Hip-Hop By TikTok – Whose Trending?

Lecrae performs onstage during the Agenda Festival on June 30

Whose Music Is Popping On TikTok & Why?

The battle between “real hip-hop” and music that achieves mainstream success is as old as the genre of rap itself. In the past, music found popularity through radio, television, and politicking within the music industry – now music can find the light of day through the magic of social media algorithms.

The power TikTok possesses within the music industry is unquestionable. TikTok’s platform has become a hotbed for the discovery of both artists and songs. Superstars like Chloe Bailey have used the app as a focal point of their marketing strategy, which helped “Have Mercy” achieve viral success before it was even released. Hardline hip-hop heads may feel the need to discredit viral TikTok songs, but they just might be shocked at whose gained popularity on the often-chided app.

Coi Leray

Few artists’ music presence are as prominent on TikTok as Coi Leray. You can find Coi Leray tracks being used on clips of Cheech and Chong, professional athletes, or everyday app users. 

Through the “Megan Knees Challenge” – Leray’s track TWINNEM was used to create more than 340,000 TikTok since the catchy snippet was released. But this isn’t even close to the first time Leray’s songs have caught fire from fan created videos. Her track Gimmy Licky with Rek Banga is currently taking the app by storm as TikTokers play off the stark contrast between Leray and Banga.

Coming In Hot

Lecrae has consistently been one of the most popular Christian rappers in America for more than a decade. The Houston-based artist has made a name for himself throughout the years by merging both his faith and music in a way that’s digestible for the general public. He hopped on the track “Coming In Hot”  with Andy Mineo, which burst onto the scene after more than 167,000 TikTok videos were created featuring it – including Will Smith announcing he’s joining the app. 

Coming In Hot was released in 2018 – but found extreme success in 2021, ballooning to over 63 million streams on Spotify. Now you’ll hear Coming In Hot in bars and clubs, as well as on TikTok. 

Mooski and Doja Cat Make Earworms

“She’s a runner, she’s a trackstar!” Mooski found success with his hit-single “Trackstar” as creators made comedic skits of people running, as well as themselves singing, dancing, and lip-syncing to it. The hook of Trackstar is infectious. Mooski created an earworm that gets stuck in listeners’ heads for days at a time. 

However, Doja Cat is the queen of the earworm. Songs like Get Into It and Ain’t Shit have gained tens of millions of streams despite being the 4th or 5th most popular songs on Doja’s most recent album. TikTok has allowed Doja Cat fans to zero in on tiny portions of her songs like the incredibly catchy chorus to Get Into It or when she shouts “go get a f***ing job” on Ain’t Shit. 

Doja Cat has ridden the social media wave to A-List celebrity status, you couldn’t escape her music if you even wanted to.

Understood the Assignment to the Bodega, Ladies

Scrolling through TikTok this Summer you would’ve seen hundreds of thousands of women lip syncing that they “put on their jewelry just to go to the bodega.” New York artist, Bia blew up after the chorus to her song WHOLE LOTTA MONEY led people back to her music. 

Now – as Summer turns to fall, ladies are flaunting that they “understood the assignment.” Artist Tay Money released “The Assignment” about 3 weeks ago capitalizing on the popular slang phrase “understood the assignment,” which means to do a good job. Although The Assignment is yet to reach one million views on YouTube – the sound has been used more than 50,000 times since this trend began about a month ago. 

These are TikTok songs for women to use for thirst traps and to hype themselves up, expect a music video soon, maybe a remix, and some airplay for The Assignment.

Piff Marti & Akintoye 

Artists that are yet to achieve mainstream success are seeing the possibilities that TikTok offers. Piff Marti released a whole series of TikToks to promote his music. Some clips have millions of views, others have tens of thousands – but he’s been able to generate buzz and generate impressive streaming figures on Spotify. Piff Marti’s single New Crib is a humble, yet swaggerful track about renting a new apartment. 

Similarly Toronto-based artist Akintoye has achieved viral success through his song “Broke.” This track is not available on YouTube or streaming services, but has amassed more than 20 million views on TikTok. 

These artists are relying on their songs resonating with the listener, rather than trying to provoke listeners to create content using their music. The honesty in both of these tracks help illuminate that not all artists are millionaires and that all artists start somewhere.