"Hey Young World" was the second single released from Slick Rick's debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick. It was released in 1989 as the follow-up to Slick Rick's popular "Children's Story" and was both written and produced by Slick Rick himself. "Hey Young World" did not reach the same level of success as "Children's Story", reaching number 42 on the Hot Black Singles chart and number 17 on the Hot Rap Singles chart. The B-side contained the popular song, "Mona Lisa".
The song was referenced in Keri Hilson's song "Knock You Down" by guest rapper Kanye West and also in "Pray" by Jay-Z. A sequel of sorts was created by Macy Gray for her album The Id in form of "Hey Young World (Part 2)." It was sampled by TLC for their single "Creep". The song was also covered instrumentally by jazz trumpeter Wallace Roney on his album Mystikal (2005).