This sensual urban tune is a single from R&B singer Kelly Rowland's third album. The song was premiered on the Rap-Up.com
website on March 2, 2011. An electronic remix produced by Diplo was premiered via Rap-Up.com on March 8, 2011.
Florida producer and songwriter Jim Jonsin and Diddy-Dirty Money co-writer Rico Love were the men twiddling the knobs for this song. The duo's other collaborations include Nelly's hit "Just a Dream
." The song finds Rowland promising to be her lover's motivation before her label mate Lil Wayne steps in with a romantic verse offering kitchen and car metaphors.
Rowland told MTV News how she got Weezy on board for this track: "Wayne and I have known each other for a really long time," she said of the collaboration. 'Motivation' came about when I was in the studio with [producers] Jim Jonsin and Rico Love, and we kind of were just vibing. I told Rico I wanted something really sexy... and he came up with 'Motivation' along with Jim.
It turned into this amazing record. I actually rushed Rico out of the studio and I went to a Heat game, and I saw Wayne there."
She continued: "I played it for him and he got on it, and it was just as simple as that."
The track finds Rowland and Wayne trading flirty quips with each other. "'Motivation' makes me feel extremely, über-duber sexy," she told MTV News. "It has that personality and characteristic to it that I don't think anybody can deny. That's why when Wayne dropped that insane verse on there... I was like, 'You really brought that up even more.' He went into the studio and just did it. I don't think it takes much for Wayne to think. He just does it. He's so admirable."
Despite topping the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, this tune has its detractors. Jeff Bhasker, a producer on several of Beyoncé's 4 tracks, tweeted, "How can this kr song with the weakest beat and melody of all time be the #1 song on urban!? Oh yeah. Wayne."
Bhasker continued to bash Beyoncé's former Destiny's Child colleague, "I just listened to Motivation again to see if I was to harsh in my critique. I wasn't. The lyrics are horrid as well."
Rico Love told MTV's Mixtape Daily that the origins of the song lay in a New York meeting between him, Rowland and the singer's label boss, Sylvia Rhone. He explained. "They just were saying, 'We need to find that single; we need that big single.' Everybody was asking for an uptempo, actually.
I flew down to Miami the next day, and that Tuesday, we got back in the studio, and Jim started playing these chords, and then coming up with these little sounds — the signature sounds that Jim comes up with. I just told him to lay it like a skeleton idea, and I jumped in the booth, and I started with the verse, and I kind of sang my way all the way through the record."
Rowland was in the studio while Rico was laying down the reference track and showed her enthusiasm for it immediately. "Kelly was there and watched the whole process," Rico recalled. "As soon as I finished singing the demo, usually an artist wants to live with it or listen to it for a little while. She just said, 'I want to cut it right now.' So she jumped in the booth, and we cut the record."
Rowland previously worked with Lil Wayne back in 2004 when Weezy collaborated with Destiny's Child on their single "Soldier
The song has proved popular in strip clubs. The Boombox
asked Rowland if she was concerned about the suggestive nature of the song? She replied: "[Laughs] Well, for me, being in Destiny's Child, we were very much about female empowerment. And that was because other women had come before us and empowered us in different ways. So I felt like I was in a place where I was coming into my own sensuality. There's nothing wrong with that. Sensuality is a very empowering place as well. It makes you feel strong sexually."
Rico Love told Billboard magazine this was one of his favorite melodies he ever wrote as, "it was so challenging." He added: "A lot of people caught it right away and some didn't. it ended up being #1 for eight weeks (on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs). I was excited to be able to cross those lines sonically that wasn't so obvious but was more in a subtle way."