Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images for BuzzFeed
Lil Nas X
Lil Nas X's No. 1 Run Began With TikTok, Now The Music Industry Is Taking Notice
"We get 10 to 15 inquiries a day from artists and labels wanting to pay us to use their song," Devain Doolaramani, who manages over 20 TikTok users, recently told Rolling Stone
Whether or not you've ever downloaded the app, it's likely you've been hearing about TikTok more and more this year. Though it may be most popular among teens and pre-teens, the short-form video app is not one to brush off as a mindless youth trend. Its users upload 15-second videos set to music (denoted in text at the bottom of the clip) onto the platform, offering the chance for both the uploader and the artist of the song to gain viral fame. And while striving for your moment—however brief—in the spotlight is nothing new, teens' obsession with the year-old app is already making waves in the music industry.
Last month, 20-year-old Lil Nas X broke records as his viral Billy Ray Cyrus-assisted "Old Town Road" took the longest run ever at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100, holding its reign on the all-genre chart for 17 weeks in a row. Back in February, the then-unknown rapper, two months after self-releasing the original version of the country-trap song, uploaded it to TikTok along with a "challenge": to change into Western garb before the drop. The song went viral on the app as users like Michael Pelchat, a.k.a. NiceMichael, added their own versions. A month later, Lil Nas X signed to Colombia Records and in April they released the record-breaking remix.
Lil Nas X is not the only notable artist to effectively harness the power of TikTok. Lizzo joined the platform in June and offered the #DNATest challenge, featuring her 2017 bop "Truth Hurts"—she opens the song with "I just took a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% that bitch." This month, the two-year-old song became her first top 10 track on the Hot 100, hitting No. 4 on Aug. 10. "Juice," from her latest LP Cuz I Love You, is her only other song to date to make the all-genre chart, reaching No. 9. The newfound viral moment of "Truth Hurts," similar to that of Lil Nas X, led Lizzo to release a new remix, featuring DaBaby.
A recent Rolling Stone feature examining the app's rapid growth and impact on the music industry highlights the move for labels and artists to push their music on the platform. "We get 10 to 15 inquiries a day from artists and labels wanting to pay us to use their song," Devain Doolaramani, who manages over 20 TikTok users, recently told the outlet. The article explains that the Chinese company Bytedance purchased the lip sync video app Musical.ly in late 2017, and, in August 2018, shut it down and migrated its user base to the new TikTok, giving it a starting point of 500 million monthly global users.
Speaking to both active uploaders and people who support its uploaders, like Doolaramani, Rolling Stone found that the algorithm better supports the chance for 15 seconds of fame, as it "is constantly searching for new clips, rather than just pushing out the latest videos from already popular users." The algorithm also seems to push videos and challenges—and their featured songs—that are already doing well to the next level. Doolaramani noticed that songs featured in around 3,000–5,000 videos seem to get more a bigger boost once they reach that point.
The platform even offers "creator partner managers" for popular users invited into their Creators Program. Pelchat, whose profile says he has over 922,400 fans, is part of the program. As he told Rolling Stone, his manager can help push his videos with lower views to the next level.
"Within the hour, [the video] had 80,000 more likes than what it had before. They have some magical button that they can press and just promote [a video] to the world," Pelchat said, when describing what happens after he reaches out about a video. He added that managers "have a very key part in pushing what [TikTok] wants to do."
Yet, while record labels are currently paying popular TikTok-ers to promote their songs, they could require the platform to pay for the rights to use their music in the future. The article points to a recent Bloomberg report that Universal, Sony and Warner are all renegotiating their existing deals, which expire soon, with the platform.
While it's not clear exactly what the future of TikTok will look like, it is clear that the way young people consume music is ever-changing, and the short-form video app is a major part of that.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
GRAMMY Rewind: Lizzo Thanks Prince For His Influence After "About Damn Time" Wins Record Of The Year In 2023
Watch Lizzo describe how Prince’s empowering sound led her to “dedicate my life to positive music” during her Record Of The Year acceptance speech for “About Damn Time” at the 2023 GRAMMYs.
