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"Hey Ya!"
Single by OutKast
from the album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Released September 9, 2003 (2003-09-09)
Format CD, 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl
Recorded 2002: Stankonia Studios, Tree Sound Studios, Larrabee Sound Studios
Genre Hip hop
Length 3:55
Label LaFace
Writer(s) André 3000
Producer André 3000
Certification 3× Platinum (RIAA)
2× Platinum (ARIA)
OutKast singles chronology
"Land of a Million Drums"
"Hey Ya!"/"The Way You Move"

"Hey Ya!" is a song written and produced by André 3000 for his 2003 album The Love Below, part of the hip hop duo OutKast's double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. The song takes influence from funk and rock music. A music video was produced featuring André 3000 as eight different versions of himself, playing on comparisons to The Beatles by mimicking their 1964 performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The song received praise from contemporary music critics, and it won a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance at the 46th Grammy Awards.

Along with "The Way You Move", recorded by OutKast's other member Big Boi, "Hey Ya!" was released by LaFace Records in September 2003 as one of the album's two lead singles. It became a commercial success, reaching the top five of most of the charts it entered, and topping the Billboard Hot 100 and the ARIA Singles Chart, among others. Later it was named the 20th most successful song of the 2000s, on the Billboard Hot 100 Songs of the Decade.[1] The song popularized the phrase "shake it like a Polaroid picture" in popular culture, and the Polaroid Corporation used the song to revitalize the public's perception of its products.



André 3000 first began work on "Hey Ya!" in December 2002 at Stankonia Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.[2] He used an acoustic guitar for accompaniment,[2] inspired by bands such as the Ramones, Buzzcocks, and The Smiths.[3] Already having visualized most of the song, he recorded the introduction, the first verse, and the hook. André began recording the vocals during this time, doing several dozen takes. He returned to work on the song several evenings later, with session musician Kevin Kendricks performing the bassline on a synthesizer.[2]

Several months later, André 3000 worked with Pete Novak at the Larrabee Sound Studios in Los Angeles, California. André improvised the lyrics based on a screenplay that he had written. They experimented with various sound effects, including singing through a vocoder, and did 30 to 40 takes for each line.[2]


The 6 bar phrase with a 2/4 change of meter on the fourth measure.

"Hey Ya!" is a song in the key of G major. Each cadential six-measure phrase is constructed using a change of meter on the fourth measure and uses a I–IV–V–VI chord progression. G major and C major chords are played for one and two 4/4 measures respectively. André 3000 then uses a deceptive cadence after a 2/4 measure of the dominant D major chord, leading into two 4/4 measures of an E major chord. The song moves at 160 beats per minute, and André's vocal range spans more than an octave and a half, from B3 to G5.[4]

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The song opens with three upbeats as André 3000 counts "one, two, three" and then leads into the first verse. The lyrics begin to describe the persona's concerns and doubts about a romantic relationship.[2] He wonders if they are staying together just "for tradition," as in the lines "But does she really wanna [mess around] / But can't stand to see me / Walk out the door?" André 3000 commented, "I think it's more important to be happy than to meet up to…the world's expectations of what a relationship should be. So this is a celebration of how men and women relate to each other in the 2000s."[5] The song then leads into the chorus, which consists of the line "Hey ya!" repeated eight times, accompanied by a synthesizer performing the bassline.[4]

During the second verse, the persona gets cold feet and wonders what the purpose of continuing the relationship is, pondering the question, "If they say nothing is forever…then what makes love the exception?"[2] After repeating the chorus, the song leads into a call and response section. André 3000 jokes, "What's cooler than being cool?", and the "fellas'" response, an overdubbed version of his vocals, is "Ice cold", a reference to one of André Benjamin's stage names.[6] He then calls to the "ladies", whose response is overdubbed from vocals by Rabeka Tuinei,[3] who was an assistant to the audio engineer.[2]

The song's breakdown coined the phrase "shake it like a Polaroid picture," a reference to an erroneous technique used by some photographers to expedite instant film. Early versions of the film needed to be dried, and shaking the picture helped it to dry faster.[7] The breakdown also namechecks singer Beyoncé and actress Lucy Liu. The song closes by repeating the chorus ad libitum and gradually fading out.[4]

Critical reception

"Hey Ya!" received very positive reviews from music critics. PopMatters described the track as "brilliantly rousing" and "spazzy with electrifying multiplicity".[8] Entertainment Weekly highlighted it as the catchiest song on the double album,[9] and Stylus Magazine identified it as one of the best songs in OutKast's history.[10] "Hey Ya!" topped the 2003 Pazz & Jop list, a survey of several hundred music critics conducted by Robert Christgau, with 322 mentions, beating runner-up Beyoncé Knowles' "Crazy in Love" by 119.[11] It was listed at number fifteen on Blender's 2005 list of "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born".[12]

