Doo Wop (That Thing)

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"Doo Wop (That Thing)"
Single by Lauryn Hill
from the album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
ReleasedJuly 7, 1998
FormatCD single
RecordedNovember 1997[1][failed verification]
StudioChung King Studios
(New York City)
Marley Music, Inc.
  • 5:20 (album version)
  • 3:51 (single edit)
Songwriter(s)Lauryn Hill
Producer(s)Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill singles chronology
"Doo Wop (That Thing)"
Audio sample

"Doo Wop (That Thing)" is the debut solo single from American recording artist Lauryn Hill. The song is taken from her debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Written and produced by Hill, the song was released as the album's lead single in July 1998. It was Hill's first and only Billboard Hot 100 number-one, to date. The song won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song at the 1999 Grammy Awards on February 24, 1999. "Doo Wop (That Thing)" debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making it the tenth song in the chart's history to do so, and the first debut single to do so.


The song is a warning from Hill to African-American men and women caught in "the struggle". Both the women who "[try to] be a hard rock when they really are a gem", and the men who are "more concerned with his rims, and his Timbs, than women", are admonished by Hill, who warns them not to allow "that thing" to ruin their lives. The chorus has been praised for promoting egalitarianism between the sexes.[2]

In terms of production value, Hill borrows heavily from elements of soul music and doo-wop, lending credence to the song's title. One such example is the opening riff of late 1960s soul hit "Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S.)" by Edwin Starr which Hill uses certain distinct elements of, as can be heard in the opening of this song.

Release and reception[edit]

Hill's first solo singles were from two 1997 movie soundtracks: "The Sweetest Thing" from Love Jones and a cover of Frankie Valli's 1967 song "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" for Conspiracy Theory.

"Doo Wop", released in 1998 as her first solo song from her debut album, was a major success. It became the 10th single to debut at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100, and the first by a rap artist. It stayed there for two weeks in the fall of 1998. On Billboard's R&B Singles chart, it reached #2 for three weeks in November 1998, held out of the top spot by "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" by Deborah Cox. It won two Grammy Awards the following February. The success of "Doo Wop" and the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album established Hill as a success outside of her group, The Fugees. In 1999, "Doo Wop (That Thing)" was ranked at number two to find the best music of 1998 on The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop annual critics' poll, after Fatboy Slim's "The Rockafeller Skank".

Awards and recognition[edit]

"Doo Wop (That Thing)" is included as number 359 on the Songs of the Century list.[citation needed] At the Grammy Awards of 1999, the song won two awards: Best R&B Song and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.[3] The song's music video won four 1999 MTV Video Music Awards for: Best Female Video, Best R&B Video, Best Art Direction, and Video of the Year.

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was filmed in Manhattan's Washington Heights in New York City, with the video showing two Hills singing side by side at a block party. On the left side of the split screen, the 1967 Hill dressed in full retro-styled attire, complete with a bob cut and a zebra-printed dress, she pays homage to classic R&B and doo wop, and on the right side of the screen, the present-day 1998 Hill is shown in a homage to hip hop culture.[4] Slant Magazine's Paul Schrodt praised the "Doo Wop (That Thing)" music video, stating "The resulting split-screen music video is the most flabbergasting testament to what the neo soul movement is all about."[5]

Cover versions and samples[edit]

In 1999, Filipino rapper Francis Magalona recorded a parody version titled "Bading ang Dating" which appears on the albums Interscholastic and The Best of Francis M (2002).

Kanye West's protégée Teyana Taylor, signed in 2012 to his G.O.O.D. Music label, released a mixtape in early 2012 called The Misunderstanding of Teyana Taylor, which draws particular influence from much of Hill's work. One of the tracks, "Lauryn's Interlude", features Taylor performing a shortened, a capella performance of Hill's classic song.[6]

The American avant-garde band Mr. Bungle often performed an excerpt of the song as an outro for their song "Travolta (Quote Unquote)" while simultaneously playing Hemanta Mukherjee's "Ei Raat Tomar Amar" during live shows in the late 1990s.

Devendra Banhart has covered the song during live performances including Bonnaroo 2006, the Pitchfork Music Festival and Tim Festival 2006, in Brazil.

Amy Winehouse also incorporated the song into her own "He Can Only Hold Her" at live concerts in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Rihanna covered the song while on Kanye West's Glow in the Dark Tour in 2008.

The song was covered in Spanish by Anita Tijoux in a collaboration with the producer Quantic in 2013.

The 2014 Glee episode "Back-up Plan" includes a cover version performed by Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera).

The 2015 film Pitch Perfect 2 included a cover of the song by singer Ester Dean who performed the hook of the song in the Riff Off.

Drake sampled the song to create a song titled "Draft Day".

In July 2014, French producer MKL released a remix of "Doo Wop".[7]

Track listing[edit]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[30] 2× Platinum 140,000^
United States (RIAA)[31] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Grammy Award Winners. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
  4. ^ Leah Furman, Elina Furman (1999). Heart of Soul. Ballantine Books. p. 155. ISBN 0-345-43588-5.
  5. ^ Schrodt, Paul. Review: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Archived 2008-09-12 at the Wayback Machine. Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-12-05.
  6. ^ Taylor, Teyana. "Teyana Taylor The Misunderstanding of Teyana Taylor". Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  7. ^ MKL. "Doo Wop (MKL Remix)". Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  8. ^ " – Lauryn Hill – DOO WOP (THAT THING)". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. ^ " – Lauryn Hill – DOO WOP (THAT THING)" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  10. ^ " – Lauryn Hill – DOO WOP (THAT THING)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ " – Lauryn Hill – DOO WOP (THAT THING)" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Canadian peak". Archived from the original on 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2012-05-06. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  13. ^ " – Lauryn Hill – DOO WOP (THAT THING)" (in French). Les classement single.
  14. ^ " – Lauryn Hill Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Doo Wop (That Thing)". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved April 19, 2018.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 44, 1998" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  17. ^ " – Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  18. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  19. ^ " – Lauryn Hill – DOO WOP (THAT THING)". Singles Top 100.
  20. ^ " – Lauryn Hill – DOO WOP (THAT THING)". Swiss Singles Chart.
  21. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  22. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  23. ^ "Lauryn Hill Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  24. ^ "Lauryn Hill Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Lauryn Hill Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  26. ^ "Lauryn Hill Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard.
  27. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 2018-04-18.
  28. ^ "Dance/Urban - Volume 68, No. 12, December 14, 1998". RPM. Archived from the original on 2014-04-15. Retrieved 2012-05-01. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  29. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1999". Archived from the original on 2009-07-09. Retrieved 2010-08-28. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  30. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2019 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  31. ^ "American single certifications – Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing)". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]