Since the start of her career, four-time GRAMMY winner Lizzo has been making music that radiates positive energy. Her Record Of The Year win for "About Damn Time" at the 2023 GRAMMYs proved that being true to yourself and kind to one another always wins.
Travel back to revisit the moment Lizzo won her award in the coveted category in this episode of GRAMMY Rewind.
"Um, huh?" Lizzo exclaimed at the start of her acceptance speech. "Let me tell you something. Me and Adele are having a good time, just enjoying ourselves and rooting for our friends. So, this is an amazing night. This is so unexpected."
Lizzo kicked off her GRAMMY acceptance speech by acknowledging Prince's influence on her sound. "When we lost Prince, I decided to dedicate my life to making positive music," she said. "This was at a time when positive music and feel-good music wasn't mainstream at that point and I felt very misunderstood. I felt on the outside looking in. But I stayed true to myself because I wanted to make the world a better place so I had to be that change."
As tracks like "Good as Hell" and "Truth Hurts" scaled the charts, she noticed more body positivity and self-love anthems from other artists. "I'm just so proud to be a part of it," she cheered.
Most importantly, Lizzo credited staying true to herself despite the pushback for her win. "I promise that you will attract people in your life who believe in you and support you," she said in front of a tearful audience that included Beyoncé and Taylor Swift in standing ovation, before giving a shout-out to her team, family, partner and producers on the record, Blake Slatkin and Ricky Reed.
Watch the video above for Lizzo's complete acceptance speech for Record Of The Year at the 2023 GRAMMYs. Check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of GRAMMY Rewind, and be sure to tune into the 2024 GRAMMYs on Sunday, Feb. 4, airing live on the CBS Television Network (8-11:30 p.m. LIVE ET/5-8:30 p.m. LIVE PT) and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on-demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on-demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the special airs).
Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
New Music Friday: Listen To Songs From Ariana Grande, Lil Nas X, Jay-Z & More
The year is already off to a massive start, with Jan. 12 spawning new releases from 21 Savage, ITZY, Jennifer Lopez and many more. Check out some of the hotly anticipated tracks here.
January always marks fresh starts and clean slates as the world collectively turns the page from one year to the next. The world of music is no exception: the second week of 2024 is filled with artists embarking on new eras and album cycles.
On the full-length front, 21 Savage unveiled his third solo LP, american dream, with guest assists from the likes of Summer Walker ("Prove It"), Doja Cat ("N.H.I.E."), Young Thug and Metro Boomin ("Pop Ur S–t") and more while Kali Uchis celebrates her just-announced first pregnancy with longtime boyfriend Don Toliver by delivering her second Spanish-language studio set Orchídeas.
Meanwhile, Reneé Rapp brings the new Mean Girls musical movie to life as Gen Z's Regina George, with a soundtrack that also features Megan Thee Stallion, Auli'i Cravalho, Angourie Rice and more, and K-pop act ITZY makes a statement on their sophomore Korean-language album, Born To Be, which gives all five members a chance to shine with individual solo tracks on top of swaggering bangers like "Untouchable" and the title track.
In addition to star-studded album drops, Jan. 12 sees several big single releases too. Press play on hotly anticipated musical resets from Ariana Grande and Lil Nas X, lead singles from Jennifer Lopez and Sheryl Crow, and a monumental collaboration between D'Angelo and Jay-Z for the new movie The Book of Clarence below.
Ariana Grande — "yes, and?"
Ariana Grande is officially back and ready to own everything. For "yes, and?" — her first new musical offering since 2020's Positions — the superstar is doling out heavy-hitting words to live by, disguised as a glossy pop confection that takes an irresistible cue from Madonna's "Vogue."