The song's unusual arrangement drew comparisons to artists from a variety of genres. Pitchfork Media referred to it as the apex of the album and added that it successfully mixed Flaming Lips-style instrumentation with the energy of Prince's 1983 single "Little Red Corvette".[13] Subsequently, Pitchfork Media gave it the number two slot in its "The Top 100 Singles of 2000-2004" feature in January 2005, bested only by OutKast's own "B.O.B.".[14] Blender described it as a mix of soul music by Ike Turner and New Wave music by Devo[15] and later as an "electro/folk-rock/funk/power pop/hip-hop/neo-soul/kitchen sink rave-up".[12] Rolling Stone compared André 3000's vocals to those of "an indie-rock Little Richard" and the backing arrangement to The Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road,[16] later including the song in its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[3] New York also likened it to The Beatles and found it to be one of the best singles of 2003.[17] Allmusic described it as an "incandescent" mix of electro, funk, and soul music.[18] NME likened trying to classify the song as "akin to trying to lasso water" and described it as "a monumental barney between the Camberwick Green brass band, a cruise-ship cabaret act, a cartoon gospel choir and a sucker MC hiccuping 'Shake it like a polaroid pic-chaaaa!' backed up by the cast of an amateur production of The Wizard of Oz. Sort of."[19] This song was number four on Rolling Stone's 2009 list of the 50 Best Songs of the Decade.[20]

Sales and impact

"Hey Ya!" was successful in North America, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for nine weeks, from December 6, 2003 to January 31, 2004.[21] The digital sales topped the Billboard Hot Digital Tracks for nineteen weeks.[22] The song performed well in urban contemporary markets, topping the Rhythmic Top 40 chart and reaching number nine on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks. It was also successful in mainstream music, topping the Top 40 Mainstream and Top 40 Tracks and reaching number thirteen on the Adult Top 40. The song's pop rock origins allowed it some crossover success, and it reached number sixteen on the Modern Rock Tracks.[23] In September 2005, the Recording Industry Association of America certified the single triple platinum for shipping three million copies.[22] At the 46th Grammy Awards, the song won Best Urban/Alternative Performance and was nominated for Record of the Year, but lost to Coldplay's "Clocks".[24] "Hey Ya!" also topped the Canadian Singles Chart.[23]

The song performed well in Europe, though not as strong as in the U.S. In the United Kingdom, it debuted at number six on the UK Singles Chart and peaked at number three after twelve weeks, remaining on the chart for a total of twenty-one weeks. "Hey Ya!" topped the Norwegian singles chart for seven weeks, and it reached the top in Sweden for the first week of 2004. It performed well across the continent, reaching the top ten in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, and Switzerland.[21]

"Hey Ya!" debuted at number seventeen on Australia's ARIA Singles Chart, eventually topping the chart for two consecutive weeks.[21] The song remained on the chart for sixteen weeks[21] and was certified double platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association.[25] The song charted at number sixty-one for the 2003 end of year chart[26] and was listed at number fifteen on the 2004 chart[27] and number five on the 2004 urban chart.[28] It was also successful in New Zealand, reaching number two and staying on the RIANZ Singles Chart for twenty-three weeks.[21]

The lyric "shake it like a Polaroid picture", along with the song's commercial success, helped to revitalize the Polaroid Corporation. Because current Polaroid film is sealed behind a clear plastic window, casually waving the picture has no effect on the film's development. Vigorously shaking the film may actually distort the image by causing the film to separate prematurely and creating blobs in the final image.[29] Nevertheless, Polaroid sought to market off of the allusion, hiring Ryan Berger of the Euro RSCG advertising agency.[30] Polaroid sponsored parties for OutKast, where Euro RSCG distributed Polaroid cameras.[31] OutKast made a deal to hold Polaroid cameras during some of its performances. Polaroid does not release sales figures, but its public image, previously in decline with the growing popularity of digital cameras, was bolstered by the song.[32]

Music video

The eight versions of André 3000 in the music video.

The song's music video, directed by Bryan Barber, is based on The Beatles' landmark appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, but sets the action in London.[33] The beginning and end of the video blend with those of "The Way You Move" so that the two can be watched in either order,[34] and a "The Way You Move/Hey Ya!" video combining both clips with a bridging sequence was released on the OutKast: The Videos DVD. In the video, André 3000 plays eight members of The Love Below: keyboardist Benjamin Andre, bassist Possum Jenkins, vocalist Ice Cold 3000, drummer Dookie Blasingame, three backing vocalists The Love Haters, and guitarist Johnny Vulture.[33] The video opens with the band's manager Antwan talking to Ice Cold 3000 and Dookie Blasingame backstage. Meanwhile, the television presenter, portrayed by Ryan Phillippe, tries to calm a crowd of screaming girls on a show being broadcast live in black-and-white. The band performs while the girls in the audience scream loudly; one girl is carried off by security after rushing the stage, and another faints. A family is shown dancing to the broadcast at home. When André 3000 instructs to "shake it like a Polaroid picture", some of the girls begin taking pictures and shaking them. Ice Cold 3000 dances with one of the girls on stage, and the video closes with several friends of the band watching and discussing the performance.

