INTERVIEW: K Camp & Reazy Renegade set a new precedent in the TikTok era after the success of "Lottery (Renegade)."
It's damn near become impossible to escape K Camp’s “Lottery,” or perhaps better known as “Renegade.” Reazy Renegade is already a known figure within hip-hop circles. However, it was his muddy, distorted 808s and minimalist production that helped launch his beat tag into the general public's consciousness. “I know when I made that 808, it was going to be impactful,” Reazy Renegade said during an exclusive phone interview with HNHH. “If you listen to ‘Lottery,’ it’s a jungle. It’s just perfect. It’s a perfect jungle.”
“It was surreal but it was kind of like a revelation,” Reazy said about the viral dance. “It was kind of like a lightbulb where it’s like producers, there’s a way to shine. Like, we’ve been doing this conventional wave for years trying to get placements, trying to get on, trying to the biggest, this and that, not understanding that there’s so many other ways to do it. Did I know this was going to happen? No. But at the end of the day it did and it taught me a lot… I’m really speechless about it.”
The song's success didn’t happen overnight, despite what many believed. The song was actually included on the April 2019 album Wayy 2 Kritical and became a slow-burning sensation in the months that followed. Thanks to 14-year-old Jalaiah Harmon, the creator of the “Renegade” dance, “Lottery” marked the first sound on the social media platform to hit 20M TikTok (previously Musical.ly) videos and counting. But the success of the song didn’t come without its fair share of controversy. For starters, Renegade Reazy’s beat tag became one of the most noticeable aspects of the song, and many began to recognize the song as “Renegade,” not “Lottery.”
“That’s just something the kids made up,” K Camp said about the dance. “It made sense [to add “Renegade” to the song’s official title]. It translated to Apple Music ‘cause it wasn’t translating at first with TikTok and streaming platform so put “Renegade” as the title just made it -- just added to the streams.”
But even at that point, K Camp still wasn’t entirely aware of who actually created the dance. It had gone viral. Not just on TikTok but across Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook as well. Harmon debuted the dance on DubSmash in September but it was quickly co-opted once TikToker Charli D’Amelio posted it on the platform and received all the glory.
“I think I could have gotten money for it, promos for it, I could have gotten famous off it, get noticed,” Jalaiah told NYT. “I don’t think any of that stuff has happened for me because no one knows I made the dance.”
“Dubsmash catches things at the roots when they’re culturally relevant. TikTok is the suburban kids that take things on when it’s already the style and bring it to their community,” Polow Da Don said in the same article.
Perhaps this story could’ve ended differently but with a little divine intervention and a mutual friend, K Camp was able to make sure that Jalaiah got her credit. Camp’s friend knew Jalaiah’s mom and got the two in contact. Before anyone knew it, Jalaiah and her friend Kaliyah Davis were in the studio with the “Lottery” rapper on Valentine’s Day where they did a new video for the dance. For K Camp, watching Harmon not get her credit personally impacted him.
“My whole career, after all these hits I done put up. After these accolades I done did. Folks act like I still don’t do that shit. So, I felt her shit on a personal level,” he explained to HNHH over the phone. “She created a dance that the world is dancing to. I seen the Kardashians doin’ it, A-Rod doin’ it, I seen everybody damn baby and everybody Grandma doin’ it. And she probably sittin’ at home, like, ‘Damn, that’s my shit and nobody tellin’ me, like, congratulations.’ So, I reached out to her and it went bigger than fucking life.”
On the night of the All-Star Game, it felt like there was a moment of justice for Harmon. In the middle of the court, Harmon was center stage where she had the opportunity to do the dance in front of a packed audience. You can imagine how that would feel for anyone but for a 14-year-old girl from Atlanta who was initially slighted, it was, as Camp put it, a “vibe.” “She was the real star of the situation,” he said.
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The thing about having a song go viral on TikTok, though, is that the platform’s previously faced backlash over claims that the artists don't necessarily get paid out for all the song’s success. The app’s practices have previously drawn criticisms since TikTok users can soundtrack their videos with audio in their libraries or by uploading their own sound which automatically enters TikTok’s library. Described as disruptive to the music industry, TikTok’s faced criticism. Even with over 2B views and 400 likes all together, K Camp, nor Reazy Renegade have seen a penny off of their collaboration it at the time we spoke to them in February.
“It’s the newest platform everybody goin’ to for the hits. For their viral moment so it’s just like when Twitter first came out. When Snapchat first came around. It’s the newest platform and it’s a new option to breaking records nowadays,” explained K Camp about the rise of TikTok. “The song went viral and everybody in the world know it and they go to Apple Music and Spotify to stream it. Still makin’ money.” The system in place is set to change soon, to benefit artists. According to Tech Crunch, TikTok signed a licensing deal with Merlin, a digital rights agency for indie labels, that allows the app to license music from independent labels. Additionally, ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, recently launched its own streaming service called Resso that inked licensing deals with Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group and more. But for now, K Camp and Reazy look at TikTok as a marketing tool, much like any other social media platform has become.
“I have to 100 percent agree with that,” Reazy said. “Free marketing. It’s the easiest way in the world. Let’s put this in perspective -- if you take that and put that into how much marketing, that’s a million-dollar job right there. What happened naturally is a million-dollar job. So, I mean, he’s correct. I’m happy to agree with that. It’s free marketing, we can’t complain. This is exactly what you want to happen with a song. You want everybody to hear it. And it doesn’t matter because the streams are reflecting. It’s not too off from what’s going on on TikTok and what’s going on with the streams of the song. I see it as free marketing and a stepping stone for the record.”
“Lottery” has set a new precedent as we enter a new decade. TikTok is making its mark as the definitive social media app for the 2020s with artists and labels utilizing this platform to create viral singles. But even as exciting as the moment is for both Reazy and K Camp, they aren’t getting comfortable. Reazy’s been in the studio with major artists like Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and Kanye (he revealed there’s an unreleased Lil Wayne song that he co-produced with Lil Wayne for Tha Carter V) but he’s only beginning to see his vision turn into reality. Fresh off of inking a deal with Charlie Walk and Viola Davis for Hits Only Music Entertainment, the Reazy Renegade takeover of 2020 is just beginning as he prepares to push music “like a factory.” He’s readying a new single tentatively titled, “C.O.D” that’s set to arrive with Tory Lanez and K Camp -- his first official follow-up as a solo artist to the viral TikTok single.
“I don’t really see it like, ‘Oh, we trying to beat ‘Lottery’.’ We just trying to put out the best music possible at all times. And I have a great relationship with Tory and K Camp. Why not? Why not put it all together?” He said. As he asserts that Hits Only Music will be releasing “the best music in the industry,” Reazy plans on working with everyone in the game. “This year, I’m going to have fun,” he said. “You never know who might pull a Reazy Renegade beat out and it just be crazy. Like, that’s what I’m on right now,” he added.
Among the collaborators on Reazy Renegade’s list are Lil Durk, 3OhBlack (another TikTok success story), and of course, K Camp. But even with some major collaborations in the bag, Reazy’s focus is following the pattern of “Lottery’s” success and keeping things organic. “I’m just really focused on singles and dropping multiple singles and multiple records… I got like three crazy records with Lil Durk. I got some crazy stuff with this new artist, he’s coming out. He’s actually becoming really big, 3OhBlack. A lot more stuff with K Camp, actually. That’s really it. That’s all I wanna say right now. Everything else, I kind of wanna just, you know, let happen.”