Both an exercise in self-affirmation and a runway-ready Pride anthem, "yes, and?" finds Grande unapologetically sharing her truth in a way she hasn't since 2018's "thank u, next." Her voice dripping with honey, the soon-to-be Wicked star slyly addresses the recent tabloid fodder surrounding her personal life.
"Now I'm so done with caring/ What you think, no, I won't hide/ Underneath your own projections/ Or change my most authentic life," she vows in between spine-tingling harmonies and plenty of vocal fireworks. Ari only gets more blunt from there, clapping back with her whole chest about the obsession with her body, relationship status, sex life and more. In her words, "Yes…and?"
Jennifer Lopez — "Can't Get Enough"
Jennifer Lopez's ninth studio album, This Is Me… Now, has been a long time coming. But if lead single "Can't Get Enough" is any indication, the sequel to 2002's This Is Me… Then will be well worth the wait when it arrives Feb. 16. The track, which samples the late Alton Ellis' 1967 release "Still in Love," is a fizzy, funky delight that pops like a blast of champagne straight out the bottle.
On the song's chorus, the multi-hyphenate superstar giddily professes just how much she loves being in love (and back in love with now-husband Ben Affleck). And while the accompanying music video pokes fun at her trio of past marriages, fans can rest assured she's singing the lovestruck lyrics to the same Dunkin'-lovin' guy she was serenading 21 years ago on This Is Me… Then.
Jeymes Samuel x D'Angelo x Jay-Z — "I Want You Forever"
A new D'Angelo single would be a major event. So would a new Jay-Z single. After all, it's quickly coming up on 10 years since the neo-soul star released his last album, 2014's Black Messiah and the rap mogul's last solo single was the title track off 2017's 4:44.
However, director Jeymes Samuel managed to coax both men back into the studio to join forces for the soundtrack of his new biblical film The Book of Clarence starring Lakeith Stanfield. On "I Want You Forever," D'Angelo holds court with a hypnotic, repetitive hook before ceding the mic to Hov for the song's lone, pleading verse.
Lil Nas X — "J CHRIST"
Nearly three years after giving the devil a lap dance in the hellish music video for his No. 1 hit "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," Lil Nas X is flipping the script and ascending to heaven on his new single "J CHRIST." Well, not for too long — turns out a giant stripper pole connects the celestial realm with the fires of purgatory, and Lil Nas X is equally at home in each.
The track's high-concept, cinematic music video has it all: angelic doppelgängers of everyone from Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey and Oprah to Michael Jackson and Barack Obama; Lil Nas cooking up a cauldron filled with human limbs; and yes, even the rapper pinned to a cross in a visual sure to enrage the critics who were already up in arms before the track was even released. But by song's end, as Lil Nas X takes on the role of Noah emerging from a worldwide flood, the GRAMMY winner makes clear the hip-hop banger isn't just religious cosplay — it's a new beginning.
Sheryl Crow — "Evolution"
Sheryl Crow is uncharacteristically on edge on "Evolution," the lead single and title track of her forthcoming 11th studio album. The queen of bright singer/songwriter jams like "All I Wanna Do" and "Soak Up the Sun" (and newly inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famer) takes aim at the encroaching threat of artificial intelligence to the music industry and creativity at large on the spacey track.
To top it all off, she even recruited Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine to concoct a supercharged guitar solo that ratchets the uneasiness up to 11 as Crow warns, "Where are we headed in this paradise?/ We are passengers and there's no one at the wheel."
Photo: John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management
New Year's Songs: 16 Tracks To Give You A Fresh Start In 2024, From The Beatles To Taylor Swift
Whether you're looking to vibe with J Balvin or roar with Katy Perry, let these tracks welcome you to a prosperous and hopeful new year.
The beginning of a new year often results in moments of reflection as well as anticipation about what lies ahead. And with the myriad of feelings that ensue upon New Year's Eve, music serves as a powerful source for both introspection and inspiration.
