Pon De Replay

Album: Music Of The Sun (2005)
Charted: 2 2
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Songfacts®:

  • Rihanna is from Barbados, and accordingly, this song is heavy on Caribbean dance rhythms. The song takes place in a dance club; "pon de replay" translates to "play it again" in the local Barbados dialect Bajan. Rihanna sings about wanting more of her favorite song when she's on the dance floor, and she wants it louder.
  • "Pon De Replay" was Rihanna's first single. It was included on the demo tape that got Rihanna an audition with Jay-Z's record label, Def Jam. At that audition, Jay was so impressed, he signed her on the spot.

    Rihanna was discovered in 2003 by an American record producer/songwriter named Evan Rogers, who spotted the 15-year-old singer on a trip to Barbados, where his wife is from. Rogers' wife had a friend whose daughter was in a girl group there, so Evan agreed to audition them. One of the girls in the group was Rihanna (known as Robyn Fenty), who impressed Rogers when she sang Beyoncé's "Dangerously in Love." Rogers arranged for Rihanna and her mom to come to America, where they made the demo tape that got the attention of Def Jam. She signed with Rogers' production company and moved in with Rogers and his wife at their home in Connecticut.

    Rogers and his partner, Carl Sturken, had the experience and connections to develop Rihanna and get her into an office with Jay-Z. They had been writing and producing hits since the '80s - Donny Osmond's "Soldier Of Love," 'N Sync's "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You," and Karyn White's "Facts Of Love" are among their credits. Rogers released two solo albums in the '80s, and in the '90s, the pair led a group called Rythm Syndicate, which had a hit with "P.A.S.S.I.O.N." They formed a bond with Rihanna and ended up writing and producing most of the tracks on her first album. They also delivered her 2007 hit "Shut Up And Drive."
  • The song started out as a dancehall track the songwriter-producer Vada Nobles wrote for a Jamaican artist named Malica. He ended up submitting the track for a different artist, and it was forwarded to the songwriter Alisha "M'Jestie" Brooks to work on. She put together the lyrics and vocal melody, then Nobles presented the song to Sturken and Rogers, who made some tweaks and had Rihanna record it. Brooks, Nobles, Sturken and Rogers share the songwriting credits on the track.
  • A lyrical influence on this song was the 1993 track "Hey Mr. D.J." by Zhané, where the girls tell the DJ to play their favorite song all night long.
  • The song's co-writer M'Jestie Brooks drew inspiration from the scene in the 1988 movie Beetlejuice where they sing Harry Belafonte's "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)."

    "I used to rewind it all the time because it was so dope," she told Vulture. "That song came into my head when I heard the track after a few hours of sitting there with the beat just repeating over and over again."
  • Jay-Z personally introduced the then-unknown Rihanna and this Caribbean-inspired jam to personnel of Clear Channel, the largest radio station group owner in the United States. On hearing it, one of the staff physically drove the single to Z100's studio in New York City to break the song.
  • Rihanna initially didn't like this tune. "When I first heard that song, I didn't want to do it, because it was very sing-songy and very - whatever. Nursery-rhymish," she told Artist Direct. "But after I started recording it, I went along with it and started liking it."
  • This song hit #1 in New Zealand and Portugal. In the US it was held back from the #1 spot by Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together."
  • When he presented her with the MTV Video Vanguard Award at the 2016 VMAs, Drake revealed that her first met her during the video shoot for this song, and that "she's someone I've been in love with since I was 22 years old."

    The video was shot in Toronto at a restaurant called Avocado. "I was introduced to her as a kid who played background music at the restaurant as people ate their dinner," the rapper said. "It's hard to believe that 11 years later all three of us would come together for a visual for a song called 'Work.'"

    Both the "Work" and "Pon De Replay" videos were directed by Director X (Julien Lutz), who at the time was using the moniker Little X.
  • This song is a regular on dance competition shows (Dancing With The Stars, So You Think You Can Dance) and in dance video games (Dance Central, Just Dance 2). It was also used in the 2005 Entourage episode "The Bat Mitzvah."

Comments: 4

  • Jessie from Dallas, Txit's an awesome song =)
  • Kian from Toledo City, Philippinesit makes me wanna groove!!!
  • Aggie from Suva, Otheri liked this song =)
  • Dylan from Port Orange, Fl"People who like this song also like 'Stairway To Heaven'"

    That's an odd combination!
see more comments

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