Aliyah Bah was already popular on TikTok before her debut single, “IT GIRL,” became one of the most popular songs on the app. Known for birthing the AliyahCore aesthetic—distinguished by layers of fishnets (on the legs and the arms), denim booty shorts with belts (yes, multiple), moon boots (preferably furry), and most importantly, lots of bright colors—Bah’s blending of Y2K fashion with Harajuku style caught the attention of many other creators who wanted to take on the look.
The hashtag “AliyahCore” currently has over 400 million views on the app—it’s safe to say Bah was already an It Girl well before she dropped the song at the end of September.
Since its release, “IT GIRL” has taken off on TikTok. Bah’s song has been used in over 912,000 videos, and it currently sits at No. 4 on the official TikTok Viral 50 Music Chart, which tracks the most popular songs on the app based on how many videos use the song, the views those videos get, and its overall engagement. It’s hard to scroll on TikTok without coming across at least one video using Bah’s song, a bouncy, pop-house track where she raps about being “that b-tch” in a similar cadence to Azealia Banks or Nicki Minaj.
As the “IT GIRL” phenomenon grows, Bah told her fans in a video posted to TikTok that she is working on a remix and asked for suggestions. Previously, she's collaborated with with other in-demand creators as well as celebrities like Lizzo, PinkPanthress, and most recently, the perennial It Girl, Paris Hilton.
In an interview with TIME, Bah says she’s secured a featured artist—a "New York it girl”—for the remix and that they are recording their verse now, with hopes to release the new version by the end of the month. While we wait to see who will join Bah on the track, here’s a conversation with the TikTok star.
You were obviously popular online before your song came out, did you always want to make music?
I've actually been making music since I've been an influencer. I was kind of perfecting my craft and making sure that I really knew the sound and what I wanted to make before I made it because I didn't want to just be one of those influencers who just make music for a bag. I actually want to do it because I actually love music.
How did you go about thinking about your sound and the type of music you wanted to create? What were some of the artists or projects that influenced you?
I listen to a lot of Azealia Banks, Ayesha Erotica (who has a popular song on TikTok right now called “Juicy Couture,” popularized by Tube Girl), Ice Spice, Nicki Minaj. I always knew I wanted to be a diva, I wanted to have that energy just coming through. I was going into the studio, even before I made “IT GIRL,” I was perfecting my cadence and how I would say different things to bring that energy out. Even through my videos, you can feel the energy too. I was listening to Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE a lot and I love house music, so I thought let me hop on a house beat and see how I eat on it. It ended up just going crazy.
Did you work with a producer to make the beat?
It’s a YouTube beat that I scoured the interwebs to find. I found the producer’s Instagram, paid him to use the beat exclusively, and after I made the song, I let him know that the song was coming out and he’s been pretty cool about it.
Did you guys end up working on the song together?
No, he made the beat and it was already online and it already had thousands of views, I just rapped over it.
What was the songwriting process like? Did the word ‘It Girl’ just come into your mind and you needed to make a song about that?
When I write music, I like to write down what I want the song to be about. So I wrote down that I wanted it to be girly, fun, and have a pink vibe. I always call myself an It Girl because I am an It Girl so I thought that should be the name of the song. When I listen to a song, I can hear the hook before I hear any words and that’s what happened with this song, I was just listening to the beat over and over again, then I started spelling out I-T-G-I-R-L on beat, “you know I am that girl,” what I came up with first, and then I wrote the song around it. Even the first line, “B-tch, you know I’m sexy,” I thought, I need something that's real, something that the girls would relate to.
After you had the music all ready to go, did you have a plan in mind about how you wanted to promote the song on social media?
I’m not gonna lie to you, no. I knew they were gonna gag though just because I never did music before and it’s something new for the girls. So when I dropped it, the song just went crazy immediately and wanted to make all the promo based on just like me being super cute and stylish. That's what the song embodies, so that's what I'm gonna do with all the promo.
How have you kept the promotion of the song authentic to who you are? A lot of people, especially influencers that are making music come off as inauthentic and seen as selling out, but the way you’ve promoted the song works off the persona you’ve created.
The song is like an embodiment of me. All the content that I was already making was already it girl-esque. Even if the song wasn't mine, I'd probably be using it all the time, too. I think that's why people really like it too, because it's just real.
You said you’re doing a remix for this song and were looking for suggestions. Have you secured someone for a featured spot yet?
I have secured someone on the remix and it's someone that the girls have been dying to be on the remix. It's going to be iconic. I have so much new music coming up and there's a new song that's even more iconic than “IT GIRL” coming out in December with a music video.
Can you say more about who is on the remix? Is it a New York It Girl? When are you planning on releasing it?
Yes, it’s a New York-It Girl and I’m hoping to release it by the end of the month, so you’ll just have to wait and see.
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Write to Moises Mendez II at firstname.lastname@example.org