Despite A Desperate Campaign, Justin Bieber Was Beaten To #1 By A Viral TikTok Rapper

Bieber has been beaten by a viral dance challenge.

Roddy Ricch Justin Bieber billboard number one photo

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You might not know Roddy Ricch by name, but if you’ve spent any time on TikTok in the last two months, you would have heard him.

The 21-year-old Compton rapper’s track ‘The Box’ — taken from his album Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial — is not even an official single yet, but thanks to a viral dance challenge on the app it’s now been propelled to the #1 position on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Rap charts. He’s the first artist to hold both spots simultaneously since Drake with ‘In My Feelings’ back in 2018.

There’s not much to the challenge — TikTokers bounce around to ‘The Box’s spiky beats — and it doesn’t seem to have been engineered for virality at all: there’s no catchy lyrics to repeat ad nauseum, there’s no synchronised dance to copy.

Unlike other viral hits like Drake’s ‘In My Feelings’ or K Camp’s ‘Lottery’ — otherwise known as the Renegade challenge — there’s no distinctive meme formula to ‘The Box’. It’s just… everywhere.

But Ricch now has another string to add to his bow: he just blocked Justin Bieber’s comeback single ‘Yummy’ from nabbing the Billboard #1. This is no mean feat, considering the desperate campaign Bieber had implemented to help it clinch the position.

Among other things, he attempted to start a TikTok dance challenge (he joined the app for this purpose), he posted numerous pictures of random babies on his Instagram, he encouraged his fans to get a VPN to stream the track in the US, and he tried to make a meme out of an image of him falling off a unicycle.

Ricch seemed to acknowledge Bieber’s desperation, jokingly tweeting to his fans to stream the track.

In the end, it didn’t matter: ‘Yummy’ landed at #2, which is still too high for how terrible a song it is. And Ricch has come away with one of 2020’s first viral hits, following in the footsteps of ‘Old Town Road’ or ‘Truth Hurts’.

It’s another indication that TikTok — and internet meme culture in general — is beginning to impact on the music industry more strongly than ever. The industry is racing to catch up, with promo campaigns (like Bieber’s), and artists themselves, actively targeting the app in the hope of going viral to generate streams.

For now, Ricch looks set on the path of success, at least until the TikToks run out. Get around ‘The Box’ below.