Thanks to his stellar contributions to the Moana soundtrack, Johnson fans have known about his affinity for music for several years now. Despite this, people were surprised to hear the beloved actor and former professional wrestler’s voice crop up in the 2021 track.
Johnson has always had an affinity for music, according to an interview between the actor and Variety. He told the publication that friends of his within the music industry have been begging him to contribute his talent for decades, but that he was waiting for the right fit. When Tech N9ne approached him about a collaboration, Johnson realized that his moment had arrived.
The resulting track, which was released in early October, became a near-instant hit on TikTok. Johnson’s contribution only comes in near the end of the 3 minute and 39 second song, but it’s his voice that is dominating TikTok videos across the platform. Hundreds of videos sporting Johnson’s brief cameo now populate the platform, leaning into the sentiment his mainstream musical debut projects.
The TikTok sound begins on the very end of the song’s chorus, before launching into Johnson’s portion of the track, in which he raps “It’s about drive/ It’s about power/ We stay hungry/ We devour.” The entire clip leans into Johnson’s well-reported passion for work ethic, a message many people on TikTok connected with.
Videos using the clip as a soundtrack vary wildly. Many use the track as it was likely intended: as a motivational theme for their various TikTok exploits. It’s being used by people showing off their workout regimen, as musical incentive to study harder, or to illustrate the struggles with pumping oneself up for any number of undesirable tasks.
It’s also being used in the background of quite a few unexpected corners of TikTok. Foodie TikTok even got ahold of the sound, resulting in several hilariously intense food prep videos. There are also makeup tutorials set to the rap lyrics, along with crafting videos, and⏤given the season⏤to set the scene for an array of Halloween costume reveals.
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Many of the tracks have become unofficial entries into the “Face Off challenge,” a straightforward TikTok challenge announced and promoted by Johnson himself.
He made a video declaring the challenge on Oct. 23, in which he mouths along to his lyrics and compiles several of his favorite videos that make use of the song. He asked for more entries, imploring via caption for people to “show us what someone says, does, or encourages that sends you into OVERdrive.” Johnson’s favorites detail the motivation behind people’s workouts, housework, and class participation.