T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)

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"T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)"
T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever).jpg
Single by will.i.am featuring Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez
ReleasedNovember 20, 2011 (2011-11-20)
will.i.am singles chronology
"T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)"
"Great Times"
Mick Jagger singles chronology
"Old Habits Die Hard"
"T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)"
Jennifer Lopez singles chronology
"T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)"
"Dance Again"
Audio sample
"T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)"

"T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" is a song by American rapper will.i.am, featuring vocals from British singer Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones and American singer Jennifer Lopez. The song was released via the iTunes Store on November 20, 2011, just hours after its debut at the American Music Awards. The music video for the song was released on December 12, 2011. The song was originally released as part as the lead single of will.i.am's fourth studio album, #willpower, but was not included on the album.


will.i.am first announced