let Him Cook" being a common response to a questionable hornypost. A popular variant of the meme uses the Woody Holding Sora Back template. The phrase is also used in American football discourse, especially in association with Seattle Seahawks player Russell Wilson and the Let Russ Cook meme. People also use the associated phrase "Who Let Him Cook?" as a way to question someone's hot take.
The phrase "Let Him Cook" is commonly understood to have originated from the catchphrase "Let that boy cook" and was coined by rapper Lil B. The earliest known use of the phrase "Let that boy cook" on the internet is from a YouTube fan video set to a Lil B song uploaded on July 14th, 2010. The video is titled, "LIL B BASED COOKING (LET THAT BOY COOK)," and features YouTuber Jordan Collier doing a stirring motion with his hand as he dances to Lil B's track "Suck My Dick Hoe." The video has gathered over 80,000 views in the 12 years since its upload (seen below).
The term "cooking" and the phrase "Let That Boy Cook" are often associated with Lil B, with the rapper posting an instructional video to YouTube explaining the "rules and regulations of cooking" on July 6th, 2010, where he says that "to cook is to take your time and care" and that "Let that boy cook" basically means to let someone do their thing. The video has gathered over 2.8 million views in nearly 12 years since its upload (seen below).
Use As A Metaphor For Flirting
The term "Let Him Cook" is also a phrase used to defend someone flirting or being horny on main. The earliest known viral use of the term is from Twitter user @Dom_2k on May 4th, 2023. The phrase "let him cook" was deployed in defense of a man photographed to be flirting with another woman over text while at an NBA game. The tweet has gathered over 30,000 likes and over 2,000 retweets in the four months since its upload (seen below).
A popular meme to use the phrase features "Woody Holding Sora Back" with a snapchat banner reading, "hollup… let him cook." The earliest known use of the image is a from a December 6th tweet reply posted by @BigTobes48 on December 6th, 2023, gathering over 400 likes (seen below, left). On December 20th, 2023, Instagram page @trashcanpaul posted a version of the meme that gathered over 80,000 likes in over a month (seen below, right).
'Let Him COOK' TikTok Sound
On December 21st, 2023, TikToker @.slump uploaded a One Piece edit with an audio of him saying, "hollup… let him COOK." The video gathered over 1 million plays and 100,000 likes in a month (seen below, left). A popular video using the audio was posted on January 6th, 2023 by TikToker @yeezussznn, gathering over 7 million plays and 1 million likes in nearly two weeks (seen below, right).
Why Did Y'all Let Him Cook? / He Not Cooking Shit
Sometime in December 2023, a variation of the meme featuring a screencap from a season three episode of the show Spongebob Squarepants named "Squilliam Returns" began making the rounds. According to TinEye, the image with a Snapchat banner made to read, "WHY DID Y'ALL LET HIM COOK" first appeared in the comments section of the /r/westsubever Mod post announcing its shutdown (seen below, left). The image also appeared on the Instagram page for barstoolmsu on December 31st, 2023, gathering over 7,000 likes in nearly a month (seen below, right).
Another popular variant of anti-cooking memes features Luffy from the anime series One Piece, with a Snapchat banner that reads, "Yeah he's not cooking shit." The earliest known post using the meme was by Twitter user @JoeSchoenMVP on November 29th, 2023 (seen below).
Use In American Football / "Let Russ Cook"
The term began to be associated with American football in consecutive years, with prominent players doing a touchdown "cooking" victory dance. A video of one such instance was uploaded to YouTube on October 17th, 2011, and has gathered 20,000 views in the 11 years since (seen below).
The phrase "let him cook" was also used on Twitter in 2013 with user @damienwoody posting a tweet using it on December 29th, 2013. The tweet gathered nearly 40 likes and over 80 retweets in nine years (seen below, left.) The tweet was echoed in 2018 by Twitter user @minakimes in a post that gathered over 2,000 likes and over 200 retweets in four years (seen below, right)
In the fall of 2023, the catchphrase "Let Russ Cook" became notably associated with getting Seattle Seahawks NFL player Russell Wilson to take a bigger role as the team's best offensive player. The specific phrase was first tweeted by Twitter user @zjwhitman on September 22nd, 2019, gathering over 100 likes in roughly three years (seen below). The tweet was also specifically mentioned in an article by The Athletic that tracked the evolution of the phrase and its impact on the Seahawk's game strategies for consecutive games.
In September 2023, the catchphrase "Let Russ Cook" became a prevalent meme on Twitter where people juxtaposed the phrase with an image of a badly cooked meal. For example, on September 12th, Twitter user @ColeyMick posted a meme that gathered over 1,000 likes and over 100 retweets in a week (seen below, left). On September 19th, @BarstoolSports posted a meme about Russell Wilson as well, gathering over 30,000 likes and 2,000 retweets in a day (seen below, right)
Woody Holding Sora Back
Woody Holding Sora Back is an exploitable image macro meme depicting Toy Story's Woody in Square Enix's video game Kingdom Hearts III holding up his hand to tell Sora to hold back, which was celebrated and parodied by fans of the series. The original scene where Woody stands up to and insults the series villain Xehanort has also been used in various video memes.
Let Russ Cook
Let Russ Cook is a catchphrase used by American football fans in reference to quarterback Russell Wilson, essentially meaning let Russell Wilson be himself and do his thing. The phrase was first used on Twitter in 2019 and became increasingly popular over the following years as a rallying cry to support Wilson, inspiring him to trademark the phrase in 2023. In 2023, following Wilson's trade to the Denver Broncos and a perceived dip in his in-game performance, people started using the phrase ironically to criticize Wilson.
He’s about to do something…♬ Let him cook – Move Look💫🖤
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