TikTok has become a ubiquitous part of daily life for people across the globe, and it’s absolutely a platform where people create and share various forms of music. And with rap music reigning supreme in many people’s eyes, it’s no wonder that TikTok rap songs have becoming incredibly popular. And so, without further ado, here are what I believe are some of the best rap songs that gone viral thanks to Tik Tok.
The Best TikTok Rap Songs
Let’s begin with a song from 2016 called “Roses.”
Roses by SAINt JHN (2016)
The Imanbek remix of Roses by Saint JHN quickly became one of the most popular songs on TikTok in 2019. Originally released in 2016, the remix of this song by the Guyanese-American rapper became an overnight sensation with an almost unrecognizable tempo and voice.
While the remix makes the lyrics almost indistinguishable and emphasizes an electric bassline, the original song brings a broader depth of emotion to the piece. The slower tempo and layered vocals of the original create the sense of a ballad or love song rather than the club-themed dance hit that was made viral by TikTok.
TikTok may have made Roses famous, but it may have instilled a new meaning and association to the originally performed lyrics.
VALENTINO by 24kGoldn (2019)
This 2019 hit by 24kGoldn is part of his rise to fame through TikTok. The dance to 24kGoldn’s 2019 song VALENTINO by Aviva Sofia went viral in 2019, kickstarting this star’s ride of a lifetime. While many people may be familiar with another one of his songs that went viral on TikTok, “Mood,” VALENTINO is the first of his songs to go viral on the platform.
VALENTINO by 24kGoldn is a song with even more hype than TikTok portrays. Many people may recognize the chorus and the TikTok dance trend, but the bridge (beginning with “mask on / mask off”) and the music video may be the unsung heroes of this lesser-known hype anthem.
Knock Knock by SoFaygo (2019)
Another hit released in 2019, just a few months after 24kGoldn’s hit went viral, created another TikTok dance trend that could trip up even the most skilled at TikTok dances.
The dance trend adjusts the speed of the song as it progresses, making it quite difficult to follow the pattern. In terms of the song itself, there is a bit of edginess in the tempo. The song uses the 4/4 pattern, like many other TikTok famous rap songs made into dance trends.
Only here, instead of the traditional bass emphasis on beats 1 and 3 Knock Knock emphasizes different beats without a regular one or two bar pattern. This alternative bass emphasis does follow the lyrical patterns of emphasis, so it makes sense musically even if it’s not traditional. The TikTok version of this song doesn’t quite do the non-traditional bassline justice.
ROXANNE by Arizona Zervas (2019)
In November of 2019, Arizona Zervas found himself at number 34 on the Billboard Top 100 list thanks to the dance trend that blew up his song, ROXANNE, released just one month prior. The dance trend blows up the intro and first chorus to this viral hit song.
With a shoutout to Instagram in the opening few lines, “all for the gram / b****s love the gram,” Arizona Zervas goes to rap about a girl named none other than… Roxanne. This song has a distinctly catchy chorus, which raps about how this girl’s “never gonna love me but it’s alright” and who thinks “I’m an a******e / she think I’m a player / She keep coming back though / only cuz I pay up.”
Zervas spends the song rapping about a girl who has expensive taste, with lines like “she don’t wait in lines if it’s too long / she don’t drive the whip unless the roof off” and “She from Malibu, Malibu / if you ain’t got no foreign then she laugh at you.” ROXANNE is a very catchy song that was meant to be a viral hit on social media, right from the beginning.
Say So by Doja Cat (2019)
Say So is yet another song made famous for its chorus through a dance trend on TikTok. “Didn’t even notice, no punches left to roll with” might be one of the most famous lines of this 2019 hit from Doja Cat’s Hot Pink album. This song combines a more upbeat tempo with some melismatic vocals often associated with R&B music.
Say So is simply a song about wanting a friend to stop “beating ‘round the bush” and wondering “why you actin’ like you shy.” Many young adolescents can relate to the sentiment behind these lyrics, particularly in young friendships and budding relationships so it stands to reason why this song would blow up on TikTok.
Being able to combine the melismatic R&B aspects of the chorus and the first verse with the slightly harsher rapping in the second verse, Say So by Doja Cat displays her ability to mix genres and styles while keeping it catchy.
The Box by Roddy Ricch (2019)
The last few months of 2019 had back-to-back bangers that made the top 100 Billboard charts, thanks to a “few” TikTok dance trends, and December was no exception. However, the real beginning of Roddy Ricch’s TikTok rise to fame through The Box was a meme that used some of the sound effects from the beginning of the song to mimic a mirror being cleaned and a door squeaking at night.
After its release on December 9th, by December 18th more than 23,000 people were visiting the Genius page daily to view the song.
The song uses an interesting rhyme scheme in the chorus. With an odd number of lines, 11, the chorus rhymes the first two lines rapping “lot” against “SWAT” and uses “box,” the title of the song, for the next three lines instead of 4.
The chorus goes on to rhyme “lazy” with “80’s,” and uses a double short A sound for the last four lines. The rhyme scheme of the chorus combined with the squeaking sound created by Roddy Ricch himself make The Box a masterpiece that just happened to blow up on TikTok.
WHATS POPPIN by Jack Harlow (2020)
WHATS POPPIN, released January 21st of 2020, was one of the last songs to go hugely viral on TikTok prior to the start of the shutdown. The song has an insanely catchy chorus that is rapped once at the beginning and once at the end of one long verse.
The song went viral on TikTok due to its snappy chorus and the versatile nature of the opening lines, “What’s poppin / Brand new whip just hopped in.” It has been used in glow-up videos, as a way to say “What’s up?,” and has been switched for comedic purposes to “What’s poppin / Don’t mind me just watchin.”
This song went viral on TikTok for good reason, but also made Jack Harlow viral and jump-started his career as a young rapper. Throughout the song, Harlow raps about various places in the United States. Jack Harlow shows his mastery of matching ego with a genuine sense of self and style throughout WHATS POPPIN to create an excellent song to blow up on TikTok.
Savage by Megan Thee Stallion (2020)
As soon as it was released, this track by Megan Thee Stallion went viral on TikTok. This TikTok trend inspired many across the platform, thus resulting in countless takes on Megan’s track. The most popular altered version of “Savage” involves the Netflix docu-series “Tiger King.”
Savage, the original version, certainly has a catchy chorus: “I’m a savage / classy, bougie, ratchet / Sassy, moody, nasty.” Megan Thee Stallion’s use of two-syllable words is not just a trend of the chorus, it is also echoed in the verses. Nearly all of the words that end phrases in the song are two-syllable words, often emphasizing beat 1 of the 4-beat pattern.
Savage shows the nuances of interpersonal relationships between both men and women. Like many of the best Megan Thee Stallion songs, the empowering nature of reclaiming the word Savage, especially as a woman where it has been used in the derogatory sense, is clear and emphasized very well.
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Bored In the House by Tyga X Curtis Roach (2020)
Nothing sums up the beginning of the worldwide shutdown better than this aptly titled collaboration between Tyga and Curtis Roach, Bored In the House. The chorus opens the song and contains the word bored more than 10 times.
In fact, the very first line discusses how they are “bored in the house and I’m in the house bored.” The flipping of the syntax in the sentence structure is an innovative way to change a seemingly simple phrase.
Like being bored while in the house, the chorus plays with different ways to say the same sentiment, as if the song itself is bored. The verses often take aspects of quarantine life as play on words to show how bored they are. For instance, “can’t find the remote outta control / outta my mind” depicts how they are bored out of their mind. The phrase uses the remote control as a basis for the metaphor.
The song also uses boredom in typical rap fashion to claim that their competition is no match for them with lines like “my competition is boring.” The chorus is repeated several times throughout the song, totaling the number of times the word “bored” is said to 96, just shy of 100. This is all within the 3-minute song. Oddly enough, the word bored isn’t mentioned outside of the chorus, it is only alluded to.
Tap In by Saweetie (2020)
The final song on our list comes during the first summer of the shutdown, when a lot of pent-up energy from being shut inside our homes created a perfect storm. Tap In was released initially as a single for her album, Pretty B**** Music. It has since been remixed to feature artists including Post Malone, Jack Harlow, and DaBaby, each with their own verse around their own styles.
The most interesting part of this chorus is the rhythmic changes between lines. The first line of the chorus, “Lil waist, fat a**, b**** tap in” starts with an up-beat. The word “Lil” gets more emphasis than one would expect to hear, and it works really well.
The next phrase, “Tap, tap, tap in” doesn’t have any pick-up note and is clearly emphasizing a downbeat. This pattern continues for the remainder of the chorus, alternating up-beat first, then downbeat first. The rhythmic variation of the entire song, Tap In, makes it interesting to listen to rhythmically, and even better to dance to on TikTok.
TikTok has made famous, and contributed to the fame of, many songs, and rap music was absolutely no exception. The dance trends that made many TikTok rap songs famous may be very cool to watch, it’s always important to never forget the hard work and artistry that goes into making these songs strong enough to go viral.
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