For a song about getting rejected, Drop City Yacht Club's "Crickets" is getting a lot of love. Thanks to its multiformat appeal and a breezy Jeremih hook, the summery song jumps 26-19 in its third week on Billboard's Rhythmic Top 40 chart and moves 24-21 on Rap Airplay.
"Crickets" first picked up steam last summer, when the pop-rap trio, then known as the Freshmen, released an earlier version without Jeremih for free online. "We haven't had one bad response to this record," the group's A Wolf says, noting the song's genre-jumping sound. "It's somewhere between Beastie Boys and Beach Boys."
In October, the group signed to A&M/Octone through a joint venture with Exit 8 Records, founded by radio promoter Danny Coniglio. A&M/Octone executive VP/head of promotion Ben Berkman says the label, looking to give the song extra traction at the rhythmic format, recruited Jeremih to redo the hook. "We wanted someone with a rhythmic base so it could fit there," he says. "He's a singer with R&B credibility but he's had pop success." (Jeremih's debut single, "Birthday Sex," topped Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for two weeks in 2009, and has sold 1.8 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.)
When the label began servicing the single at the end of January, KKFR Phoenix was one of the first stations to get onboard, playing the song 241 times since Feb. 1, according to Nielsen BDS. "You can play it on a hip-hop station, you can play it on rhythmic, [and] it has the ability to cross over to pop because it's so melodic," PD Mikey Fuentes says.
A colorful lyric video debuted Feb. 1, and the song hit iTunes three weeks later, selling just 13,000 to date. But the push behind "Crickets" is still unrolling. An official video debuted days after the band's four-show run at South Ny Southwest, the song is iTunes' free single of the week, it's featured on Clear Channel's "Rhythmic Premium Choice" syndicated programming, and the band is in the middle of promotional visits at radio-in between trying to find time to record its debut.
"We want to make sure it's fresh," A Wolf says of the album, expected in the fall. "We try to do what we think people are going to be doing a year or two from now."