Knock You Down

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"Knock You Down"
Single by Keri Hilson featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo
from the album In a Perfect World...
Released April 7, 2009
(see release history)
Format Digital download, CD single
Recorded 2009; Hit Factory Criteria, Circle House Studios
(Miami, Florida)
No Excuses Studio, Threshold Studios
(Santa Monica, California)
Chung King Studios
(New York City, New York)
Genre R&B, hip-hop, electro
Length 5:26 (Album Version)
4:12 (Radio Edit)
Label Interscope, Mosley, Zone 4
Writer(s) Kanye West, Keri Hilson, Kevin Cossom, Marcella Araica, Nate Hills, Shaffer Smith
Producer(s) Danja, Hilson
Keri Hilson chronology
"Turnin Me On"
(2008)
"Knock You Down"
(2009)
"Make Love"
(2009)
Kanye West chronology
"Amazing"
(2009)
"Knock You Down"
(2009)
"Paranoid"
(2009)
Ne-Yo chronology
"Mad"
(2008)
"Knock You Down"
(2009)
"Part of the List"
(2009)

"Knock You Down" is a song by American singer-songwriter Keri Hilson, taken from her debut studio album, In a Perfect World... (2009). The song features guest vocals from American singer-songwriter Ne-Yo and American rapper Kanye West. All three artists co-wrote the song with its producer Nate "Danja" Hills, as well as Kevin Cossom and Marcella "Ms. Lago" Araica. The song is a hip-hop and R&B number, which includes elements of pop music. The song was released first released to rhythmic and urban airplay in the United States as the album's fourth single in the US, and it would later serve as the third worldwide single. The lyrics of the song pertain to how love "knocks you down." Part of the song refers to Michael Jackson; coincidentally it was released at the time surrounding the death of the singer. The song received generally positive to mixed reviews, with critics divided as to whether Ne-Yo and West overwhelmed Hilson's appearance. However, reviewers also complimented that the song was radio-friendly. It was nominated for multiple awards, including Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 52nd Grammy Awards.

"Knock You Down" peaked at number one in New Zealand, and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. It also reached the top ten in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The song's music video was directed by Chris Robinson. It sees Hilson caught in a love triangle with her former partner West, and new-found love Ne-Yo. The video received positive reviews, which appreciated the given performances given by the artists. Hilson performed the song a number of times, including television appearances such as on The Rachael Ray Show. She also notably performed the song at the 2009 BET Awards, where she used the Jackson reference of the song to give a tribute performance to the late singer.

Background[edit]

Hilson and Ne-Yo knew each other from their days as co-songwriters. Hilson had appeared as Ne-Yo's love interest in the video for his song "Miss Independent," the second single taken from his 2008 album, Year of the Gentleman. In a September 2008 interview with Rap-Up about a recent crop of songwriters becoming singers, Ne-Yo said "For one, I think Keri Hilson’s too freakin’ pretty to be in the background. For two, her voice is incredible—on top of the fact that she can write. So I think that she’s definitely one that deserves the spotlight."[1] In "Knock You Down", Kanye West makes multiple references to Michael Jackson, and coincidentally, the song was released in numerous territories around the death of the singer.[2]

Composition[edit]

A sample of the chorus of "Knock You Down", which is said to be in a "frenetic midtempo groove"

Problems playing this file? See media help.

"Knock You Down" is a R&B song with a length of five minutes and twenty six seconds.[3] The song also includes electronic tones, and derives from pop and hip-hop genres.[2] The song is set in common time, and composed in a "moderate R&B groove."[4] It is written in the key of G minor, and vocals span from F3 to D5.[4] It follows the chord progression E–F–B–E–F–Gm.[4] The song begins with a rap intro by Kanye West, accompanied by a "stabbing synth riff."[2] According to Chris Williams of Billboard, The verses contain a "thumping bass-beat" while the chorus is in a "frenetic midtempo groove."[5] Dan Nishimoto of Prefix Magazine said the song had a "4/4 Motown feel on the verses and stuttering drums on the chorus."[6] Hilson performs the first verse and chorus, while Ne-Yo sings the second verse.[5] West then has a rap interlude before Hilson sings an additional part before the song ends with the chorus by Hilson, accompanied by Ne-Yo.[5] In West's lines, he references Michael Jackson and his song "Bad" in the lines "This is bad, real bad, Michael Jackson." Coincidentally, the song was released in numerous territories around the death of the singer.[2] West also refers to the domestic abuse accusations against his Jackson's father, Joe, in the following lyric "Now mad, real mad, Joe Jackson."[2] Lyrically, the song is about how a great love goes wrong.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

