Gordon Ramsay, the English chef who is almost as well-known for his creative cursing as his restaurants, made an unexpected appearance at the top of Spotify’s U.S. viral chart recently.
Ramsay owes his musical moment to a pair of rapper-producers from Baytown, Texas: 19-year-old HL Wave and 21-year-old Jhonny Flames, who invoke the chef in the title of their breakout hit. “We were watching a bunch of compilations of [Ramsay’s long-running show] Hell’s Kitchen and watching him freak out,” Flames says. “[Affects English accent]: ‘Where the fuck is the lamb sauce?’ Just the way he speaks, I love Gordon Ramsay.” The chef’s “aggressive charm” sets the tone for HL Wave and Jhonny Flames’ single, which is curt, thundering, and repetitive.
Neal Rahman, who manages the rappers, heard “Gordon Ramsay” and thought it might be a hit in at least one corner of the internet: TikTok. “[‘Gordon Ramsay’] has the sound palette that people engage with,” Rahman says. For evidence, listen to other minimal, brutish tracks like Krypto9095’s “Woah,” Savage Ga$p’s “Pumpkins Scream in the Dead of Night,” and BigKlit’s “Liar,” which recently boomed on TikTok before earning streams on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.
In addition, songs named after already-famous people or memes have been performing well lately. If “Post Malone” and “Hot Girl Bummer” are hits, why not “Gordon Ramsay”?
After Wave and Flames released “Gordon Ramsay,” they reached out to a series of TikTok users “that weren’t too big to be approached” and asked them to make videos with the track. Popular TikTok users receive multiple requests like this every day. The key for the eruption of “Gordon Ramsay” was the line “if she can’t clap without her hands…”. The artists hoped this would spark goofy dance videos. “We were thinking people would clap with their feet or clap with their elbows,” Rahman says.
Instead, the TikTok user @derekklawrence used an electronic double-clap in the beat at the 15-second mark as the basis for a dance named the “clock woah:” His arms approximate a clock’s hour and minute arms, and he whips from noon to midnight — or vice versa — in time to the claps. Another TikTok user, @brycenbarbour, created a second variation, the “broken clock woah,” with even more clapping. “At the peak, the song was getting ten videos a second for a few hours,” Rahman recalls.
While Ramsay has not yet acknowledged the existence of “Gordon Ramsay” — and he did not respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment — HL Wave and Jhonny Flames have been busy in the studio, eager to better their first successful single. “It feels like a 3 out of 10 on the scale of songs we usually make,” Flames says of “Gordon Ramsay.” “It could have been a throwaway.”