How underrated artists are gaining popularity from TikTok


Alex Kendall

Illustration by

Samantha Nunez, Contributing Writer

Remember the days when you knew every song that was on the radio? Singing gives you a feeling of serotonin and even thinking about it gives you a sense of nostalgia.

Well, just as you get older, so does your taste in music.

Today, you might not know or enjoy the songs played on the radio. Music played on the radio is considered “mainstream,” meaning artists distribute their music through label companies and gain publicity by having airtime. These are usually the hottest or most streamed songs during that time.

With the rise of social media, music besides traditional pop and rock has emerged from underrated artists. Especially with the help of TikTok, which makes any song/sound go viral.

TikTok is a social media platform where you can post videos up to 10 minute-long videos. Initially, the app was designed to post dancing videos, but it has become for all and another platform where influencers can share their content.

Recently, it’s had a significant impact on the music industry, with songs going viral, boosting the artist’s presence. One person singing, dancing or using a song creates a domino effect of its popularity.

One artist that devotes their new fame to TikTok is Doja Cat.

Once an indie artist, she released her first EP “Purrr!” in 2014 and her first album “Amala” in 2018. Months after, songs she released before “Amala,” “Candy,” “MOOO!” and “Tia Tamera” had gone viral. As a result, her fanbase grew. She’s had her music played on the radio, worked with mainstream artists and wrote a song for the Oscar-nominated film “Elvis.” Once an underrated artist, she is now a performer with recognition.

Lizzo, Jack Harlow, DaBaby and 24kGoldn are a few artists whose older music made them rise in fame.

Emerging musicians have recently been in the spotlight, like Ice Spice. A Bronx drill rapper, Ice Spice rose to prominence with her summer 2022 hit, “Munch (Feelin U).” With over 580,000 videos made with the song, her success increased with streaming and putting her name out there to be labeled “rap’s new princess.” She released her first EP, “Like..?,” on Jan. 20.

Newer artists, including GloRilla, Coi Leray and Lil Nas X, have created an image for themselves, built a larger fanbase and received opportunities.

TikTok also has a reputation for increasing artists’ presence throughout the country.

Pop Smoke, a Bronx drill rapper, was an upcoming artist prominent in the New York City area. He has collaborated with artists like Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj and 50 Cent. After his death in 2020, his music spread worldwide, with a number of songs that have gone viral on the app and his streaming going up. His legacy still lives on.

An app like TikTok can broaden your mind to different songs and genres that aren’t just pop and rock and make you interested in hearing more. Though an artist’s life might change overnight, it is shocking to see how social media is a crucial aspect of how the industry releases music.