Tiktok Is Turning New Artists (Rappers) Into Viral Sensations. But Who Actually Benefits?

In Tiktok’s previous avatar as Musical.ly, the teen and tween-favored app was a very crucial platform for the viral stars. Those who looked like they were made for the orange carpet of the Kid’s Choice Awards in Nickelodeon rather than the top of the Billboard charts. Prior to the success of Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’, Tiktok was viewed as much of the same: a tangle of egirls, shark memes, and immature jokes.

Recently, the rise of Lil Nas X has seen the short-video sharing app gain a first-ever major taste of its worthiness as a music platform. Nas X has now spent three weeks being the No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Breaking the streaming records that were previously held by Drake. In an interview with Time, he said he should rather be paying Tiktok for success. Since they boosted the song so much. He further adds that his song ‘Old Town Road’ was getting to the point that it was almost dead. But a turning point came when Tiktok hit it almost every time and since then the song came up, so he credits them a lot.

In August 2018, Chinese tech company ByteDance consumed Musical.ly. Ever since then merged it with its own lip-syncing app Tiktok. The app is popularly known as Douyin in its land of origin China. Tiktok was launched in North America in August of last year itself. It transformed Musical.ly’s once lifeless stream of memes into a hot spot for music discovery and promotion.

Increasing and equalizing popularity has been at the core point of Tiktok’s attractiveness. The app that mainly operates via its home page. And displays to its users an endless flow of-15-60 seconds long videos from other users. Everyone from users with 6 billion followers to those who are just getting started with the app has an equal opportunity. To be seen likes and motivated into virality. The discovery of the content on the app doesn’t depend on the follower count like other social media platforms. Rather it depends on trending hashtags, a shared feed, and inside jokes that promises almost everyone a chance at fame.

Likewise, the promise of periodic fame has tempted a bunch of musicians, labels and brands to use the app in every possible way. With an estimated 800 million downloads worldwide, Tiktok’s promotional tactics and capabilities are immense. Promoting songs to global success through trending hashtags is no novel idea. But the capability to remix and duet songs has given this generation of Tiktok users a new tool they can play with.

A particular type of music is tasting success on the app. Mainly, songs that lend themselves to physical humor and have lyrics that can be mimicked, are growing in popularity. Upon opening the Tiktok once, some lip-syncing videos like that of from user @sav_age619 flooded the feed. In the video of her, she lip-syncs and stimulates lyrics from Doja Cat and Rico Nasty’s collaboration ‘Tia Tamera’ staring at the camera. Also, finger-wagging and miming on ‘I’m not his buttercup’ earned the Tiktok star likes over 128.5K.

There’s a fusion of hip-hop and parody at the center of the app. The act of cherishing the memes has evolved into creating music built especially to inspire memes. Whether or not it is a diss track that’s in response to fake tweets or some are videos of people painting their faces to imitate a rapper. The common thread in all these among the Tiktok users is a sense of fun. Though as a community, the Tiktok users aren’t inborn problematic. Instead, they drift towards jokes that are absent of the politics that Facebook and Twitter thrive on.

Mentioned below are the artists who not only inspired trends on Tiktok. But who also hopes to create the kind of music that blends these formative concepts into widespread popularity and success, just like Lil Nas X did.

The BoyBoy West Coast

A simple review clip that was on Instagram grew into an immediate viral fascination when it gained attraction on Tiktok. The Boyboy West Coast, a Santa Barbara rapper, lip-synched a segment of his then-unknown song ‘U Was At The Club (Bottoms Up)’ directly on the camera. Inspiring a countless number of videos on Tiktok that parodied the segment over and over for months.

The song is a tangle of PC music soundtracks and melodies. Along with the rapper’s deep and loud voice, making for a comical composition. Although the joke wasn’t on BoyBoy. The rapper in an interview with Genius talked about how the Tiktokers are dressing up just like him. And singing as well for the ‘drink still in my cup challenge‘, which is why he finds it pretty funny.

Despite all the memes circulated, people genuinely loved his song. And everything else about the California-based rapper. Everything starting from his tadpole-shaped eyebrows and well-manicured beard to his exaggerated movements. All were lovingly mimicked until it all became incredibly sketchy. The song inspired and gave rise to a lot of crazy videos, creating a corner of an app. Where babies and adults were being transformed into a person with dark piles of eyeliner.

Supa Dupa Humble

This New York-based DJ-turned-rapper Supa Dupa Humble is, like his name suggests, grateful for his success on Tiktok. After the discovery of the app through the comments on his Youtube videos, he downloaded the Tiktok app. Later found out that his song ‘Steppin‘, that features Mills Supreme, had its own ‘#idontknow challenge.’

In an interview with Complex, he told that the song was not in the system officially at the time. Tatt’s why they couldn’t track the actual videos related to this song of his. But he also stated he knew there were at least a few hundred of such videos. Later, he contacted Tiktok’s music content and artist relations director Mary Rahmani to find out more about this. Supa realized the scope this song hold about a week later ‘Stepping’ was officially uploaded on Tiktok. Revealing there were already 500,000 videos available on the platform.

