Meaning of Hey Ya! by OutKast & The Story Behind

Flattering comparisons with The Beatles, a Grammy award, four MTV awards for the music video, top positions in the leading charts in several countries, the first track with a million paid downloads on iTunes, places in the most authoritative ratings of the best songs of all time – these are the impressive achievements of Hey Ya! American rap duo OutKast. Recall that it includes Andre Benjamin (Andre Benjamin) and Antwan Patton (Antwan Patton), better known under the stage names Andre 3000 and Big Boi.

The story of the creation of the song Hey Ya!

Andre 3000 composed the track in 1999 and was even going to include it on Stankonia (2000), but the recording had to be postponed. The song had several working titles, including Thank God for Mom and Dad (“Thank God for mom and dad”).

André Benjamin is often asked if Hey Ya! some girl? The author denies that the composition is related to his personal experience:

This is not an autobiographical song. Rather, they are fantasies or tangents based on real life. When I write, episodes from my life evoke thoughts. The story takes place in the fifties, so the song is an attempt to do a Woody Allen thing, a humorous kind of honesty.

The meaning of Hey Ya! by OutKast

Andre described the main idea of ​​the song as follows:

Hey Ya! largely about the state of relations in the 2000s. It’s about people who stay together, keeping relationships because of tradition, because someone told them, “You guys should be together.” But often you suffer because of this for the rest of your life.

So Hey Ya! is really about saying, “Get the hell out of here! You know, just live.”

It seems to me that it is more important to be happy than to conform to the world’s ideas about what a relationship should be. So it’s a celebration of how men and women treat each other in the 2000s.


Recording and release

Andre recorded the first takes in December 2002 at Stankonia Studios (Atlanta). Inspired by the music of the Ramones, The Smiths, The Hives and The Buzzcocks, he accompanied himself on acoustic guitar.

On the first day, the introduction, the first verse and the loss were ready. Andre also began working on vocals. A couple of days later he returned to the track, inviting session musician Kevin Kendricks (Kevin Kendricks), who played bass on the synthesizer.

A few months later Andre 3000 and Pete Novak recorded the final version of the track at Larrabee Sound Studios in Los Angeles. Andre improvised with the lyrics, while Pete experimented with sound effects.

Novak recalls:

There were many versions of the song. If I saved the files, I could give you twenty options to listen to. There were a lot of interesting ideas in them, but I’m glad that everything turned out that way. In one of the verses, he sang through a vocoder. It was cool back then, but it didn’t work.


The composition was included in the album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Single Hey Ya! released September 23, 2003. It topped several Billboard charts, including the Hot 100, and rose to the top of the charts in Australia, Sweden, Canada, and Norway. The track peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart, but peaked at number one on the UK Rhythm & Blues Chart.

Hey Ya! was awarded a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. It is included in several well-known top track rankings, including the Rolling Stone and NME lists of the five hundred greatest songs of all time.

Video Hey Ya! by OutKast

The music video was directed by Bryan Barber. The director was inspired by The Beatles’ famous performance at The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964.

The clip parodies the “British Invasion” of the Beatles. According to the plot, the American band Love Below conquers Foggy Albion, performing on a TV show in the UK. All the musicians of the fictional band were played by Andre Benjamin.

Andre 3000 spoke about filming the video:

We contacted Woody Allen to star in the music video for Hey Ya!, but the schedule didn’t let him. We also used Ralph Lauren, because in the video I created clothes that make you look like a polo player, and he popularized this style.

Let’s watch the video clip of Hey Ya! – Outcast.

At the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards, the video won four awards: Video of the Year, Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Special Effects, and Best Director.

Hey Ya! and Polaroid by OutKast

Many lines from the lyrics of the song went to the people, and the phrase “shake it like a Polaroid picture” became the most popular. If you remember, many owners of Polaroid cameras waved a picture to speed up development, although this could only spoil the image.

When asked how the idea to mention the “Polaroid” came about, Andre replied:

I have no idea! In rap, when you write words, you write whatever comes to mind. I just had this image… The same thing happened with the line “all the Beyonces and Lucy Lius”. When I wrote, there was her video.

Polaroid decided to use the success of the song to revive interest in their products, which were losing popularity in the era of digital photography. She made a deal with OutKast and launched an extensive advertising campaign featuring the group.

The exact figures were not disclosed, but it is known that sales of Polaroid cameras have increased significantly.

Cover versions

Several musicians performed Hey Ya! The video with the acoustic version of Matt Waddle (Matt Waddle) became viral.

Interesting Facts

  • The voices of the girls answering Andre belong to one woman, the assistant sound engineer Rabeka Tuinei.
  • In the casting for the music video Hey Ya! More than a hundred women took part.
  • In the first year of iTunes, Hey Ya! became the most popular track among users. She was the first to break the barrier of one million paid downloads.

Hey Ya! Lyrics by OutKast

One, two, three!
My baby don’t mess around
Because she loves me so
And this I know fo sho!
But does she really wanna
But can’t stand to see me walk out the door
Don’t try to fight the feeling
Because the thought alone is killin’ me right now
Thank God for Mom and Dad
For sticking together
‘Cause we don’t know how

Hey ya! Hey ya! x4

You think you’ve got it
Oh, you think you’ve got it
But “got it” just don’t get it
Till’ there’s nothing at all
We’ve been together
Oh, we’ve been together
But separate’s always better
When there’s feelings involved
If what they say is “Nothing is forever”
Then what makes, then what makes, then what makes
then what makes, then what makes
Love the exception?
So why oh, why oh
why oh, why oh, why oh, why
are we so in denial
When we know we’re not happy here?
Y’all don’t want to hear me
You just want to dance

Hey ya! Hey ya!
Don’t want to meet your daddy
just want you in my caddy
Hey ya! Hey ya!
Don’t want to meet your momma
just want to make you cum
I’m I’m I’m just being honest!
I’m just being honest!

Hey! right now! alright now fellas!
Now, what cooler than being cool?
Ice cold!1
I can’t hear ya! I say what’s, what’s cooler than being cool?
ice cold!
Alright alright alright alright alright
alright alright alright alright alright
alright alright alright alright alright
Okay, now ladies!
Now we gonna break this thang down for just a few seconds,
Now don’t have me break this thang down for nothin’,
I want to see you on your bad behavior!
Land me some sugar, I am your neighbor!
Ah! Here we go now

Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it
Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it
Shake it like a Polaroid picture! Hey ya!
Shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it, shake it
Shake it, shake it, shake it, suga!
Shake it like a Polaroid picture!

Now all the Beyonce’s, and Lucy Liu’s, and baby dolls,
Get on tha floor get on tha floor!
Shake it like a Polaroid picture!
Oh you! oh you!

  • Ice Cold is one of Andre’s stage names
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