A man wearing a printed blue t-shirt, silver jewelry and a cap; he is holding a microphone.
Critics were divided as to whether the song's features overwhelmed Hilson. Nick Levine said that Ne-Yo (pictured) had a more "distinctive" voice than Hilson

Chris Williams of Billboard said "with a vocal assist from Ne-Yo and a clever guest rap by Kanye West, it appears Hilson is intent on a knockout punch of her own."[5] Dan Nishimoto of Prefix Magazine said the song was one of the better radio-friendly tracks on the album.[6] Melinda Newman of HitFix said that "the mid-tempo track is undeniably catchy and will embed itself within your brain after only a few listens."[7] Sophie Bruce of BBC Music positively received the song, calling it the album's "biggest potential hit."[8] Although Nick Levine of Digital Spy gave the song three out of five stars, complimenting production by Danja, and saying that the song sounded like a more obvious hit than "Return the Favor", he complained that "getting two R&B A-listers to appear on your track should be a real coup, but not when one's got a more distinctive voice than you and the other steals the show with some typically ballsy rapping."[2] Quentin B. Huff of PopMatters criticized the repetitive hook, stating "Hook-wise, it’s a little like listening to an album of kids chanting while playing double-dutch."[9] He also said that Hilson's vocals "show promise but fail to distinguish the Hilson brand from the crowd."[9]

"Knock You Down" was nominated for three awards. At the 2009 Soul Train Awards, the song was nominated for Record of the Year (Songwriters Award) as well as Best Collaboration.[10] At the 52nd Grammy Awards, it was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, but lost to Jay-Z's "Run This Town", another song in which West is featured.[11]

Chart performance[edit]

"Knock You Down" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number sixty-five, and would later go on to peak at number three.[12] Along with "The Way I Are", it was Hilson's highest charting single on the Hot 100.[12] It also achieved successes in other Billboard component charts, topping the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, and reaching number three on the Pop Songs chart.[13] "Knock You Down" became Hilson's biggest airplay single to date, topping the Hot 100 Airplay for four consecutive weeks. It has sold over 2,100,000 digital copies as of April 2011.[14] "Knock You Down" spent a total of thirty-one weeks on the Hot 100. The single appeared on numerous charts internationally. On the Canadian Hot 100,[15] and the Australian Singles Chart the song peaked at number three.[16] It debuted at number forty on the UK Singles Chart, and five weeks later, it reached number five, where it remained for two weeks.[17] In Ireland, it peaked at number two on the Irish Singles Chart, while it reached number eight on the Dutch Top 40.[18] The song performed best on the New Zealand Singles Chart, where it reached number one,[19] and was eventually certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ). "Knock You Down" charted in the top twenty of Norway, Sweden, and Slovakia, the top thirty of Germany, Belgium (Wallonia), and Denmark,[20] and in the top forty of the Czech Republic.[21] It reached number forty-nine on the Belgian Singles Chart in Flanders.[20] its success in Europe allowed it to chart at number thirteen on the European Hot 100.[22]

Music video[edit]

A flashback of West and Hilson's prior relationship is shown during their confrontation in the music video.

The music video for "Knock You Down", directed by Chris Robinson,[23] premiered on March 23, 2009.[23] The video begins with Hilson slowly falling backwards onto a bed, and then West appears and raps the introduction. Both start reflecting on their previous relationship, before the clip flashes back to the previous events. West is shown to be an artist, who is painting a portrait of Hilson. Hilson and West begin to caress each other, as she as shown in several seductive poses in a bed and sings in front of a white backdrop. The video returns to the present, showing Hilson and West breaking up, as both of them fall backwards onto the floor, similar to the way Hilson falls on to the bed in the opening sequence. Visual effects come into play greater in this scene, as when West falls, he shatters into pieces.[7] Ne-Yo then appears, and sings his lines in front of a grey backdrop. Ne-Yo and Hilson proceed to go on a date at a party in West and Hilson's apartment, and are seen being affectionate by West. He then confronts Hilson, and Ne-Yo also approaches the duo before Hilson walks off, torn between the two men. The clip ends with Hilson falling backwards onto a bed, in similar fashion as the opening scene.

