The song and video parody the opulence and profanity typically flaunted in popular rap videos. Billboard said the song "takes hip-hop boasting to its most absurd extreme," while the New York Times called it a "sendup of triumphant materialism." The parody is extended in the inclusion of T-Pain, known to sing the hook line in many rap songs, with his trademark overuse of auto-tune. Additionally, the video's intro resembles that of Akon's "I'm So Paid" video, especially the scene in which Akon is standing on the front of the boat.
The song makes allusions to various events, people and other elements from pop culture. The song quotes Kevin Garnett as saying "Anything is possible!" — an exclamation he made after the 2008 NBA Finals. Samberg visually and lyrically references Leonardo DiCaprio's scene in the 1997 film Titanic, where on the bow of the ship, DiCaprio's character shouts, "I'm the king of the world." In the video, Samberg holds a press conference with a blue "I'm on a Boat" banner in the background while wearing a flight suit, a sight gag reminiscent of President George W. Bush's 2003 "Mission Accomplished" press conference. Rapper E-40 (who appears elsewhere on the album) often mentions liquors in his rap, which corresponds to the mention of Santana champagne (the actual topic of E-40's featured appearance). Also, the final line that T-Pain hums is the hook from his 2007 song, Buy U a Drank.