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MLG glasses: Why they’re the perfect choice for meme lovers

pair of mlg glasses on a yellow background

The practical nature of sunglasses shouldn’t stop them from being trendy. Sunglasses can come in various fun shapes, frames and tints to add fun to mere functionality.

For those looking to stand out, turning to pop culture is often a good way to garner compliments and ensure your glasses are recognized and appreciated by fellow aficionados.

For example, if you’re a fan of the ever-growing internet meme culture, MLG (or Major League Gaming) glasses can be a cool alternative to regular sunglasses. They’re a celebrated image in the world of memes, popularly known by other names such as “deal with it,” “thug life” and MLG swag glasses.

But before you learn more about these trendy shades, you must learn about their history. If you are looking to add them to your wardrobe, it is also essential to know where you can buy them and what features you should definitely be looking out for.

History of the MLG glasses meme

MLG glasses became a thing after the Thug Life meme gained popularity in the early 2010s. Since then, they’ve been used in memes and videos where a pair of pixelated MLG glasses literally drops from the skies and lands perfectly onto someone’s face as a clear sign of victory. The iconic design features black frames and dark-tinted lenses with patterns that mimic the original 8-bit pixel art.

To understand their relevance, it is crucial to explore the meaning of the original meme. Originating from the idea of “thug life,” these glasses represent a still-popular internet sensation. While some people may mistake the purpose of the phrase “thug life,” the implication does not have any connotations of lawlessness or criminal behavior. 

Instead, according to, the term “thug life” comes from Black hip-hop culture and refers to a determined and resilient drive to succeed despite systemic racism and injustice. “Thug life” was initially popularized by the rapper Tupac Shakur, who had the words “THUG LIFE” tattooed across his stomach. The thug life meme and the accompanying MLG glasses pay homage to this very sense of confidence and resilience.

The format of the meme itself is rather straight-forward. explains how the meme focuses around a central character who cleverly defeats or ridicules someone, verbally or nonverbally. The video versions of the meme present situations where one person snaps at another using confrontational language, winning an argument. Another popular thug life meme is a crossover where Kabosu, the internet-famous Shiba Inu dog, wears his very own Doge MLG glasses. 

What follows this scenario is a freeze-frame and close-up of the winner with an instrumental fade-out to the 1992 gangsta rap “Nuthin’ but a 'G' Thang” by Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg. The close-up image usually has two objects superimposed on the person to highlight the cool “thug life” attitude — a marijuana joint and the MLG meme glasses.

The Thug Life meme is still popular and has established itself as a strong contender among those immortalized in the meme hall of fame. Even today, content creators make use of the style to create impactful designs on various social media platforms. 

What this meme does is perfectly represent a counterculture that has little to no regard for authority. The format may have evolved over the years, but the original emotion behind it, and the imagery of the pixelated glasses, have remained the same. 

Buying guide for MLG glasses

Buying MLG glasses can sometimes get a bit tricky. These glasses are mostly made for use as party props, so they may lack some features considered essential in standard eyewear. If you’re looking to get a pair for a party or other entertainment purposes, you can usually get one of the cheaper models that come without any flashy features. 

However, if you want your MLG thug life glasses to also function as proper sunglasses, there are certain features that you should look out for:

  • 100% UV protection – UVA and UVB rays of the sun can be extremely harmful to the eyes. To protect your eyes, you should always opt for sunglasses that come with 100% UV or UV 400 protection.

  • Optical clarity – While the MLG glasses design is rather iconic, the pixel art on the lenses should not come at the cost of visual acuity. If you intend to use them as proper eyewear, your central and peripheral vision must be clear. Thankfully, MLG sun glasses that offer minimum visual obstructions are also available out there, so do make sure to look out for those.

  • Scratch-resistant lensesScratch-resistant lenses help your glasses last longer and make sure that the design does not wear off quickly.

  • Lightweight frames – Most MLG frames, whether intended for use as props or not, are made with lightweight plastic materials. Just make sure they’re durable too.