The #idontknow challenge defines theTikTok’s carefree attitude. There is neither any message or diss nor any real point. Except for a meme which creates an inside joke through repetition and physical humor. After this huge success on Tiktok, Supa states his ultimate goal when creating and composing a song now. That is for it to eventually get the meme treatment. He added now that he understands the importance of meme and how it can positively affect music. He will take it as an important factor in his creative process.

Lil Nas X

Lil NAs X’s song ‘Old Town Road’ gained a quick boost on TikTok under the promoted hashtags #cowboygang and #yeeyeejuice. The videos of which saw Tiktokers drink from cups that are labeled ‘yee yee juice’. Transforming them into cowboys wearing bath towels and nibbling straws.

Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ climbed up the Country Music charts, only for Billboard to remove the song later. Citing that the song lacks the “components of present country music to chart in its present version.” After gaining the help of country music secluded Billy Ray Cyrus (who quite similarly stretched the limits of country music with his song“Achy Breaky Heart” in 1992), the song “Old Town Road” found itself lying at the center of conversations about country music’s problem with race, Billboard’s outdated regulations, and the limits of genre itself.

The Atlanta-based rapper, born in Montero Lamar Hill, celebrated his 20th birthday. On the same day, the country-trap hit entered the Billboard Hot 100 at No.1. The song “Old Town Road” has surpassed the fame of Tiktok virality. Lil Nas is now working on following up on the record-breaking, genre-bending track that took over headlines for weeks. He is recently creating a new rock-tinged collaboration with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, and tweeted, “Y’all think they gone let me on the rock charts?”


Initiating his career as a professional dancer, ZaeHD went from supporting Future on tour to creating music with his brother CEO. CEO, in his interview, told that there hit ‘All In’ is a different genre. He also challenged the public saying “You can go back and see if you can find somebody like us, I’ll wait.”

The brothers, always in sync, dance as if they’re tuned to a friendly swing. It’s as enjoyable and fun to listen to as it is to watch. Coming from Little Rock, their breakout song, “All In” gained a quick boost on TikTok. Soon after the spread of the Em Em Dance. The Em Em dance, first uploaded by user @kingk3z, inspired thousands of such same videos. The videos spread to YouTube and eventually reformed ZaeHD and CEO’s success. ZaeHD and CEO also add that they were unaware of all this before someone came and told them.

The song’s introducing stanza, which has recorded clips of people discovering Bille Eilish’s age. And thirsting over girls (and McDonald’s), became a TikTok hit. The ‘trap’ is by far the most popular genre on the Tiktok app. These new versions of the genre that embraces parody are becoming more popular day by day.

Cookie Cutters

Collaborating with Andre Swilley, Australian-based production duo Cookie Cutters have created different songs. These songs are specifically designed to be mimicked. Adam Friedman, one-half of Cookie Cutters tells Complex in an interview that they have tried to create distinct moments for each lyric in the song. “You Do You” quickly earned 100,000 likes on a snippet of the song.

Their follow-up, after the hit song, “Accidents,” also inspired a couple of videos. But it was marginally less well-taken than their debut song. The duo now has a new plan for success, “Andre is heading to the studio this week to record three 15-seconds long songs. Most of the Tiktok stars think it sucks that the general public has started to catch up now. But there’s quite a lot you can do within 15 seconds.


The iLOVEFRiDAY’s song ‘Mia Khalifa’ all started and was composed because of a fake tweet. It was manipulated to make it look like it was written from the adult star Mia Khalifa’s verified Twitter account. The tweet reads the following: “She’s so disrespectful to all Muslim women and gives us a bad image smh.” Apparently, this outrage was in response to one half of iLOVEFRiDAY smoking wearing a hijab, for the video for “Hate Me.” Later on, the song was overshadowed by their follow-up track, which is supposedly its diss reply, ‘Mia Khalifa.’

Smokehijabi tells Complex in an interview “when the song ‘Mia Khalifa’ went viral on TikTok, it was Instagram users who informed us that there was a new video to our song.” Though the song was released in 2018, the song risen in popularity after TikTok user Nyannyancosplay created a lip-sync video of the song, citing the line that would go on to encourage millions of videos. Such as “Hit or miss, I guess they never miss, huh?/You got a boyfriend, I bet he doesn’t kiss ya/He gon’ find another girl and he won’t miss ya/He gon’ skrrt and hit the dab like Wiz Khalifa.”

The #hitormisschallenge at present has over 3.7 million views on the Tiktok app. Some such videos feature teachers finishing the lyrics, “hit or miss I guess they never miss.” While others mimic the original video of Nyannyancosplay. As far as the diss tracks go, the path of ‘Mia Khalifa’ has taken a strange turn in the depths of the TikTok app, all over a fake tweet. But that doesn’t matter to iLOVEFRiDAY: Smokehijabi told Pitchfork that“All of our fans were like, ‘Screw Mia Khalifa. We don’t like her, diss her, so we dropped a diss track.” If you want to know more about it, you can read our article on the ‘#hitormiss challenge.’

CONCLUSION: Above mentioned are some of the examples of how Tiktok is giving new rappers a platform and making their songs a viral success. This should completely denote why the present generation is blindly depending on Tiktok. nd I don’t see why they shouldn’t either.

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