Doo Wop (That Thing)

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"Doo Wop (That Thing)"
Cover art for U.S. editions
Single by Lauryn Hill
from the album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Released July 7, 1998
Format CD single
Recorded January 1998
Chung King Studios
(New York)
Marley Music, Inc.
  • 5:20
  • 3:51 (single edit)
Writer(s) Lauryn Hill
Producer(s) Lauryn Hill
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Lauryn Hill singles chronology
"Doo Wop (That Thing)"
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"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.


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 his women", are admonished by Hill, who warns them not to allow "that thing" to ruin their lives.

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, the first by a rap artist, and still the only by a female rap artist. It stayed there for two weeks in the fall of 1998. 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.[1] 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, with the video showing two Hill's singing side by side at a block party. On the left side of the split screen, she is dressed in full late 1960s attire, complete with a bob cut and a zebra-striped dress, paying homage to older R&B and doo wop, and on the right side of the screen, the present-day Hill is shown in a homage to hip hop culture.[2] 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."[3]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Doo Wop (That Thing)" [radio edit] – 4:00
  2. "Doo Wop (That Thing)" [instrumental] – 4:00
  3. "Doo Wop (That Thing)" [Gordon's Dub] – 4:00
  1. "Doo Wop (That Thing)" [album version] – 4:59
  2. "Lost Ones" [album version] – 5:33
  3. "Forgive Them Father" – 3:05
Australian single
  1. "Doo Wop (That Thing)" [radio edit] – 4:00
  2. "Doo Wop (That Thing)" [Gordon's Dub] – 4:00
  3. "Lost Ones" – 5:33
  4. "Tell Him" – 4:40
  5. "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" – 4:03


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 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, In Philippines year 1999 parody version with late rapper Francis Magalona was a title song "Bading ang Dating" the album of Interscholastic and the Greatest hits album with Best of Francis M. in 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.[4] The song was covered in Spanish by Anita Tijoux in a collaboration with the producer Quantic in 2013. Drake sampled the song to create a song called "Draft Day". The 2014 Glee episode "Back-up Plan" includes a cover version performed by Mercedes Jones (Amber Riley) and Santana Lopez (Naya Rivera). In July 2014, the French producer MKL released a remix of Doo Wop [5]

Sales chart performance[edit]

The song charted on several charts in the U.S. upon release.[6]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
"The First Night" by Monica
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
November 14, 1998 – November 21, 1998
Succeeded by
"Lately" by Divine