Swalla

Album: Yet to be titled (2017)
Charted: 6 29
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This Caribbean-driven club banger was released as the first single for Jason Derulo's fourth studio album on February 24, 2017. Derulo first teased the track in an Instagram post back in August 2016.
  • Derulo is at the club and sees a bunch of ladies he wants to taste.

    All you girls in here, if you're feeling thirsty
    Come on take a sip 'cause you know what I'm servin', ooh


    "Swalla" is slang for "swallow."
  • One particular girl has caught DeRulo's attention doing a "Shimmy" - a dance which involves shaking the body in a sexual manner.

    Shimmy shimmy yay, shimmy yay, shimmy ya
    Swalla-la-la


    The lyrics are an interpolation of late Wu-Tang Clan rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard's track "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," which appeared on his 1995 album Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version. That song's two co-writers, ODB and Wu-Tang's RZA, are credited on "Swalla" as well.
  • The song also features a hot verse from Nicki Minaj and some freaky rhymes from Ty Dolla $ign. DeRulo first collaborated with the Queen Barbz back in 2010 for the remix of his single "In My Head."
  • Speaking with Billboard magazine, Derulo said that Nicki and Ty Dolla were the perfect fit for "Swalla." It's one that kind of made sense," he explained. "I never believe in forcing a collaboration. You know, I'm a fan of both of theirs and I thought that they fit the track perfectly. It's one of those ones that'll get you up and doing your thing. I feel like it's gonna stick out on the radio. There's nothing that sounds like it."
  • Producer Ricky Reed supplied the Caribbean-flavored beat. Reed also produced Derulo's previous hit singles "Talk Dirty" and "Wiggle."
  • Fans speculated that Nicki Minaj was throwing some lyrical punches at her rap rival Remy Ma, during her verse.

    I gave these bitches two years, now your time's up
    Bless her heart, she throwing shots but every line sucks


    Nicki Minaj and Remy Ma have been sending each other subliminal jabs since 2007, but things escalated to a new level when Gucci Mane's "Make Love was released on February 24, 2017, the same day Derulo dropped "Swalla." During Minaj's verse on "Make Love," she mocked an unnamed hip-hop rival for calling herself the "Queen of Rap."

    Ma was so convinced the insults on both songs were meant for her, she went straight into the studio to record the diss track "ShETHER," where she spends the entire song annihilating Minaj.

    However Jason Derulo told People in March 2017 that he didn't think the Queen Barbz's rhymes on the song were intended for anyone in particular, especially as they completed the tune months before the beef between the two female MCs hotted up. "You know what, I didn't even know that it was a beef, to be honest," he said. "Nobody at the label knew that she was dissing anybody on the song or any of that."

    "I still don't know that it's a diss towards anybody," Derulo added, "It actually happened a long time ago, man. I think the whole thing came together and the song was done, that was probably five months ago."
  • Co-writer Lunchmoney Lewis told Genius the story of the song:

    "Jason had some ideas about production style stuff. He wanted something a little Caribbean, a little funny, something like cultured production. Ricky put some drum stuff together and Jason came in and we started throwing around the Swalla word. Then I was like 'Swa-la-la-la'. We were just having fun. It was a fun day and we were just laughing. Songs are better like that when everyone's just having fun. We kind of laughed an idea into something.

    The ODB reference ('Shimmy Shimmy Ya') came about because I've got a hip-hop background and Jason and Ricky love hip-hop. Everyone agreed when we started throwing around 'Shimmy shimmy yay, shimmy yay, shimmy ya'. It's a good play on words. Shout out to ODB!"
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