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Curtis Roach Tells Us The Origins And Impact Of His Viral TikTok Hit, ‘Bored In The House’

By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard it what seems like 1,000 times. The ubiquitous, inescapable, and ridiculously relatable 15-second clip that has soundtracked the social media posts of antsy teens, adults, rappers, actors, and athletes for the last month. “Bored In The House” is the quintessential quarantine anthem, perfectly summing up the national mood after weeks of being indoors, binging the utterly bonkers Tiger King, and avoiding human contact.

The song is the brainchild of a 20-year-old rapper from Detroit named Curtis Roach, who had already been building a buzz with smart, upbeat, optimistic projects like Overly Caffeinated, Lellow, and Luv Bug. But after uploading a video to TikTok of himself ad-libbing a catchy refrain about — well, you know — while banging out a beat on his table, his name and voice are now all over the internet, taking over TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and even Facebook.

Uproxx called Curtis up for an insightful chat about his burgeoning viral fame, wild television, and how he got West Coast rap titan Tyga to turn his social media post into a legit hit record.

Before you got bored enough to start banging on a table, what were you doing to keep busy on your self-quarantine experience?

Well, first off, I made that before the self-quarantine. I didn’t know that that was about to happen. I always been a homebody for real, so this is super easy. This is light work but to keep myself busy, I really been working on music, drinking my water, watching as much movies as possible to get inspired, and listening to my favorite songs and writing down on paper, too. I think that’s also been helping me through all the madness. How about you?

Oh, same old same, man. Binging TV shows. I think I’m about to start working my way back through Parks And Rec. I know you’ve seen Tiger King. What did you think?

Yeah. After watching it, honestly, the first thought was, “Why did I watch that?” After that, it was like, “Why was I so intrigued?” I thought it was kind of entertaining overall, but it’s just like… I don’t know. All of that combined with what’s going on, it feels like a big old distraction but I know that it’s good to have that relief.

Let’s talk about Luv Bug.

I spent the last two projects really trying to exercise my ability as an artist to push the envelope in a way. With Lellow, I was working on solid rap songs that were just enough to catch the attention, had the lyrical content, and have it just be a nice little EP that everybody can run to.

Then, I did a November series and it was like “La Da Da,” “Marry Jazzy,” and “Python Soup” and that was just me experimenting with showing off my voice and letting people know that I can sing and create these cool little melodies and vibes. Then with Luv Bug, that was when I was full into my love bag because I feel like I don’t have that many love songs. I’ve put out “Frida” in the past and “Spectacular” but with Luv Bug, I wanted to really show people, “Hey, I’m not just a rap rap type person, I can also do other things, I can be a full-on artist.” That’s what I really wanted to display with Luv Bug. This next project, I want to morph all of that, have all the lit songs, all the slow songs, and have it be like a perfect collage or a mosaic of just me.

I’m looking forward to that. I guess we’ve got to address the elephant in the room, “Bored In The House.” You banged on the table a little bit and you uploaded it to TikTok and it went bananas. What was your first thought when you saw somebody like Chance The Rapper was playing your song on his Instagram?

Dude, it’s unreal. That was crazy for me, seeing how impactful this video, this 15-second video, has been to the culture right now is crazy. Every time, when I go on Twitter, it’s a new video of a whole family in quarantine that’s just “Bored In The House.” That’s just the coolest part about it, we all are feeling this right now. We’re all in the same situation. It’s good that people are using this time to just dance and have fun on TikTok and make videos. Especially like Chance The Rapper, KeKe Palmer, and so many celebrities that’s done it, but it’s just wild to see. We’re all connected through this.

That’s dope. Actually, speaking of TikTok, what made you jump on the TikTok wave and can you explain what makes TikTok so appealing? What makes it so impactful for this generation, especially for your generation because it goes over my head (this is sarcasm; I did a whole piece about TikTok here).

Yeah man. I started back in September of 2019 and it was really awesome. Everybody was telling me about it. My manager was one of the first people to tell me about it and he was just like, “Yo, you should make a TikTok because you’re funny and you got a dope personality. You be making all these funny videos on your Instagram and stuff.” My cousin was talking about it, my friends were talking about it, and I’m just like, “Eh, I don’t even know.” But I joined TikTok, I had zero followers and I was just like, “I don’t know how to use this.” Everybody was putting dance videos up and I can do that as well, but I just prefer to do my own little thing. I was always putting little funny videos up, so I just was like, “I’m going to just put all those on TikTok.” I was flooding it for a good three weeks, just videos every day and a couple of videos started catching heat. It was a lot of people noticing like, “Oh, this guy’s funny.”

It started growing and growing ever since. The “Bored In The House” [sound], when I first dropped that, I had 40K followers — which is a lot — but after that, it shot up like crazy. It’s been cool because I feel like it’s a platform where you can be free to post anything. You don’t have to wait until 3 p.m. to post something like you’re doing on all your other social media. It’s not a strategic thing. You just have fun with it. There’s people with 20 followers that post every day just because it makes them feel good. People just dancing in their rooms, having the time of their lives. I think that’s what’s the coolest part about TikTok, everybody is on there and everybody is really carefree with it.

Absolutely. How did the Tyga thing happen? How did that increase you attention where now you have all these people checking for you, looking for you, hitting you up, tagging you and everything. Have you felt like, “Let me turn my phone off” or how has it been for you?

At first, I was like, “Oh my God, this is overwhelming.” To answer the Tyga thing, basically, when he first did the TikTok, he went to my page and then he followed me and he hit me up and he was like, “Yo, you’re dope man. You have some cool music… we should definitely do something because you’ve got dope vocals and stuff.” When we finally sent the vocals of it, it took us a day and he was like, “Yo, you got a dope voice, people need to hear this, this is something that needs to happen.” And so, badabing badabap.

That’s really the cool thing about this whole situation with TikTok, to answer your last question, getting all this attention. I’m not just the “Bored In The House” guy, people are like, “Yo, you’re Curtis Roach, the guy who made ‘Bored In The House.’” People really actually liked the music. I feel like this is a good way of transitioning into people getting to know me. I’m really thankful for all the attention and I’m glad that people are messing with the music, especially Tyga. I don’t think he would’ve done it with me if I was trash or anything. I’m glad we got a real good record out of it.

That’s incredible. What’s next man? How do you capitalize on that sort of buzz when it’s something so big like that? Do you drop another song? Do you drop a video? Are you going to quick-strike an album? How do you follow up and make sure that the Curtis Roach name just rings off and stays strong?

Yeah. Well, that’s all I’ve been thinking about and what I’ve been doing. At first, when it started going crazy that first day, I was like “Oh my God.” I froze up because I was already in the middle of working on another project, so when all this started blowing up and the song came out, people are starting to hear me in a different tone. There’s a lot of people who didn’t know that I can go off of beats like this. It altered my next project because I’m definitely experimenting with my sound still but with this, I’m trying to give them all the heat. I’m trying to definitely tap into that back. Just know that Curtis Rose 2020 is lit.