Swish Swish
by Katy Perry (featuring Nicki Minaj)

Album: Witness (2017)
Charted: 19 46
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Songfacts®:

  • This self-empowerment song finds Katy Perry delivering a challenge to a hater:

    Keep calm, honey, I'ma stick around
    For more than a minute, get used to it
    Funny my name keeps comin' outcho mouth
    'Cause I stay winning


    Fans took to Twitter as soon as the diss track was released to speculate if the song was targeting Perry's pop rival Taylor Swift. The "Shake It Off" hitmaker's betrayal anthem "Bad Blood" was widely believed to be aimed at Perry.
  • The song opens with a sweary sample of Fatboy Slim's 2000 club tune "Star 69", which is then repeated several other times over the course of the tune. The vocals on Fatboy's cut is itself a warped sample from DJ Le Roi ft. Roland Clark's deep house number "I Get Deep."
  • This features a verse by Nicki Minaj, in which she alludes to her beef with Remy Ma:

    Pink Ferragamo sliders on deck
    Silly rap beefs just get me more checks.


    This is the first ever collaboration between Perry and Minaj. However, the Californian songstress has also worked with several other superstars from the world of hip-hop, including Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and Migos.
  • The beat is handled by English producer Duke Dumont with help from Promnite and Noah "Mailbox" Passovoy. Dumont's own recording career include the UK chart-toppers "Need U (100%)" and "I Got U."
  • Kart Perry wrote the song with Dumont, Minaj, "Dark Horse" collaborator Sarah Hudson, and Starrah whose other writing credits include Rihanna's "Needed Me."
  • The feud between Perry and Swift is reported to have kicked off in 2012, when Katy started dating Taylor's former squeeze John Mayer. Things were made even worse when three dancers on Taylor's tour left before it was completed to join Katy. The Californian songstress' rival responded by dropping "Bad Blood" in 2014. A few weeks before the release of this song, Entertainment Weekly asked Perry if she was planning a retaliation to Taylor's "Bad Blood."

    "One thing to note is: You can't mistake kindness for weakness and don't come for me. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone," she replied. "But, let me say this: Everything has a reaction or a consequence so don't forget about that, okay, honey. We got to keep it real, honey."
  • During an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, the host asked Perry if the song is "about anyone we know." The Californian star remained tight-lipped.

    "I think it's a great anthem for people whenever someone's trying to hold you down or bully you," she quickly replied. "That's kinda what this record is about. It's just like 360-degree liberation. 'Chained to the Rhythm' was this political liberation. 'Bon Appetit' was this sexual liberation. And now this, 'Swish Swish', represents the liberation from all the negative that doesn't serve you."
  • Perry finally opened up about her beef with Swift during an appearance on Carpool Karaoke on The Late Late Show with James Corden on May 22, 2017:

    "That's true, there is a situation," the singer told Corden. "Honestly, it's really like she started it and it's time for her to finish it."

    "And I tried to talk to her about it and she wouldn't speak to me," she continued rather angrily. "It was a full shutdown and then she writes a song about me and I'm like, 'OK, cool, cool, cool, that's how you want to deal with it? Karma.'"

    "What I wanna say is that I'm ready for that B.S. to be done," Perry added. "Now, there is the law of cause and effect. You do something and there's going to be a reaction. And trust me daddy, there's going to be a reaction. It's all about karma."
  • Perry performed this song when she was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, May 20, 2017. She was joined by a bevy of dancers who turned the stage into a runway. The showstopper was 15-year-old Instagram star Russell Horning, who did some wild dance moves while wearing a backpack. Barz became a social media sensation when Rihanna posted one of his videos in December.
  • The lyric video was directed by Dario Vetere and David Campbell and was shot on a basketball court in Salvador, Brazil in collaboration with dance troupe Fit Dance. The clip features a guest appearance from Brazilian singer Gretchen, who released a string of hits in the '80s, including "Freak Le Boom Boom," "Melô do Piripipi" and "Conga Conga Conga."
  • The basketball-themed video was directed by Dave Meyers, whose other credits include Missy Elliott's "Work It," Janet Jackson's "All For You" and Kendrick Lamar's "HUMBLE." The clip shows a slapstick showdown between The Sheep and The Tigers with Katy "Kobe" Perry as The Tigers' star player. There are appearances from a variety of musicians, actors and comedians, including Glee's Jenna Ushkowitz, Saturday Night Live alum Molly Shannon, Stranger Things' Gaten Materazo, Game of Thrones' Hafthor Julíus "Thor" Bjornsson, model Dexter Mayfield, YouTube comic Christine Sydelko, and of course, Nicki Minaj. NBA legend Bill Walton and NFL announcer Rich Eisen supply the commentary.
  • Perry and Minaj performed this song with the basketball motif to close the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, which Perry hosted.
  • Speaking with Billboard magazine, Dave Meyers admitted he originally didn't think the song was about Taylor Swift, but somebody else from Perry's past.

    "When I listened to the song, I didn't even know about the Taylor feud," he laughed. "It doesn't seem like it should have that kind of momentum honestly. It seems like that feud is manufactured by the press mostly... Lyrically, you'd have to ask Katy. I really don't know. When I heard the song I had put together it was about Russell [Brand]."

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