Behind the Hit: Saweetie on the Message Tied Into Tap In

Lyndsey Havens | October 17, 2020

At the beginning of the pandemic shutdown in March, California rapper Saweetie was cooking a lot — and wondering when would be the right time to release music again. “You know the Spider-Man meme?” she asks, comparing the one where two or more Spider-Men point at one another to how she and other artists felt at the time. “It was like, ‘Who’s going to go?’”

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Two months prior, the 26-year-old was in a Hollywood studio preparing tracks for her upcoming debut album, Pretty Bitch Music. One day, she walked in wearing camo pants and a jersey, lit some vanilla candles, poured a drink and wrote what became the project’s lead single, “Tap In.” The bouncy hip-hop track, featuring a Bay Area beat produced by Dr. Luke that samples Too $hort’s “Blow the Whistle,” came together quickly, and her family’s high-energy reactions over FaceTime convinced her of its potential.

She says it was an obvious choice for her lead single because when it arrived in June on Warner it was a “very sensitive time in America around the [Black Lives Matter] riots and protests. I wanted to have a message, and ‘tapping in’ doesn’t only mean to parties. It means tapping into the things you care about — and I care about change in my community and in the country.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

mood cuzzz it’s Octoberrr 😈😈😈

A post shared by @ saweetie on


Since its release, “Tap In” has peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs and R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay charts and has earned 110.1 million on-demand U.S. streams, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, thanks in part to a TikTok dance challenge. Now the track is having a resurgence on the app due to a Phineas and Ferb remix, “Doofenshmirtz Tap In,” which has been tagged to over 1.2 million videos. Saweetie and her team have been working to maintain the momentum: In August, DaBaby, Post Malone and Jack Harlow jumped on a remix; a music video is rumored to be in the works.

“When a record keeps reinventing itself,” she says, “that’s when you know you’ve got something special.”

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 17, 2020, issue of Billboard.

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About the author: Lyndsey Havens Contributor