There are countless songs that give listeners a chance to reflect and resonate with the possibilities of what's yet to come. Whether it's the pulsingly hopeful beat of Jamie xx's "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)," the inspiring narrative of The Notorious B.I.G's "Juicy," or Elton John's pumped-up "I'm Still Standing," a good soundtrack is the perfect catalyst for starting a new year on the right note.
As you envision what the coming year has in store, enjoy this playlist from GRAMMY.com — curated not just to celebrate the moment the clock strikes 12, but to infuse the coming year with inspiration and cheer.
79.5 — "B.D.F.Q"
Inspired by singer Kate Mattison's experiences in Detroit, 79,5's "B.D.F.Q." is about perseverance in the face of a music industry marred by misogyny. Short for "B—, Don't F—ing Quit," "B.D.F.Q." amplifies a mood of independence and strength with the declaration, "They! Don't mean a thing/ Don't mean a thing, just do your thing!" While the message is timeless, "B.D.F.Q." will certainly amp you up for any challenges the new year presents.
The Beatles — "Here Comes The Sun"
Whether you spin the 1969 original or the reinvigorated 2019 mix, the Beatles' "Here Comes The Sun," remains a classic symbol of continuation and hope. A track from the Fab Four's iconic Abbey Road album, this George Harrison composition is celebrated for its uplifting melody and serene lyrics that playfully describe a new dawn and brighter days ahead.
Elton John — "I'm Still Standing"
Elton John delivered an upbeat ode to durability and the ability to bounce back with "I'm Still Standing," a 1983 track that resonates 40 years on. Between its catchy melody and John's energetic performance (particularly in the beach-set music video), the song conveys a triumphant message about overcoming challenges and emerging stronger.
"Hamilton" — "My Shot"
Of the many dynamic numbers in Lin-Manuel Miranda's renowned musical "Hamilton," "My Shot" is arguably the most inspirational and universal. A powerfully charged manifesto that embodies ambition and determination — delivered with an electrifying blend of hip-hop and theatrical flair — "My Shot" celebrates seizing opportunities and making a mark. It's a welcome New Year's song choice for those compelled to channel their inner strength and embrace new challenges in the year ahead.
J Balvin — "6 AM" feat. Farruko
This vibrant reggaeton track from J Balvin's 2013 album La Familia encapsulates the spirit of spontaneity. Its infectious beat and catchy lyrics manifest as a celebration of lively nights and the adventures that unfold in the early after hours — hence, the 6 a.m. title. This one's for the night owls, who may see the sun rise at the turn of the new year.
Jamie xx — "I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)" feat. Young Thug, Popcaan
"I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)" by Jamie xx is as upbeat and optimistic as hip-hop tracks come. Featuring Young Thug and Popcaan, the 2015 track melds elements of dance and reggae for an infectious ode to good times ahead — an enduring NYE sentiment.
Jimmy Chamberlin Complex — "Life Begins Again"
The title track of their 2005 album, "Life Begins Again" is an intricate and evocative composition that blends elements of jazz and rock with a bit of emo sentiment. The track showcases Jimmy Chamberlin's exceptional drumming prowess while promising that life is cyclical — every day can be the first of your life with the right attitude.
John Lennon — "Just Like Starting Over"
With themes of rekindling love and starting anew, John Lennon's "[Just Like] Starting Over" is a fitting tribute to fresh starts and the enduring power of renewal in all aspects of life. And as the final single released while he was alive, it's a bittersweet testament to Lennon's enduring legacy.
Katy Perry — "Roar"
Katy Perry's "Roar," from her 2013 album Prism, is a proud declaration of self-empowerment and finding one's voice. An electrifying track with a booming chorus and spirited lyrics, it embodies the journey from silence to strength. Its message of embracing one's true self and speaking out makes it an inspiring celebration of new beginnings.
