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'Bored In The House' Rapper: What's Next For The Social Media Star

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, as we mark one year since the beginning of this coronavirus pandemic, there's one song that captures what a lot of us have been feeling for a very long time.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORED IN THE HOUSE")

CURTIS ROACH: (Rapping) OK, I'm bored in the house, and I'm in the house bored. Bored in the house, and I'm in the house bored. Bored in the house, bored in the house, bored.

MARTIN: That's Curtis Roach, rapper and creator of the certified quarantine hit "Bored In The House." I'm guessing you've heard it. That clip went on to amass more than 47 million views on TikTok and helped launch Curtis Roach's musical career. But he says the song's viral success came as a total surprise.

ROACH: We want these moments to happen, but it comes when you least expect it. You know what I'm saying?

MARTIN: This time last year, stay-at-home orders were going into place in different parts of the country, including Detroit, where Roach lives. Stuck at home with nothing to do, he took to social media to express how he was feeling, posting this video.

ROACH: I walked away not thinking nothing of it. And then the next week, the pandemic happened. And my phone is just going crazy with notifications. I just didn't know what to do at first (laughter).

MARTIN: That original clip has now been used in more than 4 million videos on the app. He says he began realizing just how big the song had gotten when he saw some of his favorite celebrities making their own versions of "Bored In The House."

ROACH: Seeing Chance the Rapper doing it - when I tell you I used to listen to Chance the Rapper like it was no tomorrow - I still do. But it's, like, I remember being in middle school and reciting his lyrics. And I'm, like, man, he's doing my - he's listening to my music, you know? So that was a crazy moment.

MARTIN: The song also caught the attention of another one of Curtis Roach's musical idols, the rapper Tyga. Two weeks after the video posted, he reached out to Roach about turning his 15-second video into a hit single. The song became a quarantine anthem.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORED IN THE HOUSE")

TYGA AND CURTIS ROACH: (Rapping) I'm a socialize at a distance. I'm living my best life, minding my business, and my anti-socials for the win-win. Locked down, I'm a stay, stayin' (ph) in, in.

ROACH: It was just crazy, like, how fast it happened. And it was, like, out of this world. Like, after that, like, I never saw numbers go that fast, you know?

MARTIN: Since the song was released, Curtis Roach's music has been featured in the video game NBA 2K20, he's performed for the Detroit Pistons, and he's even made an appearance on HDTV, where he remodeled his late grandmother's home. His family was at risk of losing the house, but the success of "Bored In The House" allowed him to step in and purchase it.

ROACH: So it's, like, OK. Now that I've got a little bit of money, maybe this is a perfect opportunity for me to just do something for the community, for the family. I want to eventually turn it into, like, some type of community space. I mean, I'm such a big advocate for art in general, so I want to do something for the city.

MARTIN: For now, Curtis Roach is focusing on his musical career and plans to release his first album later this spring. Despite the intensity of this year, he is grateful to have connected with people all over the world and hopes to continue doing so through his music.

ROACH: To me, I just feel really thankful that people decided to enjoy themselves and feel free to express themselves with a dance or, you know, whatever they were doing in their kitchen or their living rooms and stuff like that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORED IN THE HOUSE")

ROACH: (Rapping) I'm bored in the house, bored in the house, bored. Bored in the house, bored in the house, bored.

MARTIN: That was Curtis Roach, rapper and creator of the viral hit "Bored In The House." And if you want to hear more of his music, his latest single, "Stressed Out," is out now. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.