When rapper VANO 3000 released a snippet of his flip of BADBADNOTGOOD’s “Time Moves Slow,” he could not have predicted the staggering response it received. The sound instantly went viral on the media platform TikTok, becoming the soundtrack for the trend inspired by Cartoon Network’s late-night programming block: “Adult Swim.” And just as crucial to the trend’s popularity as the creative visuals TikTok users generated was the endlessly catchy tune that backed them.
Almost immediately, fans of the sound demanded a full-length version, and on June 21st, their wish was granted; “Running Away,” featuring the pitched-up vocals of Samuel T. Herring dropped on all streaming platforms, building on VANO 3000’s TikTok success and quickly thrusting him into the public’s conscience.
VANO 3000’s induction to mainstream music nearly overnight exemplifies a collaborative success; both the musical elements and the visual elements of the Adult Swim trend were crucial to his gaining traction. Tiktok has become an invaluable platform for younger, less established artists, offering the potential to go viral without necessarily having any musical foundation or funding.
Of course, it would be naive to posit that every new singer-songwriter or rapper will have an origin story that mirrors this one. But what we can be sure of is the tools they have at their disposal are only growing in impact. A whole new league of creators is on the horizon, and with artists like VANO 3000 forefront, we can anticipate innovations that reinvigorate the music industry after what feels like a lost year.