Razi Irawani cotton eye joe remix's Chicken Nugget over tiktok and youtube logos

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How creator Razi Irawani’s ‘Cotton Eye Joe’ remix and a dancing chicken nugget took over TikTok

‘I saw it going mega-viral, and people started tagging me in videos where my face is on a chicken nugget.’

 

Steven Asarch

Passionfruit

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Razi Irawani has always wanted to be an actor. While waiting for the perfect role, which to him would be Kuzcoo in a live-action remake of the “Emporer’s New Groove,” he started a TikTok account in 2015, posting skits and musical videos. Soon, the Iraqi-born creator living in Denmark broke out on the platform. He pulled in seven million subscribers and hundreds of millions of views. 

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But one June day, his father-in-law sent him a link to “Cotton Eye Joe,” a dance party anthem from the mid-90s, and challenged him to make his own version of the song.

He created a skat-like language spoofing the erratic nature of the original Swedish band, Rednex. Dressing in a hat and mustache inspired by a forgotten “Tom and Jerry” character, he shot and edited the video in around an hour.

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“I didn’t expect much, I just forgot about it,” Irawani told Passionfruit. “But then two weeks later, I saw it going mega-viral. And people started tagging me in videos where my face is on a chicken nugget.” 

Razi Irawani’s Cotton Eye Joe

In an odd set of circumstances that could only happen online, a now-deleted meme account posted a video of a chicken nugget with the face of a Roblox character dancing to Irawani’s remix in September 2023.

Over the next few months, the song started to mutate across social media. Now known as “Gadagadigadagado,” it often appears in TikToks and YouTube videos aimed at a younger demographic. Included in Roblox compilations and deep-lored stories of other foods in cowboy hats reminiscent of Skibidi Toilet, the song has billions of views.    

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“It was a special voice that hit in the brain of kids. And they think, okay, this is something we love,” Irawani said.

By mid-March 2024, the remix was getting one to three billion views a month just on YouTube. It soon caught the attention of Rednex, the Swedish electro dance group behind the original song.

Ranis Edenberg, who described himself as the “boss” and “music producer” of the band to Passionfruit, said that originally they “didn’t think that much of it.” It just had a “humor” in the “complete disrespect of the lyrics.” As if a “fool just wanted to sing along anyway.” 

But there was a magic to its absurdity. It captures the essence of the tune that’s been popular at weddings and Bar Mitzvahs over the past three decades. Like “Crazy Frog” or the “Gummy Bear Song,” there’s a childlike wonder to the remix that just scratches that certain part of your brain. …

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