Melinda Newman of HitFix positively received the video, stating "its success lies solely in the charisma and believability that the trio brings to the small screen, which is considerable."[7] A writer for BET Sound Off called the video a "tantalizing visual" and said he adored it, commenting, "sans Kanye and Neyo’s unbearable showdown, I could watch this video over and over and over and over!"[24] Margeaux Watson of Entertainment Weekly said, "Though their scenes together are G-rated in comparison to Ciara's steamy romp with Justin Timberlake in their new clip for 'Love Sex Magic,' Hilson’s solo shots in bed are undeniably hot. Indeed, a tasteful flash of booty never hurt nobody."[25] In an interview on the Today Show, anchor Hota Kotb made a remark to Ne-Yo, stating, "You have this really hot new video that you do with Kanye West and another woman named Keri. You [and Kanye] are such big stars. How did this happen?" Blogs reported this as a possible "diss" toward Hilson, however, neither camps reported anything after the fact.[26]

Live performances[edit]

Hilson performed the song for her Walmart SoundCheck to promote the album.[27] She also performed the song while being a supporting act to Ne-Yo, on his Year of the Gentleman tour in 2009.[28] Hilson and West performed the song on May 5, 2009 on the Late Show with David Letterman.[29] Hilson also performed the song, along with a cover of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" on July 21, 2009 for Yahoo! Music sponsored by Pepsi.[30] She performed the song with "Turnin Me On" at the 2009 BET Awards in June 2009.[31] She utilized the Michael Jackson reference in the song to perform a dance routine paying homage to Jackson, at the awards ceremony.[31] On July 28, 2009, Hilson performed the song on It's On with Alexa Chung.[32] Hilson performed the song and "Energy" with British singer-songwriter Taio Cruz at the MOBO Awards 2009, which she co-hosted, on October 4, 2009.[33] On January 1, 2010, she performed the song as a part of her set list of Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest.[34] On January 29, 2010, Hilson performed an acoustic rendition of the song on The Rachael Ray Show.[35] On February 5, 2010, she performed the song at BET's SOS: Help for Haiti Telethon, to benefit the victims of the 2010 Haitian earthquake.[36] On October 22, 2010, she performed the song in Chicago at Collins Academy High School during for the Get Schooled National Challenge and Tour.[37]

Track listing[edit]

Credits[edit]

Source[39]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2009) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[16] 24
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[40] 37
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[20] 49
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[41] 29
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[15] 9
Czech Republic (Rádio Top 100)[21] 31
Denmark (Tracklisten)[42] 28
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[22] 13
Germany (Media Control Charts)[43] 30
Ireland (IRMA)[44] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[18] 8
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[19] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[45] 11
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[46] 16
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[47] 11
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[17] 5
US Billboard Hot 100[12] 3
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[48] 34
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[49] 1
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[13] 3
US Rhythmic (Billboard)[50] 1

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification
United States 2x Platinum[51]

End of year charts[edit]

Charts (2009) Position
New Zealand Singles Chart[52] 10
UK Singles Chart[53] 41
US Billboard Hot 100[54] 15

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
United States April 7, 2009[55] Rhythmic and urban airplay
April 14, 2009[55] Mainstream airplay
United Kingdom May 4, 2009[56] Digital download
June 22, 2009[57] CD single
Brazil September 9, 2009[58] Digital download

Covers and parodies[edit]

  • Rucka Rucka Ali made a parody of "Knock You Down" called "Crips & Bloods".

References[edit]

