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 sanctioned-after-the-fact remix of a popular Lil Uzi Vert leak appears on the verge of becoming their next major hit, while Rainbow finds the pot of gold at the end of a Guardians of the Galaxy trailer bump and Mae Stephens looks to turn TikTok virality into a streaming breakout.
“Watch This”: Lil Uzi Vert Leak Charts With Remix Before Ever Officially Being Released
For much of the past year, fans of Lil Uzi Vert have been frantically trying to get their hands on an official version of “Watch This” – an unreleased track, supposedly from the late 2010s, that leaked in full in April 2022. In the meantime, the track’s unofficial edit has been picked up by a variety of DJs and remixers looking to capitalize on the excitement over the track, including producer Arizonatears, whose “Pluggnb Remix” of “Watch” is on the verge of becoming the rapper’s next major hit.
Despite crediting the popular Sped Up Nightcore account in its Spotify artist listing, the remix is not actually a faster version of the leaked “Watch” – it’s actually slowed and pitched down a bit, with layers of wavy synths giving it a more psychedelic feel. The new edit, which has been out since late last year, has (according to Arizonatears on the song’s YouTube) now been officially sanctioned by Uzi’s Atlantic Records label, and is taking off on streaming – with nearly 4.4 million official on-demand U.S. streams for the week ending Feb. 16, up 265.1% from the week before, according to Luminate.
The song even debuts on a number of Billboard charts this week, including a No. 19 bow on the Hot Rap Songs dated Feb. 25, and seems likely to impact the Billboard Hot 100 before long as its streams keep rising. It’s an extremely anomalous path for a song whose original version still doesn’t exist in any official capacity, but one that feels incredibly appropriate for 2023. — ANDREW UNTERBERGER
Rainbow Streams Up “Since” New Guardians Trailer
Deep Purple guitar great Ritchie Blackmore’s ‘70s and ‘80s side project Rainbow might not be the first artist most younger folks think of when they hear the title “Since You Been Gone.” But it’s not Kelly Clarkson’s ‘00s pop-rock classic that just got the spotlight treatment in a trailer for one of the year’s most anticipated movie sequels: Guardians of the Galaxy 3, the latest installment of the blockbuster MCU film series famous for its resurrection of classic rock staples.
“Since You Been Gone” is a little deeper of a dig by Guardians standards – the song originally peaked at No. 57 on the Hot 100 in late 1979, and has never quite gotten the classic rock radio play of Deep Purple’s most celebrated hits. But fans are certainly discovering it now: The song rises from under 116,000 official on-demand U.S. streams the week ending Feb. 9 to over 226,000 the following week, with the trailer dropping mid-week on Feb. 12 – a gain of nearly 96%, according to Luminate. We’ll see what other FM rock mixtape gems get unearthed by the Guardians franchise this time around when Vol. 3 hits theaters on May 5. – AU
Mae Stephens’ Single “Broke” on TikTok in December. Can It Cross Over Now?
“If We Ever Broke Up,” the cheeky synth-pop kiss-off from Mae Stephens, was a hit on TikTok more than a month before it was officially released. The English singer-songwriter teased the track’s shrugging, lightly funky hook (“If we ever broke up, I’d never be sad/ Thinking about everything that we had/ If we ever broke up,” Stephens sings) in a couple of late December clips — the biggest of which, posted on Dec. 29, blew up, with 11.5 million views to date.
Stephens spent January watching other TikTok users lip sync and create choreography to the track, while promising the full thing was arriving soon — and dealing with commenters claiming that the release was taking too long. “I promise you guys I’m trying!” she wrote on Jan. 13. “All I need is a little patience and understanding!”
Finally, “If We Ever Broke Up” was unveiled in full on Mercury/Republic on Feb. 10 – and early returns for the full track have been promising, with 2.83 million U.S. on-demand streams for the week ending Feb. 16, according to Luminate, and a No. 45 debut on the U.K. Official Charts. Time will tell if “Broke” continues to rise on streaming charts and gets some pop radio play, but Stephens can take comfort in the fact that another song that TikTok users claimed was teased for too long before finally being released — Sam Smith and Kim Petras’ “Unholy” — ended up a Grammy-winning, Hot 100-topping smash. – JASON LIPSHUTZ
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