Lil Jon’s 2003 song, “Get Low” spent 43 weeks on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 chart, and at one point it was the second-highest rated single in the country. But the strategy for breaking “Get Low” wasn’t birthed in a boardroom. Lil Jon had an easy way to find out if he had a hit or not: “Butts don’t lie.”
“Get Low” was originally tested at the Atlanta strip club, Magic City. Lil John admitted dancers didn’t particularly like the song at first, but it gained popularity through a simple formula. Artists and promoters befriend strippers, which is usually aided by generous tipping. The strippers, in turn, ask their DJ’s to play the song being promoted, and the rest depends on crowd reaction.
“They’ll test a record literally right there—not mixed, not mastered—just in its rawest form,” Rap Coalition founder Wendy Day told NPR. “And they’ll test it to see how the patrons and the girls react to it in terms of dancing. It’s a very inexpensive way to test a record.”
Blair’s profile focused on Roam Bad Daddy. The seemingly unknown emcee is currently signed to Pure Pain Records, where the label’s founder explained using the above approach to break records. And even the most casual of Google searches revealed Roam Bad Daddy has since gotten some attention from regional radio stations and worked with the likes of Lil Boosie and DJ Smallz. So is there a difference between payola and promoting a record in the strip club?
“Even if [a stripper] doesn’t think a song has potential, she’ll give it a try because she knows the folks from the record label will make it rain extra hard when she’s dancing to their song,” NPR’s Elizabeth Blair wrote.
For the full story, including additional quotes from DJ Scream, visit the NPR website.