ILoveMemphis Talks ‘Hit the Quan’ Success, Gaining Instagram Followers and the Secret to World Peace
Rapper iLoveMemphis is a visionary. The 22-year-old, formerly known as iHeartMemphis, is largely known for crafting the popular dance song “Hit the Quan.” The catchy track that went viral in 2015, which encourages people to mimic rapper Rich Homie Quan’s dance moves. But while it maybe fun to do, that’s not all iLoveMemphis wants to be remembered for.
It’s often hard for dance makers to catch lightning in a bottle twice. There’s always the one-hit-wonder label looming overhead as listeners start moving on to the next thing, leaving artists and songs like Tag Team’s “Whoop There It Is,” Mims’ “This is Why I’m Hot,” D4L’s “Laffy Taffy” and Trinidad James’ “All Gold Everything” in the dust.
“Hit the Quan” has already influenced thousands of people to do the strut-like dance including Kendrick Lamar and Terry Crews in the “These Walls” video, Kevin Hart and Chris Brown. It also landed the No. 15 spot on Billboard Hot 100 chart. But iLoveMemphis knows that it takes more than one hit song to stay in the game. And his latest hit, “Lean & Dab” is already sustaining his popularity.
The young rhymer is also sure that the dance music trend will stick as he explains so in his strong Tennessean accent while his eyes rarely break eye contact. Get down low and read the full interview below to learn why iLoveMemphis posts “now I’m up” nearly every day and how he’s trying to get more followers than Kim Kardashian. He’s even got a plan for world peace.
The Boombox: What inspired the change from iHeartMemphis to iLoveMemphis?
iLoveMemphis: Because of iHeartMedia…to avoid confusion with iHeartMedia.
How was it like seeing Kendrick Lamar and Terry Crews do your dance in the “These Walls” video?
Yeah, that was amazing. That was a shocker. Me seeing Kendrick Lamar’s “These Walls” video and seeing all the success with “Hit the Quan” and just looking how far I came is a blessing, but I also learned a lot. I just learned to keep working hard. I learned…me seeing those things sets markers for me to know how hard I’ve worked. So it just shows me how hard I’ve worked.
How different is it in your life now than to that first when you first made “Hit the Quan?”
Just nonstop work – it is more work — hard work. The bigger you are the more work gets on you. And if you’re not working, if you don’t feel like you’re working like crazy, not doing like stuff that managers or security is supposed to do, but I’m saying if you’re not busy and traveling then you’re not – you’re not working. So it’s very busy now.
You enjoy it though?
Yeah, yeah, everybody straight – everybody is straight. Now I can take care of my family and stuff and everybody is good. Even if I’m traveling I’m laying down and sleeping good and eating good. So it’s all good.
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So what’s next for you?
Oh more singles, more dance songs. I’m trying to get 10 songs in the Top 10. I’m trying to get 10 songs in the Top 10 for hip-hop. So, yeah dancing is a trend — dance is about to be a trend for probably about five or six more years. It’s like the new Soulja Boy era in ’07. So dance is about to really be crazy. But I’m going to take advantage of that. So a lot more singles — dance singles from me.
Are you going to put them into album?
Yeah — most likely make an album of dance songs called Dance Like Crazy or something.
That’ll be cool. Do you have any other ideas for an album name?
Stuff like Turn up — just stuff to have fun, be yourself – or just dance. I might even try to do like a exercising class with all my dances which would be fun because you’ll learn how to dance. And you’ll learn how to train and you’ll really work because dancing gets you tired but you stay in shape which we need to stay in shape. So I believe from this year going into like 2020 or something, dancing is going to be hot. That’s going to be good for the kids growing up because you know obesity is a problem in the USA. So yeah I definitely — it’s a part of giving back. The more people I have dancing, people just stay in shape and healthy and the world will become a better place.
Sounds good to me. Are there any producers you’re looking forward to working with?
I’m working with Buck Nasty, that’s been my producer since I’ve been making music — for about a year now. Buck Nasty, yeah, we’re really tight and close. He makes different kind of music not just hip-hop he also – he made like all kind of stuff like pop music. He made – he made me a couple of beats and stuff. So yeah Buck Nasty is a very talented producer. I’ve been knowing him for about two years now but we’ve been doing music for like a year.
Are there any other producers you want to work with?
Mike WiLL Made-It makes great beats. And like whoever gets some up tempo beats that I can rock on and make a dance song, yeah.
Yeah, and obviously you have a really huge song I’m just curious, are you afraid that you might not be able to capture lightning in a bottle again?
