Like many club bangers, this one is set in a club, where Usher spending some time with his homies. He had a girlfriend, but she's not there, and a girl in the club steps in to seduce him. Throughout the song, he's trying to decide just how far to let this go. Every time he tries to take the moral high ground and behave himself, he's overruled by a much louder voice that says "yeah!"
We're not sure how the night ends, but we know they get hot and heavy on the dancefloor. Usher may have some confessions for later.
This was produced by Lil Jon, who also added the "yeah!" vocals. Most of his productions, including this one, feature a crunk sound with lots of heavy beats.
Thanks to Dave Chappelle, that "yeah!" became forever linked to Lil Jon. In various Chappelle's Show bits, Dave portrays the producer all blinged-out, having conversations where he'll inevitably yell out, "yeah!"
Ludacris did the rap. The Atlanta rapper was piping hot at this time, with a number of solo hits and also a spate of successful features. He also appeared on Missy Elliott's "Gossip Folks" and Chingy's "Holidae In."
"Yeah!" went to #1 in the US on February 28, 2004 and stayed there until May 22 (12 weeks), when it was replaced by his next single, "Burn
," which held the top spot another eight weeks. This was the first time a song with a four-letter title replaced another at #1.
This was used in the 2005 movie Hitch when Will Smith tries to teach Kevin James how to dance. It also appears in The Interview (2014), Joyful Noise (2012) and The Hangover (2009).
Sean Garrett, who is a songwriter and producer who has had a hand in many hit songs, including Chris Brown's "Run It," Destiny's Child's "Soldier" and Ciara's "Goodies," helped write the lyrics and turning the song into a story. Garrett works for L.A. Reid's publishing company, which is how he ended up on this. Says Garrett: "I knew that Usher was almost finished with his album. L.A. Reid called me and said, 'We need a first single.' We spoke a little bit about it, and I went to the studio. Since all the other songs on the album were very hot and R&B-ish, I wanted to give him something out-of-the-box that was more creative and dynamic. So we went in and cut a demo and took it to L.A., and we sat and talked about it for quite a while. He thought it was very interesting, but he asked me a lot of questions in reference to how it worked for Usher and said he wanted a change or two. So I went in, and the rest is history - and the beginning of this beautiful run."
This hit #1 in the US before the album was even released. Confessions
sold over a million copies the first week it was released, and at one point three singles from the album were in the top 10. Usher became only the third artist, after The Beatles and Bee Gees, to do this.
Bertrand - Paris, France
This song almost didn't make the Confessions album. Usher explained to MTV News that once he and Lil Jon "finished the record, we did a little research on the record only to find out that 'Freek-A-Leek' by Petey Pablo had the same beat. At times I wonder if it would have made a difference if the beat was never changed. Nobody knew it was going to be that huge of a record."
Director X transformed an empty Los Angeles art gallery into a nightclub for the music video, which features cameos from rappers Lil Jon and Ludacris, dancer Destiny Lightsy, and Canadian model Melyssa Ford. Hundreds of rotating blue and green lasers accompany Usher on the dance floor, an idea X had from the first moment he heard the song: "I just felt real strongly about the laser beams when I heard it," he told MTV.
The budget didn't provide much in the way of food for the dancers. So how did they sustain themselves into the wee hours of the morning? Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a side of CRUNK!!!, an energy drink created by Lil Jon.
According to an Amazon commercial that aired during the 2020 Super Bowl, this is Ellen DeGeneres' favorite song. In the spot, Ellen and her partner, Portia De Rossi, wonder what people did before Alexa. We go back in time to see real people charged with tasks like "tell me a joke" and "lower the temperature one degree" before returning to present day, where Ellen asks Alexa to play her favorite song. The digital assistant complies by playing "Yeah!"