- TikTok is the fastest-growing social-media platform, and it’s particularly popular among members of Generation Z.
- The app – known formally as Musical.ly – relies on sounds uploaded by users or artists for use by other TikTok creators.
- Popular TikTok sounds are diverse in origin – some have been created by TikTok users themselves, while others are viral clips of celebrities, like Kourtney Kardashian.
- Read more stories like this on Insider.
TikTok is taking over the internet.
It’s the fastest fastest-growing social-media platform on the web, and the app has become a ubiquitous element of Gen Z life.
As it has grown, TikTok has evolved and has become a marketplace for short bits of audio that users can upload for others to use in their own videos. While mainstream music frequently thrives on the app, other sounds from pop culture and elsewhere have also become earworms.
Here are some of the most popular sounds being used on TikTok and where they originated.
‘This is for Rachel:’ A woman leaves a vulgar voicemail for a person she thought was her boss.
Although this sound only recently shot to popularity on TikTok, it actually originates from a 2018 clip shared to Twitter. The vulgar clip, in which a woman calls and threatens her boss after taking her off a work schedule, seems to have been originally sent to the wrong recipient by mistake, which led to it getting shared on Twitter in the first place more than a year ago.
“Wrong number just sent me this… Rachel you better be ready,” the clip posted to Twitter on August 2, 2018 says. The shorter version of the call uploaded to TikTok has been remixed with upbeat music and has yielded nearly 800,000 videos on the platform.
‘Make You Mine:’ Young love finds its TikTok anthem.
@michellemend0zaIm grounded and he texted me go to your window. He bought allmy fav snacks as a surprise #4you
“Put your hand in mine, I want to be with you all the time.” Isn’t that romantic? The teens of TikTok sure think so. The song, released by PUBLIC, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based boy band in 2019, appears as teens show off their relationships on social media (though the song is often used as a joke between two people who aren’t romantically involved).
“Make You Mine” has appeared in 787,500 videos since it made its way to TikTok, which has helped the music video rack up nearly 2 million views since it was posted in October 2019.
‘Why don’t you say so?:’ Doja Cat’s 2019 dabble into pop goes viral.
@charlidameliosorry i know i do this dance a lot but i love it andyodelinghaley
While it might seem obvious, “Say So” is a song released by genre-bending artist Doja Cat from her 2019 album “Hot Pink.”
The song has led to a viral dance routine, which is common on TikTok, though the viral sound seemingly reached new heights when “Marriage Story” actress Laura Dern pushed her daughter, Jaya Harper, out of the way to perform the dance to Harper’s followers on the platform.
Although the song has made waves on TikTok, it hasn’t quite cracked the Billboard Hot 100 just yet, though Doja Cat currently has two entries on the song-ranking chart.
The song has led to the creation of 8.6 million TikTok videos.
‘Delfino Plaza but progressive bass boost:’ an early 2000s Nintendo Classic shows up on TikTok.
@.hackybut am I wrong?….probably
Nintendo fans might not need help locating the origin of this sound, but this popular TikTok meme actually originates from Nintendo’s 2002 GameCube release, Super Mario Sunshine. Although the song on TikTok has been remixed, the original song can be heard when users visit the “Delfino Plaza” area of the 2002 cult classic.
The song has led to the creation of more than 639,000 TikToks.
‘I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare:’ Simple Plan’s 2002 hit finds new fans in Gen Z.
@ash_layShes not so small anymore olivia_olivarez_ #greenscreen I wastired af )))
What’s (kind of) old is new again on TikTok.
“I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare,” Simple Plan’s lead singer Pierre Bouvier sings on the “I’m just a Kid,” released in 2002.
The sound is often used to share some of the hardships teens go through, and it has found popularity among teen parents who use the song to talk about their experiences having children at a young age.
More than 27,000 videos have been created using the Simple Plan song.
‘She’s really good:’ Demi Lovato’s Mitchie Torres comes to TikTok.
@shalynrosethis actually happened while i was on vacay w them 2 weeks ago-#foryou
“Camp Rock,” the Dinsey movie starring Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers, is more than a decade old, but the 2008 made-for-tv hit has found new notoriety on TikTok.
The line “She’s really good” is delivered by Lovato as Torres when she watches Allyson Stoner’s character Caitlyn Geller show off her DJ skills.
The sound – used almost 60,000 times on TikTok – is a way for teens to show off their hidden talents or the seemingly mundane ways they have impressed others.
‘Hard Times:’ Paramore’s 2017 lead single is heard in almost half-a-million TikToks.
@joealbaneseI threw a shoe at myself like 100 times for this
Hayley Williams has announced she’s releasing new solo music this year, though her 2017 work with Paramore lives on as a viral TikTok sound.
The song “Hard Times,” the lead single from the band’s 2017 album “After Laughter,” has appeared in more than 437,000 TikTok videos.
