Doo Wop (That Thing)
|"Doo Wop (That Thing)"|
|Single by Lauryn Hill|
|from the album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill|
|Released||October 27, 1998|
|Studio||Chung King Studios, New York City; Marley Music, Inc., Kingston|
|Lauryn Hill singles chronology|
"Doo Wop (That Thing)" is the debut solo single from American recording artist Lauryn Hill. The song is taken from her debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Written and produced by Hill, the song was released as the album's lead single in August 1998 (radio only) and was officially released for sale in October 1998.
It was Hill's first and only US Billboard Hot 100 number-one to date, "Doo Wop (That Thing)" became the first single by a female artist since Debbie Gibson’s 1988 single "Foolish Beat", to reach number one in the US, that was written, produced and recorded by one sole woman; it debuted at number one on the Hot 100, making it the tenth song in the chart's history to do so, the first debut single to do so, and the first by a rapper to do so. The song experienced similar success abroad, reaching number one in Iceland, number two in Canada, number three in the United Kingdom and number eight in Australia. The song won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song at the 1999 Grammy Awards on February 24, 1999. The song’s accompanying music video became the first hip hop video to win the MTV Video Music Award for Video of the Year.
The song is a warning from Hill to African-American men and women caught in "the struggle". Both the women who "[try to] be a hard rock when they really are a gem", and the men who are "more concerned with his rims, and his Timbs, than women", are admonished by Hill, who warns them not to allow "that thing" to ruin their lives. The chorus seems to promote egalitarianism between the sexes, but the overall message of the lyrics has been described as conservative.
In terms of production value, Hill borrows heavily from elements of soul music and doo-wop, lending credence to the song's title. One such example is the opening riff of late 1960s soul hit "Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S.)" by Edwin Starr which Hill uses certain distinct elements of, as can be heard in the opening of this song.
Release and reception
"Doo Wop", released in 1998 as her first solo song from her debut album, was a major success. It became the 10th single to debut at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, and the first by a female rap artist. It stayed there for two weeks in the fall of 1998. On Billboard's R&B Singles chart, it reached #2 for three weeks in November 1998, held out of the top spot by "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" by Deborah Cox. It won two Grammy Awards the following February. The success of "Doo Wop" and the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album established Hill as a success outside of her group, The Fugees. In 1999, "Doo Wop (That Thing)" was ranked at number two to find the best music of 1998 on The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop annual critics' poll, after Fatboy Slim's "The Rockafeller Skank".
Awards and recognition
At the 41st Annual Grammy Awards, "Doo Wop (That Thing)" won two awards: Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. The song's music video won four 1999 MTV Video Music Awards for: Best Female Video, Best R&B Video, Best Art Direction, and Video of the Year.
The song is included as number 359 on the Songs of the Century list. The BBC ranked the song as the 21st greatest hip hop song of all time, being one of the two only songs by female artist to make the list.
The song's music video was Directed by Monty Whitebloom & Andy Delaney, Bigtv, and filmed in Manhattan's Washington Heights in New York City, with the video showing two Hills singing side by side at a block party. On the left side of the split screen, the 1967 Hill dressed in full retro-styled attire, complete with a beehive and a zebra-printed dress, she pays homage to classic R&B and doo wop, and on the right side of the screen, the 1998 Hill is shown in a homage to hip hop culture. Slant Magazine's Paul Schrodt praised the "Doo Wop (That Thing)" music video, stating "The resulting split-screen music video is the most flabbergasting testament to what the neo soul movement is all about."
|Australia (ARIA)||2× Platinum||140,000|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||600,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Gold||500,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Cover versions and samples
Kanye West's protégée Teyana Taylor, signed in 2012 to his G.O.O.D. Music label, released a mixtape in early 2012 called The Misunderstanding of Teyana Taylor, which draws particular influence from much of Hill's work. One of the tracks, "Lauryn's Interlude", features Taylor performing a shortened, a capella performance of Hill's classic song.
The American avant-garde band Mr. Bungle often performed an excerpt of the song as an outro for their song "Travolta (Quote Unquote)" while simultaneously playing Hemanta Mukherjee's "Ei Raat Tomar Amar" during live shows in the late 1990s.
Amy Winehouse also incorporated the song into her own "He Can Only Hold Her" at live concerts in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Phemza The Kween recorded the cover of the song.
In July 2014, French producer MKL released a remix of "Doo Wop".
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- Taylor, Teyana. "Teyana Taylor The Misunderstanding of Teyana Taylor". datpiff.com. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
- MKL. "Doo Wop (MKL Remix)". hypetrak.com. Retrieved July 18, 2014.