Before social media, the music industry would take an album, pick some singles, and promote what they thought the hits should be. Those vetted songs would then likely be what you’d hear on radio stations and at the club. In 2018, it doesn’t work like that at all: the song of the summer is collectively decided by the fans, meaning that, nowadays, any unassuming tune can take over the airwaves if the internet likes it enough.
The current and indisputable domination of Drake’s “In My Feelings” was not a planned thing. If it wasn’t for an Instagram video where Shiggy, a comedian, danced along to the opening lyrics, nobody would be running around constantly asking, “Keke, do you love me?” That footage created a music sensation that is so big, a government agency had to issue a warning telling people to stop getting out of moving cars to dance in traffic. The Keke Challenge is everywhere; everyone is doing it.
In response, Drake acknowledged that Shiggy got him a number one record late last month. For a while, that seemed to be that.
Drake thanks Shiggy for getting him a #1 record with “in my feelings” pic.twitter.com/aYWKExpaBd— DJ Akademiks (@IamAkademiks) July 17, 2018
Last night, Drake released an official music video for “In My Feelings” in which Shiggy got more than just a thank you: he’s getting credit in front of millions of fans. Throughout the video, you can see Shiggy busting out his signature moves while Drake follows his lead along with all the backup dancers. Later in the video, Shiggy even gets some lines where he pretends to be Drake’s assistant.
“I just had the craziest dream,” Drake says after he wakes up from a nap. “This kid from New York that spits when he talks all the time, did some dance to it, and then the world did the dance, and Will Smith was there. Nobody would stop.” The video ends with a quick compilation of some of the most memorable “In My Feelings” challenge videos, a small wink toward all the people who helped make the song into what it is now. The video is currently the number one trending video on YouTube, accruing 10 million views in less than 24 hours.
As citizens of the internet, we know that everyday people play a huge role in creating a wider culture: any joke, video, or image can explode and become the talk of the town. Often, though, when black creators create culture, everyone but them seems to benefit. The music video for “In My Feelings” puts the focus squarely on the person who popularized the trend, so nobody can forget who is behind it. More than that, it’s a rare instance of Drake catching up to the memes that he inspires, rather than simply putting something out there and letting people run wild with it, as was the case for hits like Hotline Bling and God’s Plan. The video for “In My Feelings” may have been produced and financed by Drake and his camp, but it is undeniably a collaborative project that could not exist without the internet. Drake knows this, and instead of trying to own the song, he steps aside and lets his fans shine.