The music video was filmed in two days in August 2003 on a sound stage at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California. The cast consisted of over one hundred girls. Each of André 3000's parts was shot several times from different angles, and he performed the song 23 times during the course of filming.[33] Because releasing "Hey Ya!" as a single was a last minute decision, André did not have time to choreograph the parts, and all of the dancing was improvised.[5] Ice Cold 3000's sequences were the first filmed, resulting in the character's energetic performance, and Johnny Vulture's were the last, so André, exhausted from the previous takes, sat on a stool for those sequences.[33]

The music video proved to be a success. The video debuted on MTV's Total Request Live on September 5, 2003 at number ten.[35] It topped the countdown for nineteen days[36] and retired at number eight on November 24, having spent fifty days on the program.[37] At the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, the video won four awards for Video of the Year, Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Special Effects, and Best Art Direction. It was also nominated for Best Direction but lost to Jay-Z's "99 Problems".[38] "Hey Ya!" was nominated for Best Short Form Music Video at the 46th Grammy Awards, but it lost to Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt".[24] In Canada, the video topped MuchMusic's Countdown for four weeks,[39] and it won the award for Best International Group at the 2004 MuchMusic Video Awards.[40] In 2006, Stylus Magazine listed it at number seventy-two on its "Top 100 Music Videos of All Time", comparing André 3000's dancing to James Brown's performances in the early 1970s.[41]

Cover versions

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The rock influences of "Hey Ya!" have allowed many other artists to release cover versions of the song. One of the first covers of the song was by indie rock band Razorlight, who performed the song with the London Community Gospel Choir for a BBC Radio 1 session, later releasing their version as a B-side for their single "Vice". In a similar vein, Will Young, also on the station, recorded a slower piano version of the song, which became the B-side for his single "Friday's Child". Young's version also appears on the compilation album Radio 1's Live Lounge. Richard Cheese and Lounge Against the Machine recorded a lounge version of the song for their 2004 album I'd Like a Virgin. Country band The BossHoss, Latin pop singer JD Natasha, punk rock band Pennywise, Indie pop band Tilly and the Wall, and rock and roll band The Supersuckers have also recorded cover versions.

In 2006, Mat Weddle, frontman of the unsigned folk band Obadiah Parker, performed an acoustic cover of the song at a local open mike night, and a friend of his posted a video of the performance on YouTube.[43] The video gained popularity on the Internet, soon becoming a viral video, and was viewed by over one million people.[44] Inspired by slowcore band Red House Painters, Weddle's version moves at a much slower tempo backed by a rhythmic guitar strum and converts the breakdown into a "staccato chime".[42] The cover received international airplay and spawned many other copycat acoustic versions.[45]

Formats and track listings

American 7" vinyl single
  1. "Hey Ya!" (radio edit)
  2. "Hey Ya!" (instrumental)
Australian CD single
  1. "Hey Ya!"
  2. "Ghetto Musick" (radio edit)
  3. "Ghetto Musick" (Benny Benassi remix)
German CD maxi single
  1. "Hey Ya!"
  2. "Ghetto Musick" (radio edit)
  3. "Ghetto Musick" (Benny Benassi remix)
  4. "Hey Ya!" (video)
UK 12" vinyl single
  1. "Hey Ya!" (radio edit)
  2. "Ghetto Musick"
  3. "My Favourite Things"
UK CD single
  1. "Hey Ya!" (radio edit)
  2. "Ghetto Musick" (radio edit)
UK CD maxi single
  1. "Hey Ya!" (radio edit)
  2. "Ghetto Musick" (radio edit)
  3. "My Favourite Things"
  4. "Hey Ya!" (video)


  • Assistant recording engineers: Josh Monroy, Warren Bletcher, Rabeka Tunei
  • Audio programmer: André 3000
  • Audio mixer: Kevin Davis
  • Assistant audio mixer: Sean Tallman


Chart (2003)[21] Peak
Finnish Singles Chart 7
New Zealand Singles Chart 2
Norwegian Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
Chart (2004) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 1
Austrian Singles Chart 4
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 22
French Singles Chart 7
German Singles Chart 6
Chart (2004)[21][22][23] Peak
Irish Singles Chart 2
Swedish Singles Chart 1
Swiss Singles Chart 9
UK Singles Chart 3
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 9
U.S. Billboard Latin Pop Airplay 34
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 16