‘So, why you gotta be like that?:’ Audrey Mika asks the question seemingly on TikTok’s collective mind.
@thevale47one of my biggest pet peeves
“So, why you gotta be like that?,” Audrey Mika asks on her 2019 track titled “Y U Gotta Be Like That?”
TikTok creators have apparently wondered the same thing, creating some 618,300 videos using the song since it was posted on the platform.
The original sound was used in a TikTok about “girls who change their voice around guys.”
‘Working is just not my top priority:’ Kourtney Kardashian takes a stand against her sisters.
@zzzachariahMe calling out of my shift after sitting in the parking lotcontemplating quitting for 25 minutes… #kourtneykardashian
The Kardashian women are everywhere – even on TikTok. The woman heard in this sound is none other than Kourtney Kardashian from a 2018 episode of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
The moment shows a tearful Kourtney amid one of her many clashes with her sisters, Kim and Khloe. Kourtney explains to her sisters how their priorities differ from hers.
“I think it’s like everyone understanding that we all have different priorities, and like, working is just not my top priority – it’s never going to be,” the eldest Kardashian sister says in an episode that – in part – deals with Kim and Khloe’s perception that Kourtney doesn’t invest enough time in filming the longtime reality show.
Either way, the sound has been a hit with Gen Z, who uses it to joke about their own work ethic.
The sound has been used in more than 10,000 videos on TikTok.
‘Huh? What? Oh, OK.:’ Trisha Paytas’ viral chicken sandwich moment lives on on TikTok.
@colbycam722This has to be how it happened! #fyp#foyoupage#viral#onearmstruggle#sofunny
Trisha Paytas has made a name for herself on TikTok, often posting videos inspired by the Broadway musical Beetlejuice. Her presence on the platform expands beyond her own account.
This particular sound originates from a popular clip from Paytas’YouTube channel.
Long before Popeyes released its infamous chicken sandwich, in March 2018 the longtime influencer posted a review of another new chicken sandwich, from Burger King. As part of her review, the always over-the-top Paytas made her infamous comments after she was approached while eating in her car.
The sound has been used by TikTok users to make more than 51,000 videos, though some will remember its virality on Twitter months earlier.
‘They do this every year:’ Post Malone meets Sid from ‘Ice Age.’
@andyhansz23Lets see if this blows up too7ü
This sound combines two pop culture phenomena that join forces to make an unexpected collaboration: Post Malone and Sid, the loveable sloth from Blue Sky Sudios’ “Ice Age.”
The beginning of the sound relies on Post’s 2019 hit “Circles” from his album “Hollywood’s Bleeding,” while Sid in the 2002 film is edited in to deliver the line “they do this every year.”
The original sound appears to be posted by TikTok user Andy Hansz, who shared the video to his TikTok in a screen recording that shows the sound was created on an iPhone using GarageBand.
Nearly 200,000 videos have been posted using the sound.
‘Big boobs? What? Child, anyways?:’ Nicki Minaj has had it with Instagram trolls.
@raspberrygalI do hate doing things and not perfecting it but here is onequick video that I didnt have time to make it perf bc I wasrunning late #notforyoupage
At one point in time, this sound dominated TikTok, with creators constantly thinking of new ways to use the versatile audio clip. If the voice in the clip sounds familiar, that’s because it’s none other than rap icon Nicki Minaj.
The clip comes from an Instagram live the “Megatron” singer broadcast on July 28, 2019. A person viewing Minaj’s livestream commented “big boobs” on the stream, which Minaj noticed and promptly delivered her now infamous response.
“I hate doing sh*t and not perfecting it, can you guys hear me good?” Minaj says before noticing the comment. “Big boobs,” Minaj added, seemingly confused. “What? Child, anyways.”
It hard to put a number on how many times this video has been used on the platform, as it has been uploaded and reused by a number of TikTok users.
‘Don’t be suspicious:’ Not everything is what it seems on TikTok, or on ‘Parks and Recreation,’ either.
Users on TikTok with something to hide might find themselves using the popular “don’t be suspicious” sound, which has been featured in more than 384,000 videos since it was first posted.
The sound actually comes from the series finale of “Parks & Recreation,” which ran for seven seasons and aired 125 episodes on NBC. Specifically, characters Mona-Lisa Saperstein (Jenny Slate) and her twin brother, Jean-Ralphio (Ben Schwartz) can be heard in the sound. The two characters are watching Jean-Ralphio’s fake funeral (as part of an insurance scam, naturally) and breakout into a dance while they sing “don’t be suspicious.”
The most popular video that uses the sound from the Amy Poehler-fronted comedy has 3.2 million views on TikTok and features a girl painting the walls of her room black while the audio of the clip plays. A woman – presumably the girl’s mother – walks in to find the walls had been painted. One viral TikToks shows a girl sneaking a llama into her home, while another shows someone pulling tickets out of an arcade game.
