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“2deep4u” is an abbreviation of the phrase “too deep for you," indicating that the content in question may be too profound or obscure in nature for its audience to appreciate. It is often used as an indictment of arrogance and pretension in the hipster subculture, or as a sarcastic defense of a particular genre in music or visual art. The phrase saw a resurgence in popularity following the rise of the related abbreviation “2Spooky” in 2012, correlating with Google Trends results.
Though the abbreviation’s origins is sketchy at best, the earliest known uses of the phrase dates back to 1998, when it was used as a title for a drum and bass vinyl record, recorded by the Dutch electronic group Critical Adjustment.
On September 24, 2003, the username “2deep4u” was registered to the scuba-diving enthusiast forum ScubaBoard. The phrase then appeared in 2007, when it was submitted as a tagline for a billboard campaign for flood safety, held in Clark Country, Nevada. The earliest known archived posting of the phrase on 4chan appeared on /a/ (anime) on February 2008, as a sarcastic reply.
The abbreviation was also used as a tag for a blog post published by Blogspot user Posthumous on February 13th, 2010, in which he reviewed “The Happiness Project” by Charles Spearin. On March 8th, 2010, the abbreviation was used in a thread on the /mu/ (music) board on 4chan, in which users created custom album covers based on random Wikipedia articles. On April 27th, the phrase was used as a retort to the insult “you suck in bed” in a thread on the Game Trailers Forums. On May 21st, LiveJournal user oddfishstick posted the abbreviation in the comment section of a journal entry titled “Noteworthy People Stare at The MoMA." (shown below)
On September 28th, an Urban Dictionary entry for the phrase was submitted by user ImthatAwesome, defining the term as a descriptor for content in which its “artistic value goes beyond a person’s perception.” On June 30th, 2deep4u was registered as a username on the social news website Reddit. On July 4th, 2011, YouTuber Karl0v submitted a video titled “2Deep4U,” featuring footage of several men competing in a race while wearing penis costumes (shown below).
On February 9th, 2012, the I’m 2Deep4U Tumblr was launched, which describes itself as “a blog where we mock the stupid, melodramatic, pseudo-intellectual quotes and images that flood the Tumblr feeds of people everywhere,” providing humorous commentary on inspirational photo quote images (shown below).
On March 22nd, a thread titled “2deep4u sharethread” was submitted to 4chan’s /mu/ board, urging other users to share music from the avant garde, noise, throat singing, field recordings, lowercase and drone genres. On May 18th, a Meme Generator page titled “2Deep4U” was created, which featured image macros based on a photo of a person drowning and captions including the abbreviation “2Deep4U” (shown below). On November 10th, a Facebook page titled “2Deep4U” was created, which accumulated over 180 likes within four days.
The derivative phrase 2edgy4me, an abbreviated form of “too edgy for me”, has been used in a similar manner. The mocking tone is often found online in response to people with an unpopular opinion or those attempting to be perceived as cool or part of a subculture that they do not fully engage with. The phrase “too edgy for me” was used on /tv/ (Television and Film) as early as April 8th, 2010, when an anonymous poster called out another for claiming he would not have sex with actress Lindsay Lohan.
The first archived use of its abbreviated form was posted on January 23rd, 2011 in response to a poster on /a/ (anime and manga) calling Neon Genesis Evangelion unoriginal. Throughout 2012, the abbreviation appeared in threads on /k/ (weapons), /fit/ (health and fitness) and /v/ (video games). By October of that year, the phrase began to spread outside of 4chan, appearing in comments on FunnyJunk, GameFAQs and the World of Warcraft forums. On December 5th, 2012, the full phrase was used in the /r/cringepics subreddit to describe a photoshopped image a person made of himself with demon’s wings (shown below). The same month, “2edgy4me” was first used as a tag on Tumblr. On February 4th, 2013, the subreddit /r/2edgy4me was created, posting similar content to /r/cringepics. 2edgy4me has also been used as a Twitter hashtag.