Oh no — I just be myself. Man, like people just look at famous stuff different, but — in the midst of all of this I’m getting in more followers than I have ever had. I have a long way to go so I’m not done working and I’m blessed with another record called “Lean and Dab” which is getting crazy attention. So I’m not going to stop working. I still have a lot of work to be done because there are seven billion people in the world. So I need at least half of people knowing who I am and following me and keeping up with what I’m doing. So that’s a lot of people. So I got a lot of work to do, yeah.
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Do you have any other songs you’re working on that you’re excited for fans to hear?
Yeah, “Lean & Dab.” I have a record called — I mean I have a lot of dance records. They can follow me on Instagram @kingiheart – it used to be iHeartMemphis, but I changed it to kingiheart – kings are more powerful. And kings have a big job to do.
And there’s the King of Hearts.
Yeah, kings of heart, yeah. I like that. So because its king I heart. Hey – yeah, yeah I like that. Thank you.
Don’t worry about it. Any other songs you have in the works coming out that you’re excited about releasing?
Oh! Wow I think that’s a – that’s a sign because you asked me twice and I thought I answered you. “Now I’m Up” is something that I’ve been working on like for the last – for the last probably three months. I post like an orange juice on my page everyday. Yeah, I post orange juice every morning and I hashtag it and say “now I’m up” like orange juice gets me up. And I think I’m going to change it to water though because everybody drinks water. Everybody drinks orange juice too, but some people don’t drink orange juice. Everybody like water, like everybody drink water, water is everywhere. So I think that will be more universal to do like “now I’m up.” I’m thinking about making a dance to it or something to it.
That could go with your exercise and health platform too.
Yeah, “Now I’m Up.” Exactly. That makes sense.
Do you have anybody you look up to in the music industry?
Shout out to Silento for having a record so huge that I was inspired to go as hard as him. That’s how I set it my standards because I named five or six artists in my head and I went to their Instagram pages and I was like ‘Hey, what do they do?’ I need to make a movie or like a — I need to do something because my story on how I made “Hit the Quan,” — that should be like a crazy documentary. How it was made like every step like how did I –because people want to know this right here.
So I took six artists that had big records, I took Fetty Wap, Dej Loaf, Bobby Shmurda, Silento and the Nae Nae Yahh [We Are Toonz] because those were big songs in the past two years. So Dej Loaf, Fetty Wap and Bobby Shmurda, their views were not as big as the Nae Nae and Silento. So I’m like ‘Wow.’ These people are bigger than these people. These people are bigger than these people, but they have more followers. Why do the negativity — not negativity — but why do a different kind of hip-hop, you know what I’m saying, have a different vibe from, you know. But the numbers go so viral with the kids as far as views and stuff.
So I set my standards from watching all the other artists. I seen how long it took to get 100,000 views each. And it took – it took Dej Loaf, Fetty Wap and Bobby Shmurda longer than the dance records. So that’s how I knew that dance records were very, very powerful.
That’s how I knew. After that I just kept setting standards and goals to beat everybody records. By two months I wanted to have more views than this person had and I just went hard on Instagram posting everybody’s “Hit the Quan” video.
That’s cool. And you said there were five artists you looked at…
Yeah, so I could compare what I should be in in two weeks. And if I was having success or failure with my music, so that’s what I did because I was like wow “Hit the Quan” is moving pretty fast. And I went back to their pages to see was their music moving as fast and it wasn’t. And I was like ‘Wow, that’s crazy.’ It just started going viral on Twitter, everybody just started doing it and man it just took off. Like on Facebook, The Rock did it. 20 million views. Chris Brown, people tagging me everyday, he’s on Twitter going in a different city or state and it’s just going viral. Then Kendrick did it and it’s just going viral and then the news station did it. Just everybody was doing this dance and it reminded me of “Crank That.” You know when Soulja Boy came out, which is funny because we had the same manager man, Miami Mike.
That’s crazy right? It’s kind of weird, but I just think it’s God. I think it’s time… for the world to be influenced by positivity, you know what I’m saying? Like a popular somebody because I’m 22. I’m not going through no kid stage where I’ma have to change and do something different because I feel like I didn’t grow out of my childish ways. I know what needs to be done. I know that everybody just needs to be yourself. If you could be yourself then it would be a lot less drama and stuff in the world. I bet we have a decrease in killings and all kind of crimes.
You think dance music will contribute to that?
Yeah, because there’s artists that have worked so hard — not taking anything from any artist, but there’s artists that have worked so hard to be in a position like Drake, Future, Nicki Minaj and they’re on the top charts. And for me and Silento to be on the top charts too, that was kind of easy, but can you stay. But can you stay, of course, you can you stay on the top charts. But to just to make it up there is like ‘Wow.’ We just passed a lot of artists — passed a lot of artist who’ve been doing music for long time who never made it – I’ve made it to No. 15 on . And people are like ‘Man, that’s so crazy, that’s so amazing.’ But I want number one is I keep working hard because I mean I guess if I’m number one everybody can listen to me and they’ll know that it’s cool to be yourself.
