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#TRENDSIMO: The Curious Case of Jason Derulo

We are likely to hear the singer every few months when a track goes viral

Amit Vaidya Jul 22, 2022

Jason Derulo is a lot of things – he’s a singer, a songwriter, a dancer, and a social-media superstar.  We could make the case that he’s a trendsetter. Or is he just a brilliant opportunist? Maybe both?

Derulo just recently jumped on the viral TikTok smash “Jiggle Jiggle” bandwagon. But rather than just partake and do the dance steps like other celebrities have (from Megan Thee Stallion to Shakira just to name a couple), he wrote two verses and now features on an official remix of the Louis Theroux, Duke & Jones and Amelia Dimz smash that has kept social media entertained all summer.

It would make sense that the man behind the smash hit “Wiggle” would put his weight behind “My money don’t jiggle jiggle, it folds / I like to see you wiggle wiggle, for sure” as it is right up his alley. But Derulo is no stranger to hopping onto viral trends.

The singer featured last year on the remix of Tesher’s “Jalebi Baby.” The song, which had started its journey as a mashup between Justin Bieber’s “Yummy” and “Jalebi Bai” from the Double Dhamaal film soundtrack, went viral leading Tesher to record his own single “Jalebi Baby” that became a rage and a huge TikTok hit. Derulo hopped onto the single then and we had a global hit.

Of course, Derulo’s original viral acquisition dates even before that to “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat)” with Jawsh 685. The instrumental track had become a massive hit already since the New Zealand producer had released it on YouTube in 2019. Upon seeing its success, 685 signed with Columbia Records and officially released the song and it became an even bigger rage.

While the record company had been approached by numerous artists to obtain clearance for the track to be sampled, Derulo jumped the gun and released his version without actually getting consent or crediting the artist. Derulo has wished to keep the song for himself and in many ways bullied his way to making the song his own.

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Not to let the momentum be tarnished by infighting, the two artists agreed to release the single with Jawsh 685 credited as the main artist alongside Derulo as well as the co-writer and sole producer of the track. The single became a radio hit thanks in part to continued dance challenges on TikTok and hit the Top 10 in numerous countries.

The track became such a rage that a remix of this mix released with BTS featuring a new verse in Korean. The remix helped catapult the song from the upper part of the charts to #1 status on the Billboard Hot 100. In a pot/kettle black situation, Derulo dismissed BTS’s involvement with the track for its success, almost glossing over the fact that he originally hopped onto the unauthorized track.

Derulo was a steady a hitmaker for the first 10 years of his career. He had several Top 10 hits including the #1 “Whatcha Say,” “In My Head,” “Talk Dirty,” “Want To Want Me” and “Swalla.” While many of his singles didn’t chart as high as they could have, he made up for this with his dance moves and slick music videos, many of which have garnered hundreds of millions of views on YouTube.

But somehow, somewhere, Derulo stopped recording his own music or wanting to release albums, and has now become an influencer who only gets a hit when he jumps on a viral track.

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It’s unfortunate because technically the singer isn’t really going off script.

His first single “Whatcha Say” heavily sampled Imogean Heap’s “Hide And Seek,” in many ways, giving a whole new audience an introduction to the indie artist.

He brought Harry Belafonte and Robin S together using their “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and “Show Me Love” respectively for his “Don’t Wanna Go Home” single. As we know, Beyonce recently sampled “Show Me Love” for her latest single “Break My Soul”.

Probably the best example of finding the right sample to make it a memorable hit, Derulo sampled Hermetico’s “Balkan Beat Box” for his smash “Talk Dirty” featuring 2 Chainz. The usage of the sample in the single feels almost identical to what the artist has been doing of late with the viral songs.

Which then begs the question again – is Derulo a pioneer or an opportunist? In many ways, the artist is just doing what he’s always done but before, we didn’t often know the source material (or remember it). Now, he’s taking what we know and putting his own spin on it. Is it creativity at its best or commercialism at its worst?

It’s an interesting question because not everyone can so easily find their groove over a sample and not every sample ends up a winner. Derulo, whether you love him, hate him or have no opinion has done one thing that bucks the trend of most artists as they age – he’s continued to remain a trendsetter. The question of whether we even want that trend or not is a different matter altogether. One thing is for sure, we’re likely to at least hear the singer every few months when another track goes viral!