Last Friday, one of the year’s biggest memes crossed over from viral sensation to chart success. Danielle Bregoli has been Internet-famous for months after the rebellious 13-year-old appeared on Dr. Phil to trash talk the “hos” in the audience, threatening them with the now-ubiquitous catchphrase “Cash me outside, how bow dah?”
In January, Atlanta producer DJ Suede released a trap remix incorporating phrases from the episode, with the song recently appearing on the Billboard Hot 100. While it’s the first time the 26-year-old producer has cracked the charts, he’s given the Internet viral songs before, including the holiday-themed #UNameItChallenge which featured a sample of gospel singer Shirley Caesar.
DJ Suede has been making music since age 12, taking a break only to attend college to play football and run track. He worked briefly at Verizon until he began using Vine, gaining a fandom from a remix of the iPhone 6’s default ringtone. Ever since his Vine page took off, the DJ has been melding his close attention to Internet memes with his musical dreams. After his song debuted on the charts at Number 88, Suede spoke with Rolling Stone about his surprising recipe for viral success.
What tracks did you notice were starting to get more traction and attention from people?
I started on Vine. I actually remixed the default ringtone for the iPhone. I was just having fun with it when a buddy of mine was like, “Yo, have you checked your YouTube lately?” I didn’t really use YouTube like that but it was going crazy. So ever since Vine, I picked up producing and making stuff for people on there. I started meeting a lot of people saying, “Hey, will you remix this for me?” Then I moved to Instagram and started to get a lot of attention. My fanbase kept growing. You know how you just keep doing something and it grows? And you’re like “If it’s growing like that, I might as well keep going.”
What drew you to remixing audio clips and sound bites?
I think the best thing about it is that it gets to show how creative I am. I’ve been able to take anything random and make something real dope out of it. Everything is DJing and producing these days. I had to find something to set me apart from everyone else and make me stand out a lot more.
The #UNameItChallenge became so massive during the holiday season. What made you decide to remix Shirley Caesar’s sermon?
I actually was on a meme page and had seen a lot of people talking about it. I was never going to make the mix at first. I just thought it was a funny meme on Instagram. A buddy of mine was like, “Thanksgiving is coming up. Why don’t you go ahead and remix that? It’ll be crazy.” I still wasn’t going to do it, but then I was sitting at home and bored. My friend texted me again about it, so I got on my computer and made it in 30 minutes. As soon as I edited a video clip of it, I got some kids to dance to it within 24 hours. That’s when Chris Brown got a hold of it. Nicki Minaj. Everybody saw it. I thought it was dope when I made it but I didn’t think it was going to hit as hard as it did. It went crazy almost immediately.
Does the “Cash Me Outside” remix have a similar origin story?
Every remix I say I’m not gonna do are the ones that go viral the fastest. I told my lady friend how a bunch of people wanted me to remix that clip of her on Dr. Phil. She was like “Don’t do that. It’s so lame and that will send a bad message to the kids.” I didn’t really think the kids would care like that, so a day went by and my DMs went crazy. [The meme] was already pretty popular online, and I decided to make the mix because I had a lot of fans asking for it. After a hundred times hearing that, I did it. I didn’t think it was going to do anything because that particular video had been out for a long time. So I dropped, and I guess no one had seen it coming. It just blew everybody away I guess.
I thought it was funny though because I think she’s already hilarious as far as being a badass kids. I think she’s cool, though I haven’t had the chance to meet her yet. I’m pretty sure I will meet her sooner or later. I figured that after a day or so it would go crazy but not this crazy.
Even though you and Danielle haven’t met yet, have you communicated at all or has she said anything about the remix to you or your team?
A lot of fans have told me that she likes to dance to it on her Instagram Live. But I haven’t gotten a chance to talk to her yet. My management has been talking to her management and we’ve got a great relationship with them that way. As far as personally reaching out and talking to them, I haven’t had a chance yet. I’m pretty sure I will though. She seems cool.
Shirley Caesar was far less receptive to being remixed, filing an injunction that claimed you inserted her sermon in a context that “violates the brand, image and name of a Christian pastor.” Did she end up taking legal action?
Everything went in my favor. At first she embraced the record. After Thanksgiving, that’s when everything went downhill. It wasn’t really her. It was more of her legal team [that] wanted to regulate things. After that, there were a lot of rumors happening. As far as me getting sued, that’s crazy stuff. We got that settled and there weren’t any problems there. We got that situated. Haven’t heard anything from her and haven’t talked to her. Definitely wish her the best. I wish we could’ve worked things out because at first we were definitely trying to be fair with them. Going 50/50 on everything. After they agreed on sharing equally, they turned around and wanted to switch up the deals. We couldn’t come to an agreement, but everything worked out for the best.
Your remixes are coming at an important time where memes are beginning to influences music more. How do you feel about this current trend of seeing songs rise up the charts following exposure from viral memes?
I think it’s amazing. It’s just plain entertaining and takes music to the next level and shows how innovative and creative people are on Instagram or just sitting at home coming up with funny stuff. It really just helps everybody from what they love to do. Like Rae Sremmurd and the whole “Black Beatles” situation — I already thought that was a hot song, but when the Mannequin Challenge came out, that’s when that just took off. It was a big benefit to them. It’s just entertainment, and I love it. Every day I get on Instagram, I see something crazy and people ask me to remix it. Then I do and it goes everywhere, and I’ll hear it on the radio or on TV. It’s a blessing. I don’t know who started the whole meme game, but I appreciate it.
What are some memes people are asking you to remix right now?
I got a request for #HurtBae [a viral video of a woman confronting an ex-boyfriend about his infidelity]. It’s one of the number one requests right now. I kind of feel bad and don’t want to do that because it’ll make the situation worse for what she’s going through. At first I was getting a lot of requests for the #SaltBae guy [a viral gif and image of a chef seductively sprinkling salt on meat]. I don’t know how I’m going to remix him because he doesn’t say a thing. He just sprinkles salt all day. But the requests can be for anything — sometimes it’s memes, sometimes it’s old songs or songs that are popular now.
Diplo [also] reached out. I’ve always been a big fan of him and Major Lazer. We’re actually working on some remixes together. There’s been a whole lot of random networking opportunities, from memes to real music. That’s another reason why I started to do the meme remixes — I wanted to show people that I am actually a real producer, especially here in Atlanta.
Besides the Diplo collaboration, what else will we be seeing from you in the coming months?
I’m working on an EP right now that will have a lot of guest artists. I’ve been working with T-Wayne, IHeartMemphis, Slim Jxmmi from Rae Sremmurd, Diplo and Jazze Pha. I actually reached out to Lil Jon and we’ve been coming up with some stuff. There’s a lot of stuff I can’t release just yet, but a lot of good stuff is going to happen this year.