Lisa LeBlanc — "Pourquoi faire aujourd'hui"
For those looking to give themselves a little break as the new year begins, Lisa LeBlanc's "Pourquoi faire aujourd'hui" may be the song for you. A single from her 2021 album Chiac Disco, the energetic, disco-inspired French language track features playful lyrics about procrastination, with its titular line asking, "Why do today what you could do tomorrow?" — starting the year off in laid-back fashion. If tu ne parles pas Français, LeBlanc's catchy dance beats are fuel for a joyful New Year's Eve atmosphere.
Lizzo — "Good As Hell"
Like many of Lizzo's songs, "Good as Hell" captures a vibrant, empowering spirit. It celebrates self-care and resilience in the face of adversity, blending a lively rhythm with Lizzo's dynamic vocals. Its uplifting lyrics and infectious energy encourage a sense of confidence and self-appreciation — a powerful anthem of positivity any time of the year.
Nina Simone — "Feeling Good"
A timeless classic first made famous by Nina Simone, "Feeling Good" is a powerful anthem of rejuvenation and hope. Simone's jazz-infused rendition was released in 1965; its resolute delivery captures a spirit of personal transformation and empowerment, offering an enduring sentiment going into the new year: "It's a new dawn/ It's a new day/ It's a new life for me, ooh/ And I'm feeling good."
Notorious B.I.G. — "Juicy"
Although The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy" is a personal account of the late rapper's rise to the top, the song encapsulates a spirit of triumph that can inspire anyone with a dream. From its bouncy beat to the iconic "If you don't know, now you know" hook, "Juicy" will have you reaching for the stars.
Otis Redding & Carla Thomas — "New Year's Resolution"
Memphis legends Otis Redding and Carla Thomas' aptly titled 1967 album King & Queen is notable for being the final studio release before Redding passed away that December. The album also spawned a NYE classic: "New Year's Resolution." With lyrics that explore the concept of making resolutions and embracing change in the new year. While the song lacks Redding's trademark soulful wail, "New Year's Resolution" is temperate and contemplative — a reprieve from the let-it-all-out powerful Stax sound to ease your way into the new year.
Peter Cat Recording Co. — "Portrait of a Time"
Both modern and nostalgic, Peter Cat Recording Co.'s "Portrait of a Time" blends jazz, and indie rock for an eclectic and nostalgic, introspective jam. The song carries a reflective mood of contemplation and transition, with lyrics that encourage leaving "confusion and darkening clouds" in the past and hopping in the Lamborghini of life for a new wild ride.
Taylor Swift — "New Year's Day"
After all of the bold, empowered statements on Taylor Swift's 2017 album reputation, she closes the LP with a tender, piano-driven ballad that captures the quiet intimacy and hopeful sentiments of a new year. Aptly titled "New Year's Day," the song's reflective and heartfelt lyrics contemplate love and loyalty found in life's fleeting moments. Swift's delicate vocal delivery and the track's gentle melody evoke a sense of warmth and enduring connection, making it a poignant choice to embrace the new year with a sense of closeness.
Photo: WireImage, Kevin Kane/WireImage, Han Myung-Gu/WireImage, Kaitlyn Morris/Getty Images, Hannah Diamond
TikTok's Musical Class Of 2023: 8 Artists Who Transformed Virality Into Stardom, From Tyla to FIFTY FIFTY
After yet another year of TikTok's domination in musical discovery, get to know eight artists who emerged on the app as certified hitmakers this year.
Music and social media have never been more intertwined. As TikTok continues to integrate into the music industry, for many artists, being a musician and a content creator are no longer mutually exclusive.
Riding the algorithm to fame isn't always easy, but it's undeniable that TikTok is now one of the most effective marketing tools for artists, just as acts like Nicky Youre and Alexandra Kay saw in 2022. From Tyla's viral "Water" dance challenge to Sexyy Red's "SkeeYee" hair flip trend, up-and-coming artists took advantage of TikTok's power once again in 2023 — like the K-pop act FIFTY FIFTY, who transformed their catchy dance-pop single "Cupid" into a skyrocketing commercial breakthrough.
