Are TikTokers aware that they’re using a Tory Lanez song in their videos?

Problematic on TikTok is a weekly column that unpacks the troubling trends that are emerging on the popular platform and runs on Tuesdays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.

An unreleased Tory Lanez song is trending on TikTok and I have a hunch that a majority of the people who have made videos using the audio aren’t aware that they are platforming the rapper who shot Megan Thee Stallion (Megan Pete). 

It all started with TikTok’s new filter, “striking face,” which enlarges users’ eyes and mouths and gives them a five o’clock shadow. The filter itself seems innocuous and was seemingly created to make people laugh. However, most of the videos that use the “striking face” filter are accompanied by the same song and lyrics: “Do you not realize that it hurts me, when I see you go out? ‘Cuz you have the time of your life, only when I’m not around.”

The audio has been used in over 125,000 videos—many posted in the last three days—and is “Hurts Me” by Tory Lanez, whose real name is Daystar Peterson. And in the last 48 hours, more and more videos that aren’t participating in the “striking face” trend are using the audio as well, meaning that it is picking up speed as a trending song on TikTok.

And when unreleased songs by well-known artists trend on TikTok, those artists usually release the song to widespread commercial success. Both “I Hate U” and “Shirt” by SZA trended on TikTok in 2021 before being released in 2021 and 2022, respectively. The latter even had a viral TikTok dance to go along with it, one that was so popular I can still do the routine from memory.

Why it matters

Is further commercial success from Peterson really what we need right now?Tory Lanez song One comment on the TikTok that originated the “Hurts Me” audio states that if the song is shown to the judge presiding over Lanez’ sentencing, they’ll “drop the case.” Another states that “we really lost one of our greatest talents to a bad justice system.” Others wrote “free him” and “after hearing this he is not guilty.”  

Tory Lanez song Peterson shot Pete in the foot, which she was hospitalized for in 2020. Peterson was found guilty on three charges of felony assault and gun violence and awaits sentencing. Los Angeles prosecutors are seeking a thirteen year prison sentence for the rapper, not only because he shot Pete but also because he “waged a campaign to humiliate and re-traumatize” her, according to Billboard.

I have to give TikTok creators who are using his sound the benefit of the doubt—I made a video using “Hurt Me” before realizing that it was Peterson’s song, upon which I immediately deleted it.

But giving Peterson more hype, even by just making a TikTok video using his unreleased song, further legitimizes him as an artist. And he is a legitimate artist, but right now, especially as his sentencing is being determined, the public should be focusing more on Peterson as a person, rather than as an artist.

Tory Lanez is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, and producer who has made waves in the music industry with his versatile style and impressive musical abilities. Born Daystar Peterson in 1992, Lanez gained recognition through his mixtapes and online presence, showcasing his unique blend of rap, R&B, and pop. His breakthrough came with the release of his debut studio album, which spawned the hit singles “Say It” and “Luv.” Lanez is known for his smooth vocals, catchy hooks, and dynamic flows, allowing him to effortlessly switch between singing and rapping. He has collaborated with numerous artists and has consistently released projects that showcase his creativity and versatility. Despite controversies, Lanez’s talent and impact on the music scene cannot be denied, and he continues to push boundaries and captivate audiences with his artistry

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