Welcome to Billboard Pro’s Trending Up column, where we take a closer look at the songs, artists, curiosities and trends that have caught the music industry’s attention. Some have come out of nowhere, others have taken months to catch on, and all of them could become ubiquitous in the blink of a TikTok clip.
This week: A TikTok trend may have tabbed a second hit from Beyoncé’s Renaissance album, Sheryl Lee Ralph’s memorable Emmy solo results in a big streaming bump for jazz singer Dianne Reeves, and Eliza Rose and Interplanetary Criminal’s hit collab goes viral on both sides of the Atlantic.
Beyoncé Dances In September With ‘Cuff It’ Challenge
Beyoncé’s Renaissance album has already produced one smash — lead single “Break My Soul,” which became her first solo Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper in over a decade this summer, and ranks at No. 21 on the current tally. Further down this week’s Hot 100, re-entering the chart at No. 85, is “Cuff It,” a Renaissance song that has yet to be promoted as a follow-up single but could keep rising regardless – thanks to the “Cuff It” Challenge, which has exploded on TikTok.
Since the beginning of September, dozens of 15-second TikTok clips have featured groups of female friends brandishing empty cups to the line “We getting f—ked up tonight,” then locking in to swaying choreography to the following bridge, “Bet you you’ll see far / Bet you you’ll see stars / Bet you you’ll elevate / Bet you you’ll meet God.” As a result, “Cuff It” is up 20 percent in weekly U.S. on-demand streams, to 5.7 million in the week ending Sept. 15, according to Luminate. “Cuff It” has a long way to go until it climbs back to its No. 13 Hot 100 peak, achieved during the chart week (dated Aug. 13) following Renaissance’s release. But as “Break My Soul” starts to recede a bit — it’s down six spots on the chart this week — the Beyhive may have naturally found its successor. – JASON LIPSHUTZ
Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Emmy Speech Helps Preserve ‘Endangered Species’
One of the most emotional and memorable moments at the 2022 Emmys last Monday (Sept. 12) came courtesy of veteran actress of stage and screen Sheryl Lee Ralph. While taking the stage to accept the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series award, for her role as no-nonsense kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard on ABC sitcom Abbott Elementary, Ralph launched into an a cappella rendition of “Endangered Species,” a jazz anthem by singer/songwriter Dianne Reeves found on Reeves’ 1994 EMI release Art & Survival. “I am an endangered species/ But I sing no victim’s song,” Ralph wailed. “I am a woman, I am an artist/ And I know where my voice belongs.”
Thousands of those watching who may or may not have known what song those lyrics belonged to were sent scurrying to streaming services to check out the source material of Ralph’s unforgettable onstage moment. “Endangered Species” jumped from just over 1,000 official on-demand U.S. streams in the tracking week ending Sept. 8 to over 22,000 the week of Reeves’ speech, a 1,877% rise, according to Luminate. It’s evidence of a beautiful moment of spotlight-sharing – which Reeves has already saluted Ralph for, raving to her in a recent L.A. Times interview: “In the midst of this powerful moment for you, you’re still empowering everybody. You changed my life in that moment.” – ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Eliza Rose’s ‘Baddest’ Gets Bigger in the U.S.
Earlier this month, Eliza Rose became the first British female DJ in 20 years to top the Official U.K. Singles Chart with “B.O.T.A. (Baddest of Them All)” — a ‘90s house-indebted dance anthem created with producer Interplanetary Criminal and released in June on Rosebud Recordings, before being picked up by Warner Music UK later in the summer. “B.O.T.A.” is still going strong across the pond, dropping one spot to No. 3 on the current U.K. chart – but as the song continues to soundtrack TikTok clips, it’s improved its chances to make some noise in the U.S. as well.
For weeks on end, “B.O.T.A.” has been used in TikTok videos that range from random cool-guy dancing to showing off cool outfits to grandmas riding scooters — and the song has scaled the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart in the process, moving up to No. 11 this week. Its weekly U.S. on-demand streams have concurrently skyrocketed, from 163,000 streams during the week ending Aug. 18 to 1.9 million during the most recent week, according to Luminate. With a propulsive beat and a hypnotic refrain — “She’s the baddest of them all,” Rose utters — “B.O.T.A.” could be the all-too-rare dance single to cross over to the American mainstream. – J.L.