TikTok is democratizing music by making it easier for relatively unknown artists to climb the social media ranks and eventually top the charts.
One thing that’s refreshing about the most popular TikTok songs of 2020 is that there’s a mix of famous and lesser-known artists hailing from all over the world. The music industry is changing, boundaries are being broken —and it’s all happening on TikTok.
So, here are the real artists behind all those TikTok songs you keep hearing.
1. “Laxed (SIREN BEAT)” by Jawsh 685 (and later “Savage Love” by Jason Derulo)
Created by New Zealand up-and-comer Joshua Stylah, AKA Jawsh 685, as a tribute to his Samoan and Cook Island heritage, the instrumental became one of the most popular TikTok songs in 2020. R&B singer Jason Derulo even sampled it for his single “Savage Love” — albeit without Stylah’s permission. Fortunately, the two were eventually able to squash the beef.
2. “Roses (Imanbek Remix)” by SAINt JHN and Imanbek
This remix comes courtesy of Imanbek Zeikenov, a DJ from Kazakhstan. When Imanbek remixed Guyanese-American rapper SAINt JHN’s “Rose,” it became a surprise hit, reaching No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 in the U.K.
3. “Boss Bitch” by Doja Cat
Doja Cat’s “Boss Bitch” is a dark, moody smash from the “Birds of Prey” film soundtrack.
4. “Supalonely” by Benee feat. Gus Dapperton
Stella Bennet, aka Benee, is the New Zealand pop star responsible for the upbeat but self-deprecating track “Supalonely.”
5. “Stunnin'” by Curtis Waters feat. Harm Franklin
Curtis Waters might still be working as a part-time smoothie maker if his single “Stunnin'” hadn’t become a viral TikTok hit. In July, Guardian reported that the pop track had been used in over 500,000 TikTok videos.
6. “Lottery” by K Camp
Atlanta rapper K Camp had been dropping mixtapes for years before scoring a hit with the track “Lottery” in 2019. However, you might know the song as the “Renegade TikTok song.” By March 2020, “Lottery” was used in over 30 million TikTok videos, generating over 3 billion views on the platform.
7. “Roxanne” by Arizona Zervas
Maryland artist Arizona Zervas’ “Roxanne” was used in 2.3 million TikToks by March 2020. Eventually, the single’s success migrated over to Spotify, where it scored a No. 1 on the United States Top 50 chart, and the Billboard U.S. Chart, where it snagged the No. 4 spot.
8. “Bored in the House'” by Curtis Roach
Detroit rapper Curtis Roach took TikTok by storm with his semi-sardonic “Bored in the House” hook. The catchy rap became so popular on TikTok, in fact, that Tyga eventually reached out to Roach to create an official single based off of the short clip.
9. “Renee” by Sales
The once-obscure song from 2014 by Florida indie band Sales has found new life on TikTok thanks to its positive lyrics.
10. “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Thee Stallion scored her first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Savage” thanks to its popularity on TikTok (and of course, with a little help from Beyoncé).
For more on TikTok’s top hits, meet DJ Disco Lines, the artist behind the viral “Love Story” remix.
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