If You’ve recently watched high-schoolers dancing in unison to the delight of their peers, filming on their cell phones? Seen video on your social-media feeds of teenagers in volleyball uniforms moving to something approximating a beat, possibly accompanied by the “cry-laughing” emoji? If so, you may have been exposed to “TZ Anthem.”
This dance craze has suddenly taken over the teenage internet, and you have Detroit rappers Zay Hilfiger and Zayion McCall’s to thank for it.
Zay, the 15-year-old self-proclaimed “internet celebrity, dancer, comedian, rapper, and YouTuber” with a “good Instagram following” is the artist behind “ TZ Anthem,” a catchy track sampled over the beat to Crime Mob’s “Knuck If You Buck.” But more importantly, he’s the man behind the #TZAnthemChallenge, in which participants undertake the entire sequence of dance moves performed by Hilfiger in the official video.
Hilfiger and McCall, collective known as Zay, have signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records, and their hit track is now available on digital retailers. Since reaching iTunes and streaming platforms on September 30, the song has reached No. 2 on the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap Chart & No. 13 on the iTunes Overall Top Songs Chart. Hilfiger’s song has taken off online over the past month, but the Detroit teen explains the song’s origins date back a few years.
He said “I made the song during summer 2014, but it wasn’t even a real song then,” Hilfiger told me. “I was just with my friends playing around, you know. This is when dances like the Nae Nae and the Whip were hot, so we just started saying ‘juju,’” (The Juju is one of several moves in the corresponding dance to “TZ Anthem.”) “As the summer  went over, I came up and was like, I want to make this a real song ,” Hilfiger said. “I didn’t really expect it to do what it did.”
He posted the track to SoundCloud, but says since he didn’t promote the song, he wasn’t anticipating a wide audience. “I just made it, put it out there, and it was alright,” Hilfiger explained. “People would say, This is a good song, and take it to their friends.” But when a performing group he belongs to, called Fresh the Clowns, shared a choreographed dance to the song to their over 100,000 Instagram followers, the viral lift began. (Fresh the Clowns, Hilfiger says, are “not your average clowns.”)
DOWNLOAD: JUJU ON THAT BEAT (RADIO)-ZAY HILFIGERR FT ZAYION McCALL HERE