  • Anti-glare lensesPolarized sunglasses or lenses made with an anti-reflective coating offer clearer vision and help relieve eye strain caused by glare. Go with polarized lenses if you plan to use these for water sports, skiing or driving, and opt for an anti-reflective (AR) coating if you plan to use the glasses inside when you work on a computer.   

  • Smooth or rounded edges – The MLG glasses in memes have serrated edges that make them look impractical and even a bit uncomfortable, and most real MLG glasses seem to keep that cartoonish look. To avoid irritation, be careful to select a pair with smooth or rounded edges that don’t rub against the skin. 

Who can use MLG glasses?

The best part about MLG glasses is that anyone can wear them, irrespective of age or gender. The MLG glasses feature a unisex design, and both children and adults can instantly become cooler just by wearing a pair. Even if you aren’t familiar with the meme, the unique aesthetic of the glasses will make them a great addition to anyone’s collection.

However, since their origin is rooted in memes, thug life glasses are most appreciated by meme makers and users around the world. Content creators who use platforms such as TikTok, YouTube and Twitch can use these glasses to make viral content that the general public can enjoy and relate to. It can be the perfect prop for paying homage to the original meme.

The gaming community is rather fond of both the original glasses and the meme. Since the popular gaming platform Roblox included the glasses in their catalog, they’ve become an absolute favorite in the community. 

Minecraft, too, allows its players to experiment with MLG glasses. The game’s pixel-art style goes perfectly with the aesthetic so some gamers even created MLG 8-bit Minecraft glasses for others to download and use. 

So, if you’re an avid Roblox or Minecraft player, or an ardent cosplay artist, you should definitely add a pair of MLG gamer glasses to your collection, and don’t be surprised if you see MLG glasses on Minecraft characters in the future.

READ MORE: Do gaming glasses really work?

Popular shades of MLG glasses

Owing to their popularity, MLG glasses have become widely available and are no longer limited to their original black lens tint. The frames and lenses now come in numerous shades with varying benefits:

  • Blue MLG glasses – Blue frames offer a new spin on the familiar look, while a blue lens tint can have a calming effect on the eyes and help with color perception.

  • Yellow lenses – Get more visual clarity and reduce eye strain with yellow lenses. Popular with avid computer users, a yellow tint is an excellent choice for MLG glasses.

  • Pink lenses – Pink or rose-colored lenses are not only fashionable but are also great for dimly lit settings. You can wear them for extended periods without causing stress on the eyes.

  • Red lenses – Darker and bolder than the pink variation, the red MLG glasses are great for filtering HEV blue light. Many gamers and computer users also tend to favor the red tint. 

  • Pixel-patterned frames – A pixelated mosaic pattern is found on the frames rather than the lenses, ensuring minimal visual obstruction while still alluding to the popular meme. 

Where to buy MLG glasses

The internet has solidified the Thug Life meme as one of the most popular formats ever, so it comes as no surprise that the meme’s coolness quotient went on to create a demand for MLG glasses. But while several online retailers sell these glasses, it is essential to carefully select a pair that is efficient, durable and worthy of its price.

Some of the better-known online retailers include:

  • Amazon – With a wide range of colors and types of MLG glasses on offer, it’s most important to check Amazon for products with good reviews and detailed information available.

  • eBay – Numerous sellers have MLG sunglasses available at different price ranges, so it’s vital to go through each item description to ensure it has what you want before buying.

  • AliExpress – Many variations are available from AliExpress, and most seem to be offered at affordable prices. But, as with other websites, it is important to check reviews and features before purchasing.

If you aren’t set on functionality, you can probably find a less durable pair of MLG glasses in a shop that specializes in party planning and entertainment props, either online or locally. 

Even though the thug life meme originated in 2014, the concept’s versatility has kept it relevant even today. The addition of MLG glasses to different games has only added to their popularity among various online communities. Once inseparable from the meme, thug life glasses have attained an iconic status of their own, becoming recognizable in almost any setting. 

While you don’t have to worry much about quality when using MLG glasses as a party prop, you do need to be careful when using them to protect your eyes from the sun. But as long as you do your research, you can end up with a cool pair of glasses that also doubles as fully functional sunwear.

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