"TikTok provides promotional opportunities for rising artists like us [by] providing an opportunity to be exposed in many different angles," FIFTY FIFTY's Keena told GRAMMY.com.
For hip-hop duo Flyana Boss — whose single "You Wish" took off on the app — TikTok has helped them learn "the power of manifestation and never giving up on your dreams." They add, "there's a strong audience out there that's hungry for artists like us."
TikTok has both personalized and revolutionized how music is shared daily. Here are eight artists who brought your "For You" page to life — and made it big in 2023.
If anyone's an It Girl, it's Aliyah Bah. Known as Aliyah's Interlude online, the TikTok influencer quickly grew a fan base through her fashion sense, blending Y2k fashion with Harajuku style in her own #Aliyahcore. This year, she took a step into pop stardom with her anthem "IT GIRL."
Inspired by the likes of Azealia Banks, Ayesha Erotica, and Beyoncé's RENAISSANCE, Bah's poppy house track channels a confidence that's dazzling and dramatic. More than a million TikTok videos spotlight the song's chorus — "I-T-G-I-R-L! You know I am that girl" — over outfit checks, girl nights, lip syncs, makeup transitions, and much more.
"When I dropped it, the song just went crazy immediately and wanted to make all the promo based on just, like, me being super cute and stylish," Bah told TIME.
The influencer and singer further gained notoriety by rocking her girly style in a cameo in Doja Cat's "Agora Hills" music video. #Aliyahcore is all about being unflinchingly true to yourself, and "IT GIRL" channels that hot girl energy —- because Bah is that girl.
Scrolling on country TikTok, the odds are high that you'll come across a video from singer/songwriter Austin Williams — and after hearing his deep, gravelly voice, you'd find it hard to believe he's only 19.
The Nashville musician's mature vocals have helped him propel to nearly half a million TikTok followers, garnering more than 3.8 million likes on the platform. On one of his most viral songs, titled "90s Rap Mashup," he shows off his high-energy rhythmic flow while paying tribute to hip-hop legends. Alternatively, he leans into a solemn side with similarly popular singles "Wanna Be Saved" and "Bury My Bones."
Thanks to his versatility, Williams recently signed a deal with CAA and announced that he's opening on tour for fellow country artist Warren Zeiders (whose ascent to fame is also owed in part to TikTok, which boosted his original song "Ride the Lightning"). Given Williams' natural talent and knack for social media, it's only a matter of time before he's headlining his own tour.
Globally, "Cupid," belonging to the rising South Korean girl group FIFTY FIFTY, took flight as one of TikTok's most inescapable songs this year.
The radiant bubblegum song earned its spot at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, and its incredible 10-week chart streak made it the longest-charting song by a K-pop girl group.
FIFTY FIFTY's Keena praised TikTok for being "user friendly and easily accessible" for music fans. "When these factors meet an easy-listening song like 'Cupid,' the synergy was amplified and aligned with the fast-paced trends," the singer explained to GRAMMY.com. (Currently, Keena is the only member of FIFTY FIFTY, as the group's former agency, Attrakt, recently terminated the contracts of members Aran, Sio, and Saena, filing a lawsuit for alleged defamation and attempting to break their contracts.)
Beyond the sped-up version popularized on TikTok, "Cupid" spurred a series of additional remixes — a "Twin" version, live studio version, and collaboration with Sabrina Carpenter.
Folayan and Bobbi LaNea, the hip-hop duo who go by the stage name Flyana Boss, went viral when they posted a TikTok of themselves running while rapping a verse of their track "You Wish" — and now they're sprinting to victory.
"I think we're both still in shock at how many people these videos have reached," they shared in a statement to GRAMMY.com.
After signing to vnclm/Atlantic Records in 2021, their TikToks have collectively racked up more than 40 million likes on the platform and helped the pair gain more than 1 million monthly Spotify listeners. Sharing music on the app not only helped them grow their fan base this year, it exponentially fueled their ambition.
