The extra "R" in "Herre" is there to indicate that it is really hot. Definitely hotter than just one "R." It's also a written expression of the St. Louis accent, where Nelly is from. Christina Aguilera did the same thing on her song, "Dirrty
," which needed the extra "R" because it was really dirty. Another rap hit from the time, "Right Thurr" by Chingy (also from St. Louis), used the extra R as well.
This was produced by The Neptunes, who are the team of Chad Hugo and Pharrell Williams. In addition to their own group N.E.R.D, they produced for Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and many others, specializing in high-energy hip-hop beats. Nelly makes reference the producers in the line, "Nelly took a trip from the Luna to Neptunes."
The groove is based on "Bustin' Loose
," a huge go-go hit for Chuck Brown & The Soul Searchers released in 1978. Nelly's line "I feel like bustin' loose" also comes from that track.
In the summer of 2002, this was a huge hit. Listening to it didn't require a lot of thought, and Nelly had already established himself as a rapper focused on enjoying life. These kind of songs tend to do well in the summer, like "Summertime
" by D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (summer of '91) and "Livin' La Vida Loca
" by Ricky Martin (summer of '99)
This won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rap Solo Performance in 2003. Nelly performed part of the song at the ceremony, and was then joined on stage by Kelly Rowland so they could sing "Dilemma
," their duet that took the award for Best Rap/Sung Performance. Nellyville
was nominated for Album of the Year, but lost to Come Away With Me
by Norah Jones.
Nelly's Grammy performance of this song was in questionable taste, as the stage was designed to look like it was engulfed in flames while Nelly was performing. A few days earlier, nearly 100 people died when pyrotechnics at a Great White concert in Rhode Island set a small club on fire, something that wasn't even mentioned on the show.
Nelly performed this at halftime of the 2004 Super Bowl, which is where Janet Jackson caused an uproar by exposing a breast.
Nelly recalled recording the song in a 2010 interview with XXL magazine: "I did that in L.A… I remember 'cause Busta was in the same studio and he came through and he heard the beat and you know how Busta is, you know he's over the top. He's life, 'Yo, god! What is that sound?!!?!? [Laughs] What is that sound coming from here, god? Oh my, god! Pharrell, where was that beat at? Where was that? You were hiding that from me!' It was a little unorthodox for the time definitely coming out from 'Country Grammar' …to a Pharrell [beat], that 'Hot in Herre' sound. But, it worked and it helped me too 'cause it helped me show versatility, not just having to do one angle on some s--t."
Weird Al Yankovic recorded a parody of this called "Trash Day," about a guy who refuses to take out the trash and then describes it.
Steph - SoCal, CA
San Francisco's Latino Mix 105.7 played this for 18 hours straight on a continuous loop starting at 3 p.m. (PDT) on March 14, 2014. It was reportedly an act of stunting to promote the radio station's branding change to "Hot 105.7."
The song featured in ads
aired during the summer of 2016 for Bud Light's Lime-a-Rita line.
Nelly got some heat from the IRS in 2016 when the agency hit him with a tax lien of $2,412,283. Fans responded by throwing an online streaming party for this song, hashtag #HotInHerreStreamingParty, to help out with his tax burden. Unfortunately, royalties from streaming services are in the $0.006 range, meaning it would take about 400 million steams to erase his debt.