In the vast majority of clips, people are singing along to the catchy chorus, which switches between Somali, English, Arabic and Swahili. At its heart, Isii Nafta is a love song. The chorus roughly translates as:
Ogsoonoo inaan ku jeclahay (Somali for “Know that I love you”)
And I love you more than my life
Ana hibak yaa habiibi (Arabic for “I love you”)
Nakupenda mimi sana (Swahili for “I love you”)
Waa ujeedada caashaqayga (Somali for “You can see my love”)
Akafi Ali, a British Somali TikTok star with more than 870,000 followers, saw that the song was being used on the app last month, then in just a few hundred videos, and instantly recognised it. A few years ago his mum would play it all the time. A video he went on to post of him dancing to the song at a Somali wedding got more than 1m views in a day. Other notable Somali creators also used the sound and soon it was spreading like wildfire.