"TikTok's great for music discovery and as an artist, you can get your music to a large active community of people by posting," the pair said. "So we fed the algorithm as much as we could!"
With their name stemming from "flyness" and "bossness," it's no surprise that Flyana Boss are killing the game — and if you're lucky, you might just catch them on their 2024 headlining tour, which kicks off Feb. 24.
Kenya Grace is no stranger to fame this year. Though her musical specialty is in bedroom pop, her talent swells far beyond her London bedroom. "Strangers," a dance-pop song about ghosting on dating apps, blew up massively on TikTok; one of her first teaser videos for the song now has more than 85 million views.
"I hate making people wait!" she told Rolling Stone UK. "I love being free with [my] socials and, like, just posting stuff, whatever it is that I make that week. 'Strangers' came out really fast, which was great."
At just 25 years old, Grace dethroned Doja Cat on the U.K. singles chart, and became the second British female solo artist in history to score a No. 1 by writing and producing a song entirely by herself. Her echoey, airy delivery and enveloping drum'n'bass production is irresistible, making her debut single with label Warner Records Inc. an instant smash.
After releasing a handful of albums and singles during college, Paul Russell began building a dedicated TikTok following in 2020 — and his foundational years are finally paying off. This year, his charming single "Lil Boo Thang" took off on TikTok with its infectious energy and playful lyrics, peaking at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 — and scoring Russell a hot deal with Arista Records.
Sampling the Emotions' 1977 soulful song "Best Of My Love," Russell's hit exemplifies the growing trend of interpolating older music to inspire and create new art — one he made his own long ago.
"When I first started, I would find a song that was already popular and do a rap verse on the end," he shared in an interview with RANGE. "If someone is scrolling and hears something they recognize, it's like 'Oh! What's he going to do with this?'"
Pulling from Russell's '70s and '00s R&B inspirations, "Lil Boo Thang" conjures a joyful spirit. And since Russell has announced he's working on his upcoming album, only more joy is to come.
"To be honest, I wasn't surprised when it went viral. I been going viral for as long as I can remember," Sexyy Red laughed in an interview with GRAMMY.com.
The rising rapper knows how to navigate TikTok like a pro. Her first label mixtape, Hood Hottest Princess, dropped this summer via Open Shift, following her previously released singles "Pound Town" (with Tay Keith) and "SkeeYee" going wildly viral on the video-sharing app this year. "Pound Town" landed a highly anticipated Nicki Minaj feature, and "SkeeYee" became the first No. 1 on the new TikTok Billboard Top 50 chart in September.
"TikTok helped introduce my music to people who might have never heard it before, and also me as a person outside of what I say in my songs," she described. "I also like seeing how people get [their] own meanings from my music."
"I learned that I can really do anything I put my mind to. I'm grateful that I get to be in a position to take care of my family and friends, and put out music that people can turn up to," she continued. "The doubters will be believers real soon."
Hips don't lie, and when a snippet of the chorus from Tyla's "Water" became the TikTok sound of a viral dance challenge, the artist swiftly surged to international fame.
In 2019, the South African singer found success with her vibey debut single "Getting Late," but her global breakthrough this year came from the universal catchiness of "Water." Serving as just a sample of the 21-year-old's incredible musical talent, the viral amapiano track also earned the singer her first GRAMMY nomination this year in the newly minted Best African Music Performance category, alongside ASAKE & Olamide's "Amapiano," Burna Boy's "City Boys," Davido and Musa Keys' "UNAVAILABLE," and Ayra Starr's "Rush."
"I've noticed that people's attention spans aren't that long anymore," Tyla told 2024 GRAMMYs host Trevor Noah for Interview magazine. "People like watching short videos, so with my music, I love creating small videos that I hope will trend. Because I've been on social media throughout my life… I use that to my advantage when promoting a song."
Bringing pure passion to her amapiano and pop music, it's clear Tyla isn't just keeping her head above water — she's ready to ride the waves, from TikTok and beyond.