The same type of fan-powered viral clips that led to Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” becoming a No. 1 single may also be paying dividends for Future. To be clear, Future was already enjoying commercial success after landing back-to-back No. 1 debuts in consecutive weeks with Future and Hndrxx in March. Friday, the Recording Industry Association of America confirmed “Mask Off” was a certified gold single in the wake of fans uploading their own versions of the accompanying flute section on the popular single.
By most accounts, things began with Twitter user @BonafideTye, who posted a video of herself playing the “Prison Song” loop sampled on “Mask Off” in her bathroom on March 23. The flutist, who has been playing for about 12 years mixed her own inspiration with some peer pressure.
“My friends had been begging me to cover it for the longest,” she told Complex. “I saw a few people cover “Mask Off” before I did, but they weren’t flutes. I thought, ‘Eh, why not? Then shortly after I posted it, everything blew up in my face, and I mean that in the most epic way possible.”
Other users followed, and by the following week “Mask Off” jumped from No. 32 to No. 19 on Billboard magazine’s “Hot 100” singles chart.
Check out a few other notable #MaskOffChallenge selections below, and marvel at how the magic of the internet combined classically trained musicians, a song with chants of, “Percocet, Molly, Percocet” in the chorus, and a sample from a musical about the ’60s Civil Rights movement and the life of Martin Luther King Jr.
Had to accept the #MaskOffChallenge with my flute and composed a new arrangement on top of it. See full video on Twitter (link my bio ➡️ @shavonec)! #BlackGirlSymphony #flute #flautist Shot by the talented: @bennybankskid
A post shared by Shavone (@shavonec) on Apr 7, 2017 at 4:40pm PDT
According to the RIAA, “Mask Off” has been on the chart for four weeks, and the RIAA notes Future is one of just six artists to certify a song released in 2017.