R&B has always had a special place in the hearts of TikTok users and the company itself. TikTok’s two biggest LIVE events involved R&B superstar The Weeknd and Justin Bieber’s recent Valentine’s Day performance of JOURNALS, his most R&B-influenced album. Now, the genre is having a major moment on TikTok, with multiple trending songs and a breakout star. Check out the stories below:
- Bronx rapper Lil Tjay and R&B star 6LACK have had TikTok users across the world in their feelings with their somber breakup anthem “Calling My Phone” garnering over 95k creations on the platform. The two have become notorious for mood music on TikTok in the past year, as Lil Tjay’s Pop Smoke “Mood Swings” hit collaboration and 6LACK’s “PRBLMS” have both soared on the platform. Quite the avid TikTok users, they are now featuring music video footage as well as the story of the making of the R&B tune on their own pages. The song’s melancholic mood has inspired much creativity in the TikTok community, with some of the highlights including creators teaching lessons in loyalty and even showing off their own takes on the song, some in rather unlikely locations. The song’s TikTok success helped the song make a major commercial impact, landing a #3 debut on the Billboard Hot 100.
- Rihanna has kept her fans waiting a while for new music,, but that hasn’t stopped more than one of her songs from reaching viral status. In recent weeks, “Pour It Up” (33.7k video creations) Rihanna’s cavernous collab with Mike WiLL Made It, made waves on the platform, inspiring users to make decadent burritos, to try little-known candies, and to make daring hair decisions. It’s more pop-facing than R&B, but Rihanna’s 2008 hit “Disturbia” is also having a viral moment (311k video creations, 78 million video views on #disturbia), with particular focus on RiRi’s spoken “what’s wrong with me?” line in the song’s intro. The sound is ideal for self-deprecating TikTok users who know they’re wrong, but are tempted to do the wrong thing anyway.
- Brent Faiyaz already has a large and devoted fanbase, but his fans know that he has superstar potential. His new TikTok-trending single “Gravity,” featuring Tyler, The Creator and DJ Dahi, might be the song that gets him to the upper echelon of stardom. The song already has 567k video creations from users (including influencers like Loren Gray) who’ve taken to the song’s “don’t act like I’m average” hook, using it to soundtrack clips of their extraordinary skills, ranging from yo-yo excellence, to mouth-watering cooking abilities, to making custom lipstick, and even creating a Brent Faiyaz rug. The song already has over 13 million streams on Spotify and currently sits in the Top 15 of Spotify’s U.S. Viral 50 chart.
Grammy-nominated R&B rising star Giveon has TikTok in its feelings with his viral song “HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY,” which has over 115k video creations on the platform. The song has several qualities that TIkTok users generally enjoy, including “ethereal” vibes, pitch-manipulated vocals, and a clearly communicated message. “HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY” is the ideal backing music for hating Valentine’s Day, vibing at a coral beach, or just admiring Giveon’s golden pipes. The deeply emotional and cathartic song is currently in the Top 10 of Spotify’s U.S. Viral 50 and at #75 on the Billboard Hot 100 (Giveon’s first entry as a lead artist), but it’s important to remember that a sad song is no substitute for therapy.
- It isn’t just established R&B stars who make noise on TikTok–the platform is helping young artists like Reyanna Maria rise to prominence. Reyanna built an audience on TikTok by engaging with other users on the platform, making her own beats and covering songs by Ariana Grande, Summer Walker, SZA, and Billie Eilish. Reyanna had a major breakthrough in December when she duetted a beat by @katoproducer with a calm and confident rap verse, earning over 2 million views. After clamoring from followers and fans, Reyanna made the audio into a TikTok sound (1.4 million video creations), and eventually a full song called “So Pretty.” Reyanna Maria’s success with “So Pretty” led to a record deal with Republic Records, and earlier this week, “So Pretty” earned a verse from Tyga for the official remix.
According to TikTok’s 2020 Music Report, R&B was the third-most popular genre on the platform, only trailing hip-hop and pop. Recently, and especially during Black History Month, R&B artists have been showing appreciation for TikTok and its community. Last night, Texan Soul singer Leon Bridges hosted a LIVE stream to raise money for the Alvin Ailey Foundation on TikTok, after previewing his cover of gospel deep cut “Like A Ship” exclusively on TikTok last week. Other R&B icons, including Kelly Rowland, Ashanti, and Monica have hosted LIVE conversations with Black TikTok creators to talk about their careers and issues important to them. With plenty of love on both sides, TikTok’s love affair with R&B is in no danger of ending any time soon.
On Friday, TikTok ends Black History Month with a bang airing the TikTok LIVE Make Black History Celebration. Airing on Friday February 26th and hosted by Karen Civil and Challan, the TikTok LIVE Make Black History Celebration traces the evolution of California rap, featuring interviews and performances from iconic Cali artists like Snoop Dogg, Tyga, and Saweetie, each with a special backdrop that speaks to their West Coast roots. The 90 minute extravaganza takes the time to shine a spotlight on Black creators, offering a close look at this year’s Black TikTok Trailblazers. Tune in at 8pm ET to watch the extravaganza.
Check TikTok’s newsroom for more noteworthy stories: newsroom.tiktok.com