  1. ^ "New Music: Keri Hilson f/Ne-Yo - 'Ready to Fall'". Rap-Up. 2009-01-26. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Levine, Nick. "Keri Hilson ft. Kanye West, Ne-Yo: 'Knock You Down'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  3. ^ a b "music: Knock You Down (2009)". hmv.com. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  4. ^ a b c "Keri Hilson - Knock You Down - Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com. Alfred Publishing. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Williams, Chris (2009-04-11). "The Billboard Reviews - Singles". Billboard. pp. 30–31 
  6. ^ a b Nishimoto, Dan (2008-10-18). "Keri Hilson: In a Perfect World...". Prefix Magazine. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  7. ^ a b c Newman, Melinda (2009-03-31). "Review: Watch Keri Hilson’s new video for 'Knock You Down'". HitFix. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  8. ^ Bruce, Sophie (2009-05-08). "BBC - Music - Review of Keri Hilson - In A Perfect World". BBC Music Blog. BBC. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  9. ^ a b Huff, Quentin B. (2009-05-19). "Keri Hilson: In a Perfect World". PopMatters. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  10. ^ "Keri Hilson Nominated for 4 Soul Train Awards". Interscope Records. Interscope Digital Distribution. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  11. ^ "Keri Hilson Scores Grammy Nominations". Interscope Records. Interscope Digital Distribution. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  12. ^ a b c "Keri Hilson Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Keri Hilson. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  13. ^ a b "Keri Hilson Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for Keri Hilson. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  14. ^ "Week Ending March 27, 2011: Songs: Katy Moves Up - Yahoo! Chart Watch". New.music.yahoo.com. 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
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  16. ^ a b "Australian-charts.com – Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo – Knock You Down". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
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  18. ^ a b "Nederlandse Top 40 – Keri Hilson search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
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  20. ^ a b c "Ultratop.be – Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo – Knock You Down" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
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  24. ^ "VIDEO: Keri Hilson ft. Ne-Yo & Kanye West- Knock You Down". BET Sound Off Blog. BET Interactive, LLC. 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2010-12-18. [dead link]
  25. ^ Watson, Margeaux (2009-03-24). "Keri Hilson's 'Knock You Down' video: Will it make her a star?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  26. ^ "Keri Hilson Dissed on 'Today' Show?". Rap-Up. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  27. ^ "Walmart Soundcheck 2010 - Watch Keri Hilson Interviews, Live Performances, Music Videos". Walmart.com. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  28. ^ "Keri Hilson Bio". Young Hollywood. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  29. ^ "Video: Keri & Kanye Perform on ‘Letterman’". Rap-Up. 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  30. ^ "Video: Keri Hilson Covers Gnarls Barkley". Rap-Up. 2009-07-21. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  31. ^ a b Geller, Wendy (2009-06-28). "The 2009 BET Awards: A Tribute To MJ". Yahoo! Music. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  32. ^ "Don't Miss Keri Hilson on MTV's Alexa Chung". Interscope Records. Interscope Digital Distribution. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
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  34. ^ "Hilson, Thicke Rock With Dick Clark New Years Eve". Singersroom. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  35. ^ "Keri Hilson Performs". Rachaelrayshow.com. MMX KWP STUDIOS INC. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  36. ^ Reid, Shaheem (2010-02-05). "Keri Hilson, Robin Thicke Say 'SOS: Help For Haiti' Was About 'Spirit Of Giving'". MTV News. MTV Networks (Viacom). Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  37. ^ "Keri Hilson and Big Boi ‘Get Schooled’". Rap-Up. 2010-10-22. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
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  41. ^ "Ultratop.be – Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo – Knock You Down" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
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  44. ^ "Chart Track: Week 27, 2009". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  45. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo – Knock You Down". VG-lista. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  46. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 200937 into search. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  47. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West & Ne-Yo – Knock You Down". Singles Top 60. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  48. ^ "Keri Hilson Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Keri Hilson. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  49. ^ "Keri Hilson Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Keri Hilson. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  50. ^ "Keri Hilson Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Rhythmic Songs for Keri Hilson. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  51. ^ "Jennifer Lopez Certificates". Recording Industry Association of America. (RIAA). April 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-26. 
  52. ^ "Annual Top 50 Singles Chart 2009". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. 2009. Retrieved 2010-12-24. 
  53. ^ "Charts Plus Year end 2009" (PDF). Charts Plus. Retrieved 2010-07-19. 
  54. ^ "Year End Charts - Year-end songs - The Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2010-11-12. 
  55. ^ a b "Airplay Archive". FMQB. Retrieved 2010-12-20. 
  56. ^ "Knock You Down: Keri Hilson: Amazon.co.uk: MP3 Downloads". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  57. ^ "Knock You Down: Keri Hilson: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon.co.uk. 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2009-08-16. 
  58. ^ "Keri Hilson/Knock You Down - Músicas - Terra Sonora:Músicas". Terra Networks. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 

External links[edit]