"Billionaire" is the debut single by American recording artist Travie McCoy, featuring guest vocals from Bruno Mars. It is the lead single from McCoy's debut studio album, Lazarus. The song was produced by The Smeezingtons, which consists of Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine. Lyrically, McCoy imagines what would happen if he became a billionaire, referencing all the good he would do to others with the money along with his desire to be on the cover of Forbes magazine, "smiling next to Oprah and The Queen". As of July 2011, the song has sold 3 million digital downloads, making it Mars' third single to do so.
Bruno Mars came up with the lyrical concept for "Billionaire" during a trip to London in which he was given £240 ($350) by his record label to spend for 11 days. He found the amount of money to be insufficient, and explained "We were like, 'Is this the biggest mistake we've ever made? We thought we were broke in California; what are we going to do here?' So we've got no money, and I'm walking the streets and came up with, 'I wanna be a billionaire, so freakin' bad.'" With the song, McCoy intended to avoid "superficial" lyrics in the wake of an economic recession, and added "There’s something to sing about here; if I was in the position to have a ridiculous amount of money, would I be selfish or selfless?’ I just took that concept and ran with it."
Later, Mars explain to Forbes that his own finances inspired him to write the tune.“I wouldn’t have to worry about, you know, ‘I can’t afford to get breakfast, so I’ll wait until lunchtime to eat,’” he said, explaining the song’s origins at his manager’s Hollywood Hills home. “If I was a billionaire, none of that would matter. I’d be eating diamond cereal.”
During the summer of 2009, The Smeezingtons (Mars, Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine) were booked for a week of studio sessions writing for Lupe Fiasco, B.o.B and McCoy. At the end of the week the group had created a scratch demo version of "Billionaire". The B.o.B song "Nothin' on You" was also conceived at this time. McCoy later joined The Smeezingtons in the studio to complete the full song. The radio edit of the song replaces the word Fucking with freaking and is 3:06 long instead of 3:30. The radio edit is available for download on iTunes.
The song uses an almost exact musical copy of the tune from Santeria by the band Sublime.
The music video appeared in MTV animated series Beavis and Butthead in the episode "Whorehouse".
In January 2014, Bruno Mars and Travie McCoy were sued by Demetrius Orlandus Procter regarding copyright infringement allegations made by Procter relating to "Billionaire"; Procter accused the song's authors of stealing the song from him, despite the fact that Procter didn't put any dollar amount on what he was owed. In the lawsuit, McCoy and Mars were requested to take charge to "destroy all copies of Plaintiffs' Recording that Defendants have downloaded onto any computer hard drive or server without Plaintiffs' authorization and shall destroy all copies of that downloaded recording transferred onto any physical medium or device."
The music video was filmed in Los Angeles, California and was first broadcast on MtvU on May 6, 2010. It begins with Mars playing a guitar whilst sitting on a wall at Venice Beach and singing the opening chorus. The scene switches to McCoy rapping while driving a Mini Cooper with Mars in the passenger seat. Throughout the video, McCoy is shown helping four people, as well as one large group at the end. The first thing he does is give a guy a new skateboard after he broke his own in half; the second is buying an unknown, aspiring artist's CD; the third is getting out of the Mini Cooper and giving the keys to a teenager trying to hitchhike to New York and the fourth is giving a graffiti artist some more spray paint after his ran out. The video then switches to Venice Beach, where the group in question run dry on beer in their cooler, but McCoy and Mars come in and hand out more beers to restore life to the party. Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz can also be seen in the video riding on the back of a scooter with McCoy.
"Famo$.a.", (English: Famous) is the second single from the album As Máscaras of Brazilian singer Claudia Leitte featuring McCoy. The name features the dollar sign and S.A. (which generally designates corporations) – in this case, ironically used to indicate the strong money appeal of the song and its storyline. The song is a version of McCoy's "Billionaire". Leitte's version consist of the same lines by McCoy while she sings in Portuguese new verses instead of Mars'.
The single's music video was filmed in São Paulo and was released in July. The video shows the singer Claudia Leitte scenes in Oscar Freire, the city street known to contain numerous sophisticated stores and be the point of buying artists and millionaires. Features McCoy's footage from the original "Billionaire" music video.