Music

How BeatKing’s ‘Then Leave’ Went Viral On TikTok In 90 Days

BeatKing is a Texas staple. Every college student in Texas since 2009 has twerked and/or has been twerked on to a song by BeatKing. His legacy has mainly stayed true to the South until this year when his song “Then Leave” featuring Queendom Come went viral on TikTok. Now, everyone is hip to the greatness BeatKing Kong delivered all those years to college kids in the South.

In June, I came across a TikTok of a friend, not from the South, dancing to the familiar room-shaking voice of BeatKing. His aggressive tone of delivery was easily noticeable since his raunchy club hits were essentially the soundtrack of my college experience while attending the University of Houston.

“I ain’t trickin’, I’m just dickin’ bitches down / Head down, pop that, pop that, pop that pussy to the ground,” he raps.

It’s Queen’s “Then leave, bitch, then leave / Get that bread, get that head, then leave, peace out,” opening on the song, however, that sets the tone for the would-be club hit.

It was at that moment that I knew something special was happening.

There were thousands of people doing the coordinated dance created by two Texas girls named Tay and Miyah. All that was left to do was to sit back and wait for two of the biggest TikTokers in the world, Charlie D’amelio and Addison Rae, to make a TikTok doing the dance — which didn’t take long.

The trend snowballed from there. By July, so many people were making TikToks to “Then Leave,” including Cardi B and Lizzo, record labels were calling offering him deals. All of this happened in a matter of 90 days. The song was released in April and by June it had millions of videos made to it and he had signed an artist deal with Columbia Records.

Speaking with the Club God himself, BeatKing shared how it all went down and during a pandemic at that. I also caught up with Queen who recalled making the song with BeatKing at his house and making brownies as they went through the process of creating “Then Leave.”

One day I was randomly scrolling through TikTok and I was like, “Whoa, is that BeatKing? What’s going on?” Going into the University of Houston and then leaving Houston to be in LA, I never heard BeatKing. Nobody knows the name but they know the songs, so my eyes lit up.

No, that’d be real frustrating for my fans, man. A lot of fans, they grow up out here and they leave out of town to go to college or go visit other cities and just be like, “Man, play that BeatKing.” They’ll be like, “Who?”

That’s been a big problem my whole career, people knowing my music, but not knowing BeatKing. It don’t happen now. I think the cucumber thing that helped me out a little bit. Once I started doing that, people really start realizing what I look like.

That’s how I knew a special moment was happening and I know the biggest star on TikTok is Charli D’Amelio. Once she does one, you know it’s a wrap.

That’s all my daughter’s waiting on, was her. Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae. When that happened, they just start screaming. I woke up to them screaming.

Addison made more than one, right?

She just put me on her playlist on Spotify of music she’s listening to. It’s going crazy. Lizzo has repeatedly made videos.

What was your daughter’s reaction when they saw Charli and Addison?

My daughters’ reaction to Charli D’Amelio; they found out she did it before I did, and it was just screaming. They couldn’t believe it. Addison Rae; I saw that before they did. I put them on that and they would say, “Oh my god, daddy, you’re really famous.” They always knew I was BeatKing, but I’ve never had a song that’s entered their world like this TikTok shit. All their friends just want to talk to me on FaceTime. They just can’t believe they daddy is a rapper, rapper.

What was your reaction when you saw Lizzo?

It didn’t really hit me when Lizzo did it. It hit me hard when Cardi B did it.

And her video went viral.

The video went viral. There are like 15 million views. That’s more views than most of the videos on her page right now. That meant a lot to me because I’m a Cardi B fan. I’m a big Offset fan. They wasn’t just bobbing their heads, they were saying the lyrics. That mean they bumped this shit.

Where were you when you first saw Cardi B’s video?

I was driving to my DJ’s house. He stay like 15 minutes away from me, so I’m always just chilling at his house and I was listening to him do this mix, and all of a sudden my phone just blew up. It wasn’t nothing but eight minutes into her posting it that my phone blew up. It just let me know how popular she is. She got more followers than Drake. But those are the two major moments for that song to me. Cardi B posting it, Drake posting it.

Drake posted it?

No Drake didn’t post it, Drake DM’d me about it.

What did Drake tell you?

He DM’d me back in April, because that’s when I had dropped it and that’s when the video came out. He DM’d me saying “I just can’t sit here and watch this shit.” He’s like, “My n****, you killed this verse.” I was like, “N****, you Drake. N****, you kill verses. What the fuck?” Drake started following me in October of last year and we’ve met since then. He said I killed my verse, so that let me know that it was going to be a hit.

Damn.