Like I wear loafers a lot and I used to get like kind of picked on. But you can’t pick on the guy who made “Hit the Quan.” You know what I’m saying? You like ‘Dang, he made ‘Hit the Quan’ he can wear loafers.’ But I’m saying ‘Hey, these loafers are comfortable’ because when I woke up this morning I was like – I want to put on my shoes, but when I put on my shoes I wasn’t comfortable. So I said ‘Hey, I want to put my loafers back on because these shoes are making me comfortable’ – like I wear what I want to wear if they’re comfortable not because somebody say ‘Oh that’s fresh’ or because it costs a lot of money. I just try to set that trend too. And plus I can save a lot of money by not trying to impress other people.
True, that makes sense. Who are some of the artists you’re listening to?
Oh I listen to whatever is like in the top because we gonna hear it a whole lot anyway. So whatever I just go on SoundCloud and I think the top song on there, like Travis Scott, “Antidote.” You’ve got Drake “Hotline Bling,” K Camp “Comfortable.”
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And I mean it’s in your name but I’m just curious why do you love your hometown so much?
Because it’s a town that – it’s what made me go this hard. Because I think everybody be surrounded by a lot of people — everybody wanted to make it out. Everybody is watching the next artist, I was that boy last year. And it’s funny because Yo Gotti — he’s from Memphis and it just — “Hit the Quan has just made the world seem a little smaller smaller, you know what I’m saying? Cause at first everything was like impossible. It was so far. But “Hit the Quan” has made everything seem — It’s like I stay in Memphis but New York is just up the block. It’s like everything is so convenient and it’s like it just – like you have to be – you have to grow up and be about your business because you’ll be left behind.
And you mentioned wanting to make a movie. Do you have any interest outside of music too?
Yeah, I can act. I think I can act because I used to write skits and poems and plays and stuff. So yeah so, I’m a character. Like I’m acting like I want to be here right now — I’m just playing. That was good, right?
Yeah, it’s crazy but I want to be like in movies and acting like model and stuff. I don’t have tattoos so I think somebody will let me throw on some boxers or something right? Take a couple of pictures and post it. Yeah, yeah I don’t want people to just be focused on my music. I want to be focused on my music, I want them to be focused on me as the person and get to know who I am and what I’m trying to do and what’s my goal because my momma always used to tell me to find out what’s a person’s motives. I’m really trying to stop other artists from being so cocky and arrogant. You know what I’m saying?
I think the more followers I get and the more famous I am, that it will be kind of lame to act like that towards your followers. I mean I probably can pull it off. I’m gonna try my best because they will say ‘Hey this guy has a 100 million followers and he’s coming back to his followers and he takes pictures with his followers and he loves his followers.’ So what make you think — I think that will make people kind of – that makes sense.
Any arrogant rappers you have in mind?
Nah I stay out of people’s business. I don’t know, I just keep up with what I’m doing. Unless I’m trying to learn.
How about movies? What kind of movies would you like to star in?
They don’t matter like anything. I would like to make college movies, some like lesson learned movies. Those kind of movies to teach, to teach people. I think all movies teach a lesson. All movies pretty much teach a lesson or tell a story, huh?
For sure. Do you have any favorite places you like to go to in Memphis?
Home. I love being at home. I love being zoned out to myself working. I’ll be on Instagram 95% of the day, I’ll be on my phone a lot. So I like being somewhere I can’t get distracted and that’s home like in my room or something like sitting in my car in my driveway.
Any food places?
I like pizza. Wherever you get a pizza, any kind of pizza.
You’ve been traveling outside of Memphis a lot too. What’s your favorite place outside of Memphis?
I love Cali it is just full of fun – it’s just full of fun. It’s just fun and it’s just a very, very, very, very neat state like Los Angeles and San Diego. San Diego was so much fun. Yeah, yeah San Diego was so much fun.
What did you do there?
I performed there everybody just so turnt up. It was just amazing.
Do you have a favorite cover of anyone hitting the Quan?
Yeah, Chris Brown because he’s done it a lot of times. So I feel like he’s showing love and he’s supporting me. So yeah, Chris Brown is definitely my favorite person who did it.
What’s one thing you want fans to know about you other than that you love Memphis?
I want them to know that I love competition. And I’m saying it to say you have to want it. You have to want to just go hard — you have to go hard like you can’t make excuses for like why you can’t study an extra hour. You can’t make excuses for why you can’t run a little more faster. You just can’t. You gotta stretch it out and just go hard. So just go hard.