Will viral remixes someday supersede their originals?
Living in the digital age that we currently live in, our exposure to remixes of popular songs by aspiring musicians is somewhat inevitable, sometimes in the form of musically-themed challenges, but as of recent time, more so in the form of memes.
Most recently, two videos have attracted major attention on the internet: Lorraine (also known as Loz) with her remix of Kodak Black’s ‘Zeze’ featuring Travis Scott and Offset, and OshThisSide’s remix of Burna Boy’s ‘Yé’. After both videos were uploaded online, the phrases ‘I shaku on the beat as well’ and ‘My yé is different to your yé’ have been popularised to say the least, and have provided content for multiple Instagram meme accounts.
As well as publicising Loz and Osh as individuals, these viral remixes have undeniably contributed to the popularity of the original songs too. Kodak’s ‘Zeze’ gained more attention after the hashtag ‘Zeze Challenge’ disseminated on social media platforms, with various aspiring musicians remixing the song so as to popularise their own musical talents, but the virality of Osh’s ‘Yé’ remix contributed more significantly to the popularity of Burna Boy’s original song. This is because Kanye’s 2018 album, entitled Ye, was often confused with Burna’s single, and thus Osh has certainly helped distinguish between the songs which has resulted in the increased streaming of Burna Boy’s hit song.
The attention both Loz and Osh have received has allowed them to monetise, with both being booked for shows across the country, as well as making money off the printing of their iconic one-liners onto merchandise. They have also both recently performed their remixes live from the London Eye on the 1Xtra Breakfast Show, portraying the extent of the audiences reached with these viral remixes.
Their quick rise to fame as a result of virality has of course evoked questions regarding the deservedness of their popularity by mass groups of people, arguing that figures like Loz and Osh lack talent and are merely being recognised for their contribution to meme-culture, and for the catchiness of the original songs per se. The common response has been that Loz’s remix lacks any real musical talent and part of the reason for the virality of her video is the fact that she was the former ex-girlfriend of rapper J Hus. The contrast, the response has been that Osh can, in fact, sing. It is thus evident that the reception for both remixes have differed.
Given the catchiness of the remixes, the following question arises: will listeners ever be able to dissociate the remixes from their memories when trying to listen to the originals? As the comments on social media show, for most of the public the remixes were the first time they had heard these songs and so these so-called remixes were, to some ears, originals. It is thus clear that the line between both phenomena is not so easy to draw, and this serves to reduce the importance of the original songs themselves. So long as meme culture exists and continues to draw as much attention as it does now, the possibility that such viral remixes may one day replace their originals remains a likely one