I didn’t think it would lead to going viral and the whole record deal and the whole industry just watching this shit.

I was interested in seeing how far it would go. Like I said, I’m in LA now, so they don’t really “know” BeatKing.

But you know what’s crazy, though, up in LA? The masses don’t know me out there, but the strip clubs do. The strip club culture? They play a lot of BeatKing at Crazy Girls.

I feel like it’s not a strip club if BeatKing’s not playing at some point.

You got to have BeatKing in the strip club, or you don’t have a fucking strip club.

But Cardi B. Like you said, she has more followers than Drake. I thought it was interesting how she commented and told you that whoever it was needs to get their shit together. She let you know how much trouble she went through to make the video.

That meant a lot to me. She really wanted to make that video. She had to play it on a whole other phone. She went through a lot just to make that video. You know what I’m saying? I think that comment put fire under TikTok’s ass, because what happened was the song accidentally got taken down off TikTok for a week and a half.

Whoa.

It was just a technicality. Shit happens. It was gone for a week and a half, and I thought that was going to stop the whole momentum but it didn’t. The song is so popping that people were uploading it to TikTok themselves and making videos to it. Cardi B went out of her way to play the song from another phone. That song not going nowhere. I know at least for the fucking summer into the fall. The remix ain’t even been done yet.

Who’s on the remix?

I don’t know yet. We out there sending out pitches.

Who would be the dream for the remix?

The dream remix would be Megan Thee Stallion and Drake. I could just easily DM Drake, but I don’t want to come off like people who begging him for verses every fucking day because I know people beg Drake for verses. People beg me for versus every day and I’m BeatKing. If you Drake, you got motherfuckers begging you for verses.

I’m begging Drake for an interview, so I feel you.

I just don’t want to be somebody else doing that. Me and him just got cool. I don’t want to be like, “Hey man, and by the way, you want to hop on…?” I figure like, it’ll happen when it happen.

I don’t know how it works behind the scenes, if people know before an artist hops on a remix or if they do it on their own. Like how Justin Bieber hopped on “What’s Poppin.” Did Jack Harlow’s team know that was going to happen or did just Justin Bieber just do it?

It go both ways, man. Sometimes a label gets the remix done for you, and if that’s the case, then you have no idea what’s going on. The way I like to operate is a relationship with the artist. Once you’re cool with the artist then they’re not going to charge you. It’s more of a beneficial, mutual thing, if everybody’s cool with each other and doing it off the strength of that. For this remix, I’m going to real hands-on.

You make your own beats, so did you make this one?

Yes, I did. The main part of it, the turn-up when that verse come on in club, go up, “boom boom boom.” I know how to control the energy and bodies. I knew if I switch the beat up here, it’s going to make the song go up in orbit when that verse start and it worked. That’s the main part on TikTok. I know how to evoke emotion through 808s. If you switch up a beat at a certain spot, people don’t understand why they like the song that much right there.

That’s very interesting. I talk to a lot of producers, but no one’s ever described production in that way.

Beats are the most important part of the song. I’ve never seen somebody get turned up to acapella. It’s the beat that would make you drive your car faster. If the beat is hard off the top, your work already cut in half. I was like, “Well let me just make Queen say some ratchet ass, gold-digging ass shit,” and you put that with a fucking strip club ass beat, and there they go. The formula.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic and there’s a lot of artists that are struggling a little bit right now, but you are flourishing!

That’s just God man. I had the right song at the right time. It’s like the worst time for the human race right now with COVID and Black Lives Matter and George Floyd. It’s just the worst year, I feel, for mankind. But, it’s been the best year of my life. Normally when I drop new songs, I work them in the clubs, and I do the footwork but the clubs were closed this time so I had to do something that I hate to do. I had to make a challenge. I hate challenges, because everybody’s doing them. When I did that sh*t with The Dancer Locker Room — that’s another ratchet ass Instagram page.

Oh, I follow them.

With The Dancer Locker Room, we did a challenge together and found out every stripper in the country follow them. When they did the #ThenLeaveChallenge, every stripper around the country was on there doing it. That was April through May and every stripper had it. It was already embedded in they brain. They already riding around listening to it, doing private hotel party type of shit.

I’d say around June when everybody just started to go back outside that they start clubbing a little bit again. That’s when the TikTok challenges started. I remember right when they hit 662 videos. That’s when my daughters came in my room, was like, “Daddy, your song is getting popular on TikTok. Every time I open my phone, your song is playing.” The next day we hit a thousand videos. I was like, “Damn, so 400 people made videos to this in a day?” The next week it was 5,000. The next day it was 10,000.

