The second single from Jason Derulo's Tattoos album finds the singer telling a girl who doesn't speak his language that all he really needs to understand is when she talks dirty to him. "It's just a shocking song," said Derulo. "People will be thinking 'Hmm, really?!' It's very out there, but it was so fun." The tune was premiered on BBC Radio 1xtra on July 22, 2013.
The song includes a contribution by American rapper 2 Chainz, becoming Derulo's first single to contain a feature. "Now feels like the time," he explained to Digital Spy. "I wanted to establish myself first and didn't want to lean on collaborations like some artists tend to do. I've always wanted my songs to stand up on my own, but the features have been really fun this time around."
The song debuted at #1 on the Australian Singles Chart, Derulo's second song to do so in the country after his 2010 release "In My Head." It also reached the top of the charts in several other countries including Germany and the United Kingdom.
"I learned throughout the year to trust my gut and what people around me say," DeRulo reflected to British newspaper Daily Star. "I had a feeling 'Talk Dirty' was the record. As I played it to people, they went nuts for it. You don't have to go into a lab and put this potion here and that potion there to find out what a good song is."
"'Talk Dirty' being my third #1 in the UK was pretty special," he added. "Beforehand there was such a big argument on what the next single should be after 'The Other Side.'"
The music video was directed by Colin Tilley on July 14, 2013. The director previously worked with Derulo on his clips for "It Girl," "Breathing," "Fight For You" and "The Other Side." Tilley said that they intended to embrace a variety of dance from different parts of the world: "We've got girls from different cultures that came and danced and brought out a different energy," he said, "and just created this beast that was really fun and exciting."
The song's production was provided by Ricky Reed, the mastermind behind the act Wallpaper. The bass-heavy instrumentation samples the saxophone riff in a 2007 song titled "Hermetico" by the Israeli band Balkan Beat Box.
It was A&R man Miles Beard who picked up on the "Hermetico" saxophone riff. "Miles heard the song in January and played it for me on his phone in Los Angeles," Ricky Reed recalled to Billboard magazine. "As soon as the saxophone riff came in, I knew it was a hit waiting to happen."
After a video of One Direction dancing along to this song went viral, fans of the boy-band started making their own YouTube clips moving to the tune. Derulo latched onto the sensation, and enlisted other celebrities to appear in a "Celebrities Talkin' Dirty" visual. Released by the singer on March 14, 2014 to his official YouTube account, the short film included cameos by Bow Wow, Flo Rida, Ariana Grande, Enrique Iglesias, Larry King, Austin Mahone, One Direction, Jordin Sparks, Robin Thicke and Will.i.am.
An effective method for branding an artist is having his name mentioned by another voice in the song's intro. That's what Vanilla Ice did in "Ice Ice Baby" ("Yo Vanilla, kick it one time"), and that's what Derulo does here, with an exotic female voice saying "Jason... Jason Derulo" before we hear from him. This takes the guesswork out of knowing who sings the song. Another hit song to do this around the same time is "Dark Horse," which plugs its singers Katy Perry and Juicy J.
This also acted as the title track of Derulo's Talk Dirty album. The collection was sold solely in the United States, after Tattoos was only released as a 5-track EP in the country.
The song is very compact: it runs just 2:57, but gets in three verses, three choruses and a bridge (the "uno... dos..." part). The claps and horns are key elements in the song, making a great transition out of the verses.
DeRulo told Billboard the story of the song: "When I first heard the track, I loved it because it sounded exotic and Eastern," he recalled. "The chorus came to me immediately. I channeled my experience touring the world. You don't need to speak the language to communicate - body language is universal."