"Hey Mama" is a song by French DJ and record producer David Guetta, featuring vocals from Nicki Minaj and Bebe Rexha, as well as production from Dutch DJ and producer Afrojack. The song was released on March 16, 2015 as the fourth single from Guetta's sixth studio album, Listen (2014).
The artists co-wrote the song with Ester Dean, Sean Douglas, and Giorgio Tuinfort; the latter co-produced it with Guetta and Afrojack. The intro and post-chorus features a prominent sample from "Rosie", an Alan Lomaxrecording from the 1940s.
Rexha explained to Billboard why she wasn't initially credited as a featured artist on the track: "We talked about it - I actually emailed Guetta about it. I really wanted to be featured on it, because, you know, I've been signed and dropped, and now signed a second time, so it's been hard. What ended up happening was that it looked like a lot of names on the title, so they wanted to keep as many low features as possible. That's what I was told, and it makes sense to me. I guess more than two [featured] names doesn't look good on the radio. It's tough hearing your voice on the radio, on a chorus, and knowing that people think it's another artist." As of June 2015, Rexha is officially credited in all instances of the song's mention.
Critical reception Edit
"Hey Mama" was well received by the critics, with many praising the discothèque nature of the song. Bianca Gracie of Idolator described it as "a crazed electro-house/trap sound", noting Minaj's "rap flow into a island-tinged romp." It was described by Direct Lyrics as an "intelligently-produced radio-friendly EDM-island sound", whilst Richard Baxter of Popology Now complimented the track's electronic styles, describing Bebe Rexha as the "star" of "Hey Mama" with her "hook heavy chorus".
Several music companies and reviewers chose "Hey Mama" as the highlight of the album, with Billboard describing it as a "bombastic island-flavored jam" and the Associated Press stating Minaj and Afrojack had produced "a startling R&B bump and funk gem." Minaj, in particular, received positive reviews for her vocals, with Newsday calling the track Minaj's "most undeniable hit" since her song "Super Bass", and The Guardian describing Minaj's vocals as a highlight from the album.
The song's lyrics, on the other hand, have been subject to criticism from feminist media, with many of them calling the lyrics sexist. Katie Barnes of Feministing described the song's second verse ("Yes I do the cooking/ Yes I do the cleaning/ Plus I keep the na-na real sweet for your eating/ Yes you be the boss and yes I be respecting / Whatever that you tell me cause it's game you be spitting") as "pretty terrible," stating that, "It doesn’t matter if the verse is accompanied by a bumpin’ beat, the lyrics still present a retro ideal of what a woman should be and how she should treat her man." Katherine Burks of The Lala called the lyrics "horribly misogynistic bullshit." Alex Kritselis of Bustle found the lyrics "seriously groan-inducing," noting that "the whole 'I'll do whatever you want, whenever you want' vibe" made him "more than a little uneasy."
Commercial performance Edit
The song peaked at number eight on the Hot 100, becoming Guetta's sixth top 10 in the US, also making Minaj's 12, Afrojack's second since Pitbull's "Give Me Everything", and Rexha's first as singer but second as writer after the no. 1 Hot 100 hit "The Monster" by Eminem featuring Rihanna. It spent six weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Hey Mama" spent five weeks within the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. The song peaked at 10 and remained there for 4 weeks until it rose and peaked at nine. It peaked at number two in the UK R&B Chart.
Music video Edit
The official video (directed by Hannah Lux Davis) was released on May 19, 2015. The video begins with Guetta walking through a desert with a group of people to find a machine inside the box. Scenes of a holographic Minaj intercut the video while other scenes include other people being shrouded in curtains and dancing while during the chorus, Guetta and the others are seen driving in their vehicles through the desert.. During the chorus and bridge, everyone goes crazy while Minaj raps. The video ends with a video of a couple of sharks swimming around the underwater in the picture and to where the people dive through a neon heart light. The video ends with Guetta standing in the desert. Afrojack also appears in the video.
As of April 2018, the video has received over 1.2 billion views.
Live performances Edit
On May 17, 2015, Guetta and Minaj performed the song for the first on 2015 Billboard Music Awards along with "The Night Is Still Young". On May 30, 2015, Minaj and Rexha also performed the song together for the first time on the iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party 2015 in Las Vegas, joined by Guetta on stage.