"Low" is the debut single by American rapper Flo Rida, featured on his debut studio album Mail on Sunday and also featured on the soundtrack to the 2008 film Step Up 2: The Streets. The song features fellow rapper T-Pain and was co-written with T-Pain. There is also a remix in which the hook is sung by Flo Rida rather than T-Pain. An official remix was made which features Pitbull and T-Pain. The catchy, up-tempo and club oriented Southern hip hop track allowed the song to peak at the summit of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.
The now-iconic single was a massive success worldwide and the longest running number-one single of 2008 in the United States. With over 6 million digital downloads, it has been certified 7× Platinum by the RIAA, and was the most downloaded single of the 2000s decade, measured by paid digital downloads. The song was named 3rd on the Billboard Hot 100 Songs of the Decade. "Low" spent ten consecutive weeks top of the Billboard Hot 100, the longest-running number-one single of 2008.
Several of T-Pain's stylistic effects are present in this song, including autotune, call and answer during the chorus. It contains elements electronic featuring 808-style drums and an arppegiated note sequence instead of a chord progression. Flo Rida has sexually charged (but not explicit) lyrics, for example he refers to a girl's buttocks as "birthday cakes" which "stole the show". T-Pain also relies heavily on synthesizer. The song is written in the key of E♭ minor. A Harmonic minor melody is played over the E♭ minor, and at different times different instrumentation cycles, i.e. sometimes only the synthesizer plays, sometimes only the bass, sometimes only the vocals. Flo Rida uses a style that is common in 1990s hip-hop party music. "Low" is written in common time with a moderate tempo of 120 beats per minute while T-Pain's vocal range spans nearly two to three octaves from B♭1 to F♯3.
The song makes references to a "Shawty" in a club who is wearing Apple Bottom jeans and boots with fur. "Shawty" also wears baggy sweat pants and Reeboks with the straps. The lyrics repeatedly suggest that Shawty is extremely attractive and possesses great skill in dancing provocatively. In particular, the song describes one of her more memorable dance sequences as giving her buttocks (colloquially referred to as a booty) a smack prior to "getting low".
The song debuted at number 91 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 on November 6, 2007, and reached number one for the week of December 30, 2007 - January 5, 2008. The song generated the second greatest one-week digital sales in the history of Billboard Magazine's Digital Songs chart (behind Flo Rida's "Right Round"), with 467,000 digital copies in one week. "Low" was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for ten weeks and remained in the top ten of the chart for 23 weeks, making it both T-Pain and Flo Rida's most successful single to date. The song stayed on the Hot 100 for 39 weeks, before dropping out in June 2008.
The song was dethroned on the Hot 100 by Usher's "Love in This Club" featuring Young Jeezy. As the first number one on the Hot 100 of 2008, "Low" held the top position longer than any song did in 2008 (see List of Hot 100 number-one singles of 2008 (U.S.)), and is the longest running Hot 100 number one since Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable." The song is also the longest-running number one in the history of the BillboardHot Digital Songs chart, topping the chart for 13 weeks, and also on the now-defunct Pop 100 chart, where it ruled for 12 weeks. On June 29, 2008, it became the first song ever to sell 4 million digital copies in the US, and then on June 21, 2009, the first to sell over 5 million copies. It was best-selling digitally-downloaded song of all time until it was surpassed by The Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling" in May 2010. The song sold over 6 million in digital sales by August 7, 2011, and reached its 7 millionth sales mark in sales in June 2014.
The physical release of the single occurred in the UK week beginning 24 March 2008. On July 20, 2008, the song moved up to No. 19 on the UK Singles Chart, several months after its official release. Although it failed to reach number one in the UK, it amassed 53 weeks inside the UK Top 75 (making it the joint 20th longest runner of all time), and 75 weeks inside the Top 100. As of January 2012, the song had sold 613,434 copies in the UK.
The song was ranked at #23 on Billboard's All Time Hot 100 for the 50th anniversary of the chart. The song was also was ranked the number-one song for 2008 in Billboard's ranking of the Top Hot 100 Hits of 2008. On December 28, 2008, it was listed at No. 11 for the UK Singles Chart year-end countdown and was named highest-selling single in Australia in 2008.