  1. ^ Hot 100 Decade Songs
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Moss, Corey. "Road To The Grammys: The Making Of Outkast's 'Hey Ya!'". MTV News. February 2, 2004. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c "Hey Ya!". Rolling Stone. December 9, 2004. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c Sheet music for "Hey Ya!" Hal Leonard Corporation. 2003.
  5. ^ a b Ives, Brian and Bottomley, C. "OutKast: Two is the Magic Number". MTV News. November 7, 2003. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  6. ^ Vernon, Polly. "'I'm addicted to creating'". The Observer. September 18, 2005. Retrieved from Guardian Unlimited June 4, 2007.
  7. ^ "Don't Shake It Like a Polaroid Picture". Fox News. February 18, 2004. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  8. ^ Fuchs, Cynthia. "OutKast: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below". PopMatters. October 17, 2003. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  9. ^ Hermes, Will. "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003)". Entertainment Weekly September 11, 2003. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  10. ^ Southall, Nick. "Outkast - Speakerboxxx / The Love Below - Review". Stylus Magazine. September 23, 2003. Retrieved June 3, 2003.
  11. ^ "Pazz & Jop 2003". The Village Voice. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  12. ^ a b "The 500 Greatest Songs Since You Were Born: 11-50". Blender. October 2005. Retrieved June 7, 2007.
  13. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent. "Outkast: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below". Pitchfork Media. September 23, 2003. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  14. ^ "The Top 100 Singles of 2000-04, Part Two". Pitchfork Media. January 31, 2005. Retrieved September 9, 2007.
  15. ^ "Outkast : Speakerboxxx/The Love Below". Blender. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  16. ^ Caramanica, Jon. "Outkast: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone, issue 933. September 24, 2003. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  17. ^ Brown, Ethan. "Dynamic Duo". New York. October 26, 2003. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  18. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  19. ^ "OutKast : Hey Ya". NME. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  20. ^ Hermes, Will; Hoard, Christian; Rosen, Jody; Sheffield, Rob (December 24, 2009), "50 Best Songs of the Decade". Rolling Stone. (1094/1095):59-62
  21. ^ a b c d e f g "Outkast - Hey Ya!: Charts". Music Square. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  22. ^ a b c "Outkast". Rock on the Net. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  23. ^ a b c "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  24. ^ a b "46th Grammy Awards - 2004". Rock on the Net. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  25. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2004 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  26. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 2003". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  27. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Top 100 Singles 2004". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  28. ^ "ARIA Charts - End Of Year Charts - Urban Singles 2004". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  29. ^ "Polaroid warns buyers not to 'shake it'". Reuters. February 18, 2004. Retrieved from CNN June 3, 2007.
  30. ^ Sanders, Holly M. "Industry Riddles Bind Ad Clan". New York Post. September 24, 2006. Retrieved June 14, 2007.
  31. ^ Leonard, Devin. "Why The Scooters Have Polka Dots Target and others embrace stunts to cut through the clutter." Fortune. June 28, 2004. Retrieved June 14, 2007.
  32. ^ Walker, Andrea K. "Hip-hop, Polaroid form unlikely commercial deal". The Baltimore Sun. 2004. Retrieved from The Seattle Times June 14, 2007.
  33. ^ a b c d Kaufman, Gil. "Outkast's 'Hey Ya!' Clip Ran Andre 3000 Into The Ground: VMA Lens Recap". MTV News. September 19, 2003. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  34. ^ Moss, Corey. "Outkast's Big Boi Shoots 'Artsy Fartsy' Clip With Magical Hottie Mechanics". MTV News. August 6, 2003. Retrieved June 4, 2007.
  35. ^ "The TRL Archive - Debuts". Popfusion. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  36. ^ "The TRL Archive - Number Ones". Popfusion. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  37. ^ "The TRL Archive - Hall of Fame". Popfusion. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  38. ^ "2004 MTV Video Music Awards". Rock on the Net. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  39. ^ "MuchMusic Countdown". MuchMusic. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  40. ^ "MMVA 04". MuchMusic. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  41. ^ "Top 100 Music Videos of All Time". Stylus Magazine. July 18, 2006. Retrieved June 21, 2007.
  42. ^ a b Craven, Scott. "Acoustic 'Hey'day". The Arizona Republic. October 2, 2006.
  43. ^ "Outkast's 'Hey Ya' Goes Acoustic". Spin. August 21, 2006. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  44. ^ Rodgers, Larry. "Acoustic trio Obadiah Parker ready for Tempe fest". The Arizona Republic. March 28, 2007. Retrieved June 3, 2007.
  45. ^ Dominic, Serene. "Obadiah Parker". Phoenix New Times. May 17, 2007. Retrieved June 4, 2007.

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