• Juelle Cadette

How TikTok helped Drake Reach #1

“Right foot up, left foot slide/Left foot up, right foot slide.”

Without a doubt, the voice was Drake’s, but the track was still a mystery. The snippet, shared by popular hip-hop dancer, Toosie, and more importantly the dance step, spread like wildfire across content streams on Tik-Tok.

Drake, who has been the star of many memes and little skin jokes, has had a synergistic relationship with the “innanet” for almost his entire career, has already harnessed the power of mediums like Instagram, by utilizing one of the main reasons social media is heavily used.

Drake surprise released his album, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late” to allegedly get out of a contract with his record label. And whilst this is speculation, there was something greater at work. Drake focused on what worked on his last album launch, and made the new album artwork mock Chik-Fil-A’s famous font, and at the same time, he also made a meme creation tool so that any and every troll out there with an opinion could generate their own memes, all of which he was controlling.

Considering one of the main reasons people use social media stems from narcissism, trolls played into Drake’s trap to share this very cool and trending topic for more likes, praise, and acceptance by their peers, all of which occurred before the album was released.

Fast forward into 2020 with the release of the official video of the new titled, “Toosie Slide”, we see Drake―masked up, gloved out― participating in a scheme of his own creation.

But what makes the Toosie Slide Challenge so fantastic, is that it sets the bar very low for participation; you can join in even though you cannot dance. It is a brilliant marketing strategy that focused on the dance first, song second. It is a total flip from the other TikTok Challenges that we have seen, which are usually fan created, after the song has been released; but this is premeditated by the artist himself to ensure social media virality.

Considering that we are in the midst of the ‘snippet era’, where attention spans are short, the most effective modes of distribution needs to be brief and highly interactive.

It was a genius move, a perfect storm, that when coupled with quarantine boredom, catapulted the song to #1.

Do you remember Hotline Bling and Views? He deployed similar tactics, at his own expense, to ensure his success.

TikTok’s algorithm, which prioritizes content discovery over follower count or popular content, is smart and learns from your viewing preferences. Added to the fact that it has a unique layout, it is a medium that a megastar like Drake cannot ignore.

Other rappers like Tyga have also joined in on the TikTok wave with his new song, Bored in the House, ripped right from Comedian Curtis Roach’s video, where he eye-rolled and banged out the beat to the viral soundbite.

But can TikTok work for relatively unknown artistes? It can, and has been happening organically since the app’s beginning.

Toosie Slide is a perfect example of how producing music specifically for the platform can push you into success, and now is the perfect time to do so, as many people are looking for more ways to engage with music.

There aren’t many mediums which provide that kind of appeal. A simple @ can reach anyone you tag, regardless of how famous they are.

With the success of Toosie Slide, Drake is showing us once more that he is one of, if not, the most strategic, influential, and digitally savvy rapper of our generation. Is it too early to say that the King of Summer has struck again?

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