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How a DM From PinkPantheress to Ice Spice Led to ‘Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2,’ One of the Biggest Songs of 2023

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How do you break a British artist with a kaleidoscopic sound that incorporates everything from chiptune to Jersey club beats in the United States? In PinkPantheress’ case, by rolling out a remix of an already viral song featuring a hotly tipped rapper. That’s what happened with “Boy’s a Liar,” the latest in a long list of genre-blurring bangers from the 22-year-old that found a firm following online. Breaking out of the digital bubble, however, would take a little luck and a lot of strategy.

“Boy’s a Liar” immediately stood out to the artist’s inner circle, according to Phoebe Gold of Up Close Management, who co-manages Pantheress with Jesse Gassongo-Alexander. “We were in L.A., all staying in a house together in the hills, and Jesse walked into the dining room and said, ‘I heard something through Pink’s door,’” remembers Gold. “He was like, ‘It’s the one!’” Encouraged, Pantheress posted a snippet on TikTok and it went nuclear. There was just one problem: The song wasn’t finished.

“We worked backward into making ‘Boy’s a Liar’ into the full track that it became,” Gold says. Audiences were primed by the time the dizzyingly brief bop (it comes in at just over two minutes) dropped in late 2022, and the track quickly ascended the charts at home and made noise around the world. “We got asked if we were interested in doing a remix, and our initial feeling was hesitation,” Gassongo-Alexander says.  

That stance slowly changed as “Boy’s a Liar” continued to surge in popularity and Pantheress and her team realized there was an opportunity to connect with a broader audience. “We were going through ideas, and Ice Spice was the name that stuck out to us,” Gassongo-Alexander says. “And she had just followed Pink on Instagram, so Pink sent her a DM and suggested doing the song.” Three days later, Spice sent over her verse. (Read Variety‘s recent cover story on Ice Spice here.)

With Pantheress and her team falling in love with the song all over again, “Boy’s a Liar, Pt. 2” was promptly released and caused a second, much greater viral surge. With momentum growing by the day, 300 Entertainment, which is housed under 300 Elektra Entertainment, had to stoke the fires online and introduce the track to hip-hop fans, who might not have heard the original version.

“We tested out some different creatives in terms of influencer marketing that referenced the lyrics of the song, whether that be focused couples or people recounting situations where they’ve felt a similar way to the lyrics,” says Cole Rechan, senior director of digital marketing at 300. The label also sought to build Pantheress’ profile in the U.S. “The record was an opportunity to launch a discovery and awareness campaign across the internet,” he adds. “Why is she your favorite artist’s favorite artist?”

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The marketing campaign looked to build credibility in the hip-hop space by turning to influencers entrenched in Black culture, such as streaming giant Kai Cenat. Dee Sonaram, 300’s exec VP of promotion and streaming, doubled down by jockeying to get the song played in the clubs. “Wherever there was a DJ that was playing music, we wanted him to drop this record,” he says. “And it reacted. People would start rapping along before that song was over.”

Once “Boy’s a Liar, Pt. 2” had a cultural foothold, Sonaram turned his attention to rhythmic radio, where it inevitably went No. 1. When programmers initially dismissed it as “too pop,” he would send them videos from the clubs and show them how the song was doing. “No one knew what this was at first,” Sonaram says, “but the moment they put it on the radio, they understood.”

SONGWRITERS: PinkPantheress, Mura Masa & Ice Spice

PRODUCERS: Mura Masa & PinkPantheress

LABEL: 300 Entertainment

HITMAKERS: Cole Rechan, senior director of digital marketing, 300 Entertainment

Phoebe Gold, manager, Up Close Management

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Jesse Gassongo-Alexander, manager, Up Close Management

Dee Sonaram, exec VP of promotion & streaming, 300 Entertainment

Mura Masa, producer

PUBLISHERS: Sony/ATV Songs LLC (BMI) o/b/o Sony Music Publishing (UK) Ltd (PRS)/ BMG, designee (BMI)

Source: Variety

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