Right when it hit 20,000, it started trending on Apple Music for almost three weeks straight. That’s when all the labels start calling.

Me and my manager was having a conference calls with every major label in the industry and they all just kept talking to me about the song. “It’s a dope song. We want to buy the song.” Columbia was the only one talking to me about a career.

What is your label situation?

I am signed to Columbia Records as a artist. That’s where Polo G is. Beyonce. Lil Nas X and a plethora of other successful ass people. I belong there.

Tell me about Queendom Come, she has the main part of the song on TikTok!

That’s my dog. Me and her, we had a hit song in 2012 called “You Ain’t Bout Dat Life.” A lot of people are just now realizing that’s the same girl. She been doing hooks for me. She’s actually a dope rapper and a real lyricist. I first met her like 2010 when I heard her rap and I wanted her to do a song with me and when she did that, it was “You Ain’t Bout Dat Life.” I was like, “Man, yo, this song going to be big. We going to be on the Billboard charts.” She was like, “Man, shut the fuck up. I don’t even know what that is.” We ended up peaking on the urban charts with no deal.

I saw that post of you going to her house and giving her a check.

That was just me paying her back, man. Every time I get a royalty check or anything I’m always going to look out. Columbia signed me, they didn’t sign her.

There wouldn’t be no signing for me if she didn’t hum those parts and if she didn’t say that hook the way I needed her to say it. People are asking her for hooks and she won’t do them. It’s like, “I’m not doing hooks for nobody but BeatKing. I’m not letting out this sound. I’m not finna slut out this brand we got.” It was just me being a real one.

I also want to talk about “right cheek, left cheek,” because I always say the first time I ever heard that saying was in the “Crush” remix with Just Brittany. I feel like that was maybe every girl’s favorite part of the song, now I hear that saying everywhere and more recently with Beyonce’s verse on the “Savage” remix. Have you noticed that?

Me and my manager, we talk about this a lot, making sure that I don’t come off that way. But a lot of stuff that’s going on today, that’s working today, I did do it first. I don’t go around just talking like that. Nobody give a fuck. The stuff I was doing 10 years ago, you can see it in somebody like Megan today. She’s 25, so that means she was listening to me when she was 15. You can see it.

You are embedded in Texas culture.

You’re going to hear me like nine times a night in Middle America and the South; I’ve been on. That’s why this ain’t really too much different, it’s just everybody else is finding out. I’ve been doing shows every weekend since 2010. They think I’m a new artist.

Did you see the TikTok of the girl where she goes through your songs since 2010?

Yep. That shit was dope. I wish I could find her Instagram. Her TikTok meant the most to me. That was dope. She had all the hits on there. Like, that was a real supporter.

I love that. The original girls who made the dance, was that random?

That was hella random. That was hella a random. Those two girls, two little 16-year-olds from Dallas, and they just showed me the power that TikTok has. I think it’s very popular because you can’t manipulate it.

Yeah, exactly.

It’s very organic. They was just some fans who liked the song. I remember they tagged me in that video on Instagram and I didn’t think nothing of it. I just liked their video to just be nice.

When my daughter started showing me the videos increasing on TikTok, and I saw it was their video that kicked it off, I was like, wait, they just put that on Instagram. On Instagram it ain’t got no clout but on TikTok, they turned up like a motherfucker. Those two girls started everything. Now they got like 60,000 followers, just off that dance. You can’t tell a TikToker to TikTok.

You cannot.

They have to see it from their friends. They’re not going to the person with a million followers to copy them. They’re doing stuff in their community unless it’s Charli D’Amelio or Addison Rae. These kids just making dances around they friends and it just picked up from there. The videos is just tripling and tripling and tripling every hour.

At least two million.

It’s at two million right now. It probably would have fucking been at three million if the song ain’t got taken down before we could have. It just got back up there so now we back up and running.

I’m happy to hear that.

I’m happy as fuck to hear that too. Like, if Cardi B wouldn’t have done a video to my song, what would’ve been done? She held it down while it was down.

Shout out to Cardi B, she’s a real one.

Shout out to Cardi.

That’s why I had to mention it because that’s some real shit. You don’t see people doing that kind of stuff in the music industry.

I know a lot of females that have danced with Cardi back in the day and they all tell me she a real ass bitch. They all say “Man, she real as hell. She’s one of the realest ones.” Her hopping in my comments, it didn’t catch me off guard.

Tell me about your artist Jade, too! I know she has a song with Jucee Froot that’s fire.

Jade from Beaumont. I really need y’all on her. Her project is probably going to be coming out in the next two months. We just shot a lot of videos and she has a real hard song with Erica Banks that’s going to drop.

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