Angel Laketa Moore had a hit on her hands. In late May, the actress/creator was about to record an episode of her podcast, Here’s the Thing, and was going through a list of topics from her cohost, comedian Kevin Fredericks. Among them: a viral video of a preacher known as Sister Cindy discussing abstinence on the campus of Louisiana State University. In it, Sister Cindy shouts, “If you buy her one margarita, she will spread her legs.” Moore immediately heard the inspiration she needed for a rap. When she sat down with Fredericks to record the podcast, they started talking about Sister Cindy’s viral video. “Then I was like, ‘Kevin, give me a beat,’” she says.
Fredericks whipped up a rough version of the beat from Clipse’s “Grindin’” and Moore started to rap: “Give me one margarita, Imma open my legs/Give me two margaritas, Imma give you some head … ” Fredericks cracked up. “When the freestyle came out and it was fire, I was like ‘You know what? I’m going to clip this and put it on my Instagram and my TikTok,” says Moore, who goes by the name That Chick Angel and has appeared on A Black Lady Sketch Show. She hoped someone would add a new beat to her vocals.
Within 24 hours, two producers, Steve Terrell and Carl Dixon (known as Casa Di), had put a fresh beat on the sound and posted two different versions on TikTok—one long, one short. As of this writing, they have nearly 13 million combined views, and tens of thousands of people have made their own versions. Earlier this week, none other than Lizzo posted two, one in which she calls the track “the song of summer.”
On June 1, Moore, Terrell, and Dixon released an official version of the song on Apple Music and Spotify. It’s already ratcheting up streams. Even if Lizzo is wrong and it isn’t the song of summer, it still speaks to the spontaneity that crystallizes certain tracks as the anthems of a season. They’re about capturing the energy of the moment. And while songs about sex and booze are far from unique to this particular time, nearly everything else about “One Margarita” is.
This comes to mind because when I’m not scrolling TikTok, I’m thinking about generative AI. As Amos Barshad noted earlier this week on WIRED, AI tools could usher in a whole new genre of music—they could also usher in a genre of very boring, predictable tunes. Yes, AI can mimic Drake or allow producers to create songs where Grimes sings (pretty much) anything. AI can even write lyrics and compose. But most of its inspirations, the sounds these models learn from, come from the past. What the technology can’t do, without very specific human inputs, is make a viral sound that speaks to the moment of sexual moral panic the world seems to be in right now.
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Moore, by her own admission, never had a “ho phase.” But she understands why someone would, and she wanted to shift focus from the abstinence messages in the original viral video. (“If I wasn’t married, honey,” she tells me over Zoom, “I would be deep in that ho phase right now.”) As “One Margarita” has spread, she’s been delighted to see that people of all genders and all sexualities have made lip syncs to her song. Many haven’t even shied away from the chorus’ nod to pegging: “Give me five margaritas, Imma have some fun/Give me five margaritas, Imma put it in your bun.” Given the many backlashes the LGBTQ+ community has faced recently—boycotts over queer beer, hundreds of rights-stripping bills, threats made against drag brunches—she’s happy her song celebrating sexuality dropped at the start of Pride month. “I feel like there’s something of a revolution coming around, especially for women,” she says. “That was one of the reasons why when I heard the lyrics in my head as I was freestyling, I wanted to change the perspective.”
The success of Moore’s song also speaks to something else: a creator getting their due, specifically a Black woman creator. There’s a long history of the trend and meme machine separating Black creators from the culture they create, but as “One Margarita” proliferates, the track Moore made with Terrell and Casa Di—and their names—have spread with it. It hasn’t become a dance challenge that took off separate from their song, leaving them uncredited. As my colleague Jason Parham has written, TikTok is often rife with cultural appropriation. Tech, as we’re now seeing with AI, has a way of scraping people’s creative labor and then cutting them out. So far, that hasn’t happened with “One Margarita.”
“I’ve been a content creator for 13 years, and most of the time the stuff I do resonates with people that look like me,” Moore says. “This was one of the first times that I felt like some of my content was resonating a lot with people who look nothing like me. I’m seeing all these white girls, I’m seeing a bunch of queer people, I’m seeing fraternity boys. I was like, ‘Wait, oh my goodness!’”
Dixon and Terrell, who have been making music together since childhood, say that right now, their goal is to find someone else to add another verse to the song. “People are, like, pitching their favorite artists. They’re saying ‘Oh, City Girls! Megan Thee Stallion! Lizzo!,” says Dixon. “The next phase is to have an artist on the song to take it to that next level.”
As he says this, Moore bobs her head smiling. There are, she says, a lot of female rappers she’d like to have on the song, Lizzo included. “If any of them was like, ‘Can I get a piece of this?’” she says, “I’d be like ‘Come on, we have more margaritas.’” If the algorithms can help with anything, let’s hope they get that message to the right MC.