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"I'm on a Boat" is a single from The Lonely Island's debut album Incredibad, which was also featured as a Saturday Night Live Digital Short. The song features R&B singer T-Pain. The song, produced by Wyshmaster, is a parody of many rap video cliches. The music video reached number one on YouTube in February 2009 and was number one on the U.S. iTunes music video chart. The song was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 52nd Grammy Awards. The Lonely Island has also performed the song live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with The Roots filling in for T-Pain. The song is now confirmed to have gone platinum.
Music and lyrics
The song features an aggressive delivery of the lyrics which are peppered with strong profanity throughout while making simple proclamations, ranging from the inane ("This boat engine make noise") to the mundane ("I've got a nautical-themed pashmina afghan") to the insane ("I'm gonna fly this boat to the moon somehow"). Schaffer at one time claims to be riding a wild dolphin, and doing flips, and at another time to be "climbing buoys." T-Pain says he "fucked a mermaid."
The song makes allusions to various events, people and other elements from pop culture. It quotes Kevin Garnett as saying "Anything is possible!" — an exclamation he made after the 2008 NBA Finals. Samberg visually and lyrically references Leonardo DiCaprio's scene in the 1997 film Titanic, where on the bow of the ship, DiCaprio's character shouts, "I'm the king of the world." Samberg is shown holding a press conference with a blue "I'm on a Boat" banner in the background while wearing a flight suit, a sight gag reminiscent of President George W. Bush's 2003 "Mission Accomplished" press conference. Rapper E-40 (who appears elsewhere on the album) often mentions liquors in his rap, which corresponds to the mention of Santana champagne (the actual topic of E-40's featured appearance).
The video opens with Andy Samberg — who is sitting at the kitchen table with bandmates Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone — pouring cereal into a bowl. To his delight, a coupon for a free boat ride for three falls out of the box. After pondering who will go with him, Samberg picks Schaffer but skips over Taccone in favor of the previously unseen R&B singer T-Pain, who has apparently been sitting at the table directly across from the others, barely off camera, the entire time.
The three men are next seen atop the yacht Never Say Never in Biscayne Bay, Florida, dressed in tuxedos as Samberg announces that they are about to set sail on a boat. The video frequently shows flashes of the left-out Taccone at comparatively mundane places, like "at Kinko's straight flippin' copies" or lifting a parking ticket from his car. The rap portion of the video places the three throughout the boat and in varying attire, including full tuxedos, a flight suit, traditional sailor costumes, white naval uniforms and typical casual and formal resort wear.
Giving the song four stars, Rolling Stone said it is "one of the strongest Saturday Night Live hip-hop hits since Eddie Murphy was funny." Stereogum called the tune "a 2:42 masterclass in stunting." The A.V. Club said the song "holds up well on physical media." As of January 11, 2010, the video has been viewed more than 40.7 million times and was featured by Entertainment Weekly, Stereogum, and G4's Attack of the Show.
In December 2009, "I'm on a Boat" received a nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 52nd Grammy Awards, a category held for a [rhymed]/sung collaborative performance by artists who do not normally perform together, losing to Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Rihanna's song "Run This Town".
- ^ Leo, Alex (05/11/09 03:28 PM). "I'm On A Boat: SNL Digital Short (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/08/im-on-a-boat-snl-digital_n_164968.html. Retrieved 27 May 2009.
- ^ http://music-mix.ew.com/2009/12/02/grammy-nomination-surprises/
- ^ http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?table=SEARCH_RESULTS
- ^ "Video The Lonely Island — Making of I'm On a Boat, Feat. T-Pain van The Lonely Island — MySpace Video". Vids.myspace.com. http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=52493697. Retrieved 15 September 2009.
- ^ Relic, Peter (5 March 2009). "I'm on a Boat". Rolling Stone (1073):76
- ^ amrit (February 4, 2009), "New Lonely Island (Feat. T-Pain) - I'm On A Boat". Stereogum.com . Retrieved 23 March 2009.
- ^ Singer, Brett (February 24, 2009), "Incredibad". AVClub.com . Retrieved 24 March 2009.
- ^ Simon Vozick-Levinson (June 11, 2009), "'I'm on a Boat' a cappella: Funnier than the original?". Entertainment Weekly. . Retrieved 27 August 2009.
- ^ Gabe Delahaye (June 10, 2009), "Nice Try, Nerds". Videogum. . Retrieved 27 August 2009.
- ^ ""The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards Nominees List"". http://www.grammy.com/grammy_awards/52nd_show/list.aspx#07. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
- ^ a b "The Lonely Island Album & Song Chart History". http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100#/artist/the-lonely-island/chart-history/1057860. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
- ^ "RIANZ". RIANZ. http://www.rianz.org.nz/rianz/chart.asp. Retrieved 15 September 2009.