The internet is *usually* a wonderful place for people to connect with each other, share stories and somewhere you can pretty much find out anything you want. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube can help you reach millions of people around the globe at the click of a button- whether this is positive is certainly up for debate. Funny videos, talented/unique individuals and heartwarming stories are often the most popular types of content to go ‘viral’. Here, we look at our top 5 pick of artists who were propelled to fame by becoming a ‘viral sensation’.
Roll Safe, portrayed by Kayode Ewumi, exploded onto our screens through his ‘Hood Documentary’ in 2015. This character showed himself as a clueless (and we really mean clueless) yet lovable aspiring grime artist known as R.S. Everything about this fabricated persona stood out from the rest; from his bare chest, covered only by a Fonzie style leather jacket, to his comical lisp. R.S first came to light through short Vine videos which captivated Kayode’s family and friends who pushed him to take this character further. Kayode gained inspiration from BBC hits ‘The Office’ and ‘People Just Do Nothing’ and created his ‘Hood Documentary’ for the first time on YouTube- which went viral very quickly. After multiple episodes and millions of views, R.S was invited onto BBC 1xtra’s ‘Fire in The Booth’ and it’s safe to say Kayode brought the same cringey yet mesmerising energy onto Charlie Sloth’s show.
Touted as one of the best Fire In The Booths ever, it looked like the sky was the limit for R.S. BBC 3 eventually picked up the show and created short episodes for their YouTube channel. Although these episodes did not have the same impact and rave reviews as the original Hood Documentary, the show was still a hit and had the audience begging for more- the main downfall of these episodes was that they were not long enough!
Big Shaq will forever be remembered (and rightly so) for his viral Fire In The Booth appearance in 2017- most fans will recognise his ‘Mans Not Hot’ freestyle as it was a regular on most DJ’s playlist throughout the summer of 2017/18. Michael Dappah, the creator of Big Shaq, showed his talent through his online comedy series ‘Somewhere In London’ with his first episode amassing over 1 million views.
Haters will say that Big Shaq is just a mimic or copy of R.S’ character, but these two characters couldn’t be more different. Big Shaq is more in your face, laugh out loud comedy, whereas R.S is more awkward yet hilarious to watch (similar to a Ricky Gervais or Steve Coogan character). Unlike R.S, Michael made part of his Fire In The Booth rap into a real song- ‘Mans Not Hot’ generated over 3 million streams worldwide in its first few months of release. Even some famous UK faces got in on the act, from Liam Gallagher to erm *checks notes* Jeremy Corbyn?
Interested in rap? Don’t forget to check out our Rapping Advice From Rappers article- learn from the best!
‘Cash me outside how bow dat?’ this may be random gibberish to some, but to others it’s a very popular, viral meme which found itself in the centre of a Dr. Phil episode back in 2016. For our English readers, this show is basically the US’ take on Jeremy Kyle- lie detector tests and all. Florida born Danielle Bregoli appeared on the show, with her mother, in a segment labelled “I Want To Give Up My Car-Stealing, Knife-Wielding, Twerking 13-Year-Old Daughter Who Tried To Frame Me For A Crime.” yep.
Her catchphrase came about when arguing with an audience member, ‘Catch me outside, how about that?’ a simple offer which was not surprisingly turned down. After the show aired, this slogan shot her to fame, with her now-manager Adam Kruger (no relation to Freddy) getting in contact with her. With Kruger’s help, Ms Bregoli coined the stage name ‘Bhad Bhabie’ and launched a strangely successful rap career.
Her funny characteristics and clever use of social media (mainly Instagram) created the perfect storm to push herself onto the public. Audiences were captivated by her music and her personality, who would’ve thought that a Dr. Phil guest could have such a knack for rapping and performing? Record labels couldn’t get enough of her either, with Atlantic Records granting Danielle multi-million dollar development deals. She even has her own mini series on Snapchat ‘Bringing Up Bhabie’; it seems like the world is her Oyster at the moment. Whatever you think of her, you can’t knock her desire and achievements gained from a short appearance on TV.
This South Korean sensation burst onto the scene in 2012 with his (yep, you guessed it) ‘Gangnam Style’ track. As annoying as it is catchy, this song was the talking point of the year. You couldn’t go an hour without hearing it being played, watching a viral dance to it or even just having the tune go around and around in your head. South Korean natives would already be familiar with Psy, but across the world, he was a new character which was completely different to what the Western World was used to. Some say he even inspired the huge surge in popularity of the K-Pop scene- which is currently sweeping the UK and US by storm.
The secret to this jingle’s success is apparently down to ‘Gangnam Style’s catchy tune, danceable production and bright, attention-grabbing video’ all the key components for a viral hit. With over 2.5 BILLION views on YouTube, Gangnam Style surely has to go down as one of the most successful viral song of the century (so far).
A lot of you have probably never heard this name before, and why should you? Ylvis is made up of two brothers, both comedians, Vegard and Bård Ylvisåker who host the Norwegian chat show ‘Tonight with Ylvis’. Ring any bells? Probably not. But if I asked you ‘what does the fox say?’ I’m sure we’d be on the same page. Flashback to 2013 and the brothers had a plan to create a music video that would hopefully flop- but things didn’t go quite to plan. The pair thought there would be some comedic element to creating a very unsuccessful song, for the purposes of their chat show. Instead, they created a viral sensation that shook to the world to its core (not literally).
‘What does the fox say?’ was an unintentional viral hit, but with over 800 million views, surely the Norwegian pair will be on the lookout for their next viral anthem? No, actually. They have just gone back to the basics: “We’re not chasing the next hit. We’re just making stuff that we think is funny. Some will get like 100,000 views and some obviously got 100 million, but it’s the same recipe,” Bård said. Fair enough.