This song is driven by a big, saucy chorus supplied by the singer Sleepy Brown and the Hornz Unlimited horn section. Each chorus is just two repetitions of this stanza, with the horns answering after every line:
I like the way you move
I like the way you move
I love the way you move
I love the way, I love the way
This section hits hard following the verses, where Big Boi packs in loads of lyrics over a sultry beat. His sections feature lots of clever wordplay as jumps off on different tangents, offering his thoughts on big girls, skinny girls and the 808s (Roland TR-808 drum machine) pumping bass.
This was produced by Carlton Mahone, also known as Carl-Mo, who had written and produced "My Boo
" by the Ghost Town DJ's. He came up with the beat for "I Like The Way You Move" in 2000, which he presented to Big Boi. A few years went by before Big Boi put it to use, bringing Mahone and Sleepy Brown in to work on it.
According to Mahone, Big Boi was playing the track at a cookout when he and Sleepy Brown came up with the hook. "At a cookout, everything's positive, everything's good," he told IdOMUSIC. "That's why they came up with a hook that had such a good feeling."
This song was part of Outkast's double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, which was really solo albums by the duo, with Big Boi responsible for Speakerboxxx and Andre 3000 for The Love Below. There were rumors that this signalled the end of Outkast, which Big Boi addressed in some of the opening lines of this track:
Outkast is everlastin'
Not clashin', not at all
This was released as a single two weeks after Outkast's "Hey Ya
," which is Andre 3000's song. "Hey Ya" was a monster hit, going to #1 in America for nine weeks, starting on December 13, 2003. "The Way You Move" was also huge, hanging at #2 for the last eight of those nine weeks. On Valentine's Day, 2004, "The Way You Move" finally bumped "Hey Ya" to claim the top spot.
The "Hey Ya" video, directed by Bryan Barber, set a high standard, with Andre 3000 appearing as every member of his band. Big Boi wanted something with a different concept but just as innovative, so he and Barber came up with lots of wild ideas they put into action. The clip starts with Big Boi and Sleepy Brown at a car repair shop run by impossibly beautiful women wearing very little. From there, it goes into a digital ballroom where Fonzworth Bentley drops in, Mary Poppins style, on an umbrella. Bentley was best known as P. Diddy's personal assistant, appearing at various events shading the star with his umbrella. Bentley went to high school with Big Boi, who wanted him in the video.
The scene eventually shifts to the African savanna, then back to the ballroom and auto shop, but no matter the location, it's stocked with beautiful women. "It's got to be flooded with the most beautiful girls you can find," was Big Boi's directive.
Sleepy Brown is best-known for this track, but he has a number of songwriting credits, including En Vogue's "Don't Let Go (Love)
" and TLC's "Waterfalls
." A longtime Outkast associate, he is a co-writer on many of their songs, including "Player's Ball" and "So Fresh, So Clean."
There is lots of 808 on this track, but also plenty of organic instruments. In addition to the horns, there is guitar by Victor Vick (ZaZa) and bass by Debra Killings.
Big Boi and Andre 3000 kept their performances separate when promoting the album, so Andre did "Hey Ya" without Big Boi and Big Boi did "The Way You Move" without Andre. "Hey Ya" was a bigger song, so it was common for "Outkast" to appear without Big Boi to perform it. When Outkast was the musical guest on the November 1, 2003 episode of Saturday Night Live, they split it, with Andre doing "Hey Ya" and Big Boi taking the next musical number with "The Way You Move."
The hook vocals and horns sound a lot like Earth, Wind & Fire, which made many wonder if Outkast used them on this track. In 2004, Earth, Wind & Fire reworked the song with Kenny G, keeping the hook but replacing the verse lyrics with Kenny G's sax and a new set of lyrics by EW&F vocalist Phillip Bailey. This version reached #12 on the Adult Contemporary chart; it appeared on Earth, Wind & Fire's Illumination album and on Kenny G's At Last... The Duets Album.
When this replaced "Hey Ya" to top the Hot 100, it became the first song in history to spend as many as eight weeks in the runner-up position before moving to #1. The previous longest wait was in 1993 when Silk's "Freak Me" spent five weeks at #2 before topping the chart.
In 2019, Billie Eilish's "Bad Guy
" spent nine weeks at the secondary position before climbing to the top spot.
Big Boi performed this song at the 2019 Super Bowl, which was held in his hometown of Atlanta. Maroon 5 was the headliner and Travis Scott also performed, but a number of artists, including Cardi B, turned down invites to play the halftime show in protest of the NFL's treatment of Colin Kaepernick, made headlines by refusing to stand for the National Anthem. Big Boi, who entered in a Cadillac and wore a fur coat, represented classic Atlanta hip-hop, but only got to perform the one song.