“Keep in mind that AirPods are 28,000 tickets, but it works,” the caption of the post with 2.2 million likes reads.
‘Why don’t you put that phone down?:’ popular Chainsmokers collaborator Emily Warren meets TikTok.
TikTok creators have found comedy in this sound, which is a 2016 song by the Lost Kings featuring Emily Warren, who is a frequent collaborator of the Chainsmokers and appeared on their 2018 song “Side Effects.”
Warren has written songs for artists that include Dua Lipa, Charli XCX, and The Chainsmokers, per Forbes, and she appears as a vocalist on this track appropriately titled “Phone Down.”
Several TikToks posted to the platform have used the sound as a political commentary on the cost of medical care in the United States, using the song to ask good Samaritans to put their phones down during a medical emergency due to the costs associated with ambulances. Others have used the trend to mock their parents who have asked them to put their phone away.
‘A par tip redact:’ A gamer’s Minecraft frustration is TikTok gold.
@calebcityPutting your glasses down for 5 SECONDS!
This sound, which features gibberish met with confused responses, is often used to depict situations where a miscommunication has occurred.
In the original video posted to TikTok, the creator, @calebcity, shows the utter pain associated with losing your glasses. Others on the platform have used the sound to show the struggle of trying to track down a song you just heard on the radio, or the daze you feel up after taking a four-hour nap.
The sound has been used more than 43,800 times.
‘Mama, I’m a criminal:’ A Britney hit is missing a few key words.
@jackwithpantsThought this audio needed to exist.
Criminal from Britney Spears’ 2011 album “Femme Fatale” peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 2011, but the song lives on (at least part of it) on TikTok.
“But mama, I’m in love with a criminal,” Spears sings on the 2011 track, though the viral sound loses the “in love with” to produce “But mama, I’m a criminal.”
Many videos posted with the sound are teens making jokes about shoplifting.
The edited version of the track has been used to make nearly 20,000 TikToks.
‘I just did a bad thing:’ A SoundCloud song becomes a hit for teens with instant regret.
@.nicolelynchi heard toothpaste makes your hair lighter… my mum wasnt toohappy ab it #everydayskills#help
TikTok creators love to make dramatic changes to their personal appearance, and they might like to post about them to the social-media app even more. Often accompanying these dramatic changes is this popular sound.
The song, released in 2018 by Bill Wurtz, seems almost like it was engineered for TikTok, as the lyrics lend themself to a reveal just long enough to build suspense but short enough to keep a viewer’s attention.
“Just did a bad thing, Wurtz sings. “I regret the thing I did. And you’re wondering it is. I’ll tell you what I did. I did a bad thing.”
More than 1.5 million videos have been made using Wurtz’s 2018 song, though it’s sure to grow the next time a teen dyes their hair blue or get a new tattoo.
‘Choose your character:’ TikTok users play their own real-life video game.
@rhia.officialWhich character would you choose?!JQ6 #chooseyourcharacter#ukfashionnovember
Choosing a character is common in video games, and it’s also common on TikTok. The song used for this sound is a remix to Super Smash Bros. Meelee’s main menu theme song. The remix was created by Jim Walter and first uploaded to YouTube in 2016.
In one of the videos that uses the sound, the creator asks her followers to decide which character they choose: the superhero, the wizard, the Barbie, the devil, the princess, the country girl, the unicorn, or the dog. The creator dresses up in outfits for each of the characters, though an actual dog makes a special appearance for the viewer’s final option.
The Super Smash Bros. Melee Remix sound has been used 538,300 times since it was uploaded to TikTok.
‘Did I really just forget that melody?:’ A flub in the studio leads to TikTok fame.
@martamieI broke my knees for it. dont let it flop #fyp#foryoupage#viral
According to Genius, the moment heard in this TikTok sound is genuine. It comes from the song “Lalala,” a collaboration between bbno$ and Y2k, released in 2019.
“I get in the booth and I’m like alright, alright, here we go, here we go,” bbno$ told Genius. This is it, and I’m like nah did I just really forget that melody, and then he – maybe it’s just five, or six feet, seven feet in the booth – and he’s like nah nah nah, and then he just gave it back to me.”
The song has been used for a variety of trends on TikTok and is generally just used as a backing track for videos on the platform. “Lalala” has been used at least 1.7 million times since posted to TikTok.
‘Reborn:’ A horror
@lastmanstanleyWhen do we know when its over
This sound was originally used by TikTok creator @lastmanstanley in July when he posted a video that uses the sound as the backing music to a stare down with a dog in a friend’s bathroom.
“When do we know when it’s over,” he captioned the TikTok, which has more than 363,000 likes.
The sound – Reborn by Colin Stetson – comes from the soundtrack from 2018’s horror film “Hereditary.”