How Drake Harnessed TikTok To Push 'Toosie Slide' To No. 1 Drake is now the first male artist with three No. 1 debuts on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. His most recent hit has raised the question of how TikTok is fueling chart success.

The 'Genius Move' That Helped Drake's New Song Slide Into No. 1

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/837245071/837511720" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

This week the latest single from Drake, "Toosie Slide," debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. That makes the Canadian rapper the first male artist in Billboard history to have three singles reach No. 1 upon release. This hit, though, is not quite like his others. NPR Music's Sidney Madden tells us why.

SIDNEY MADDEN, BYLINE: A perfect storm of quarantine boredom and creativity has bred a boom in dance challenges online lately. Many of these challenges are taking shape on TikTok, the bite-sized video sharing app. They're also propelling the songs tied to those challenges up the Billboard charts.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE WEEKND'S "BLINDING LIGHTS")

MADDEN: From The Weeknd's "Blinding Lights" to Dua Lipa's "Don't Start Now," every song on Billboard Hot 100's top five currently has a dance challenge associated with it. Drake, hip-hop's streaming era record-breaker, took notice of the trend, and he decided to get ahead of it. Drake officially dropped "Toosie Slide" on April 3, but the Toronto rapper actually shared the song a month earlier with the dancer Toosie. That's how the song got its name. It was Toosie and his friends who created a custom-fit dance challenge for it. Toosie shared a snippet of his dance creation along with the song on social media, and fans copied the moves.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOOSIE SLIDE")

DRAKE: (Singing) I'ma (ph) show you how to get it. It go right foot up, left foot slide, left foot up, right foot slide. Basically, I'm saying either way, we 'bout (ph) to slide.

MADDEN: This challenge built so much hype before the song was officially released that once the real deal did drop, it shot up the charts. This is not the first time a dance challenge has boosted a Hot 100 hit. It's not even the first time a TikTok challenge has helped a song's chart performance. But those TikTok challenges tend to be fan-created after the song comes out. Carl Lamarre, Billboard's hip-hop editor, says what makes this new No. 1 different is that the accompanying challenge was premeditated by the artist himself.

CARL LAMARRE: For Drake, it was a genius move for him to lock in and kind of preplan the whole process because considering his name holds so much weight, why not just kick off another challenge while everybody is just minding they own business in they living room? We need something to do. We need to stay active.

MADDEN: Although it's catchy now, Lamarre predicts "Toosie Slide" doesn't have the same staying power as some of Drake's past No. 1's.

LAMARRE: I don't think it'll supersede, like, "In My Feelings" as far as, like, the duration of how long it can maintain a No. 1 spot, but I do give it four to five weeks. Either way, the boy - he's too hot. He's too hot.

MADDEN: But while we're still inside, we can enjoy it while it lasts. Sidney Madden, NPR Music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TOOSIE SLIDE")

DRAKE: (Rapping) Black leather gloves - no sequins.

Copyright © 2020 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.