Drake Overtakes, Weeknd Not Weakened, Rod Rides The Wave

As the world shudders, Drake has overtaken the music charts. Meanwhile, The Weeknd has not weakened, and a new artist, Rod Wave, rides the wave to fame.

The global health crisis that has put half of humanity – 4 billion people – inside, that has taken away 10 million US jobs in the last 2 weeks, and that already vanished trillions of dollars in wealth weeks ago, has forced artists to get creative.

Those who have had most viral success during this viral excess have spoken directly to the crisis, related most to people who cannot go outside, and used media to get people involved from their bedrooms.

Artists like D-Nice have gone from 200K to nearly 2M followers on Instagram in days by catering to indoor crowds. Originally from De La Soul, D-Nice streamed his DJ set from home on Instagram Live to create Club Quarantine/Coronachella, and attracted Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, RihannaWill Smith, and presidential candidates to the party. Even Young ThugGunna, and Turbo have gone “Quarantine Clean” to fit the theme.

Most successful on the music charts are those who have designed song and dance to ignite on home video apps like TikTok and blow up on streaming apps like Spotify.

This is the case for Drake, whose single “Toosie Slide,” came out yesterday, Friday, April 3. Named after Toosie, an Atlanta dancer and choreographer who Drake commissioned to create dance moves for the song, “Toosie Slide” already has nearly 4M streams and $10K today, and 5.5M total on Spotify. According to Music Maven’s proprietary technology, which provides the most current and accurate data on all artists and songs, “Toosie Slide” is now the world’s Most Streamed and Highest Earning Song.

The video for the song already has 9.2M views and is the second highest trending video on YouTube. The video begins with a display of dark empty streets haunted by the Coronavirus/COVID-19, then shows Drake in desolate self-isolation as he wanders through his equally haunted compound. Speaking directly to controversies about wearing masks in public by wearing his inside with camo and gloves, Drake teaches viewers how to do the “Toosie Slide” and invites them to a viral challenge on TikTok.

“Toosie Slide” alone has made Drake the fifth Most Streamed Artist, even without a new album, raising him over 60 positions in only two days. In the next days, as the song gets more plays, his position is likely to rise closer to his top Toronto compatriot, The Weeknd. Drake may be the only artist in the world that can rise to number one on the strength of only one single.

A Florida man, Rod Wave, has done even better than Drake. The release of Pray 4 Love, his second studio album yesterday, only months after his first last November, brought him to number two among all artists, second only to The Weeknd, who has maintained his dominance of the music charts as the Most Streamed Artist since the release of his After Hours the weekend before last.

Like The Weeknd, Rod Wave sings songs of sorrow on beats that any rapper would be happy to grace. Like Drake, Travis Scott, and Quavo on “Portland,” Rod lets no one ride his wave. Rod’s wave is a cold-blooded “Heart On Ice,” that floats in icy vulnerability. The lyrics have been emulated on TikTok so much that they have reached nearly 50M views:

Heart been broke so many times

I don’t know what to believe

Mama say it’s my fault, it’s my fault

I wear my heart on my sleeve

As Drake and Young Thug once mentioned, “Ice Melts,” but Rod Wave’s heart remains frozen.

The raw emotion of “Heart On Ice” speaks to overcoming hard breakups and heart breaks, as well as to the breathless captivity experienced by half the world that is supposed to stay inside. Since the song came out last year, it has had 72M views on YouTube, and 72M streams on Spotify.

“Heart On Ice” is not on Pray 4 Love, but this album has revived interest in that song, multiplied the heartbreaking TikTok versions, and brought Rod to 6M daily streams, just under The Weeknd with 7.8M, and above his contenders, Lil Uzi VertDua Lipa, and Drake.

This weekend’s music charts have not weakened The Weeknd, but they prove artists must speak directly to and relate to their fellow fans in confinement, even if from an iced-out cage like Drake’s.

By Vince, April 5, 2020