WhoHeem is the latest artist to go from unknown to ubiquitous in an astonishingly short time period thanks in part to the widespread adoption of his song “Lets Link” on TikTok. This trajectory has become increasingly common in the music industry over the last 20 months, helping Sub Urban, Benee, 24kgoldn, Arizona Zervas, Conkarah, and Jawsh 685, among others, earn breakout hits.
Before August 20th, WhoHeem was quietly earning between 10,000 and 15,000 streams a week in the U.S. for most of the summer, according to the analytics company Alpha Data. Then the rapper released “Lets Link,” a sing-song, featherweight hip-hop single. WhoHeem’s total streaming tally jumped to nearly 275,000 the following week and erupted the week after, with “Lets Link” accounting for 7.67 million of WhoHeem’s 7.86 million streams in the U.S.
That growth launched WhoHeem to Number 57 on the latest Rolling Stone Top 100 Songs chart, impressive considering that he debuted higher than a number of singles from established major-label acts, including Ty Dolla $ign and Nicki Minaj’s “Expensive” and Cordae and Roddy Ricch’s “Gifted.” WhoHeem also made his first appearance on the Rolling Stone Artists 500 chart, arriving at Number 413. (The Artists 500 ranks the most-streamed artists of the week, taking into account audio streams across an artist’s entire catalog during the tracking period.)
While both the RS 100 and the Artists 500 reflect listening behavior in the U.S., “Lets Link” is also seeing a corresponding wave of interest abroad. The track ranked Number 31 on Apple Music’s Global Top 100 on Tuesday, and Number 102 on Spotify’s daily global chart.
All this streaming activity is happening in tandem with WhoHeem’s surge on TikTok. The app’s users relish the track’s one-two punch of an opening line, which starts as a come-on before turning barbed: “I like you; I don’t give a fuck ’bout your boyfriend.”
“Lets Link” started to take off on the app around August 27, according to Charmetric, a data company that tracks behavior on TikTok and other platforms. Since August 30, WhoHeem’s track has been used in 50,000 to 60,000 clips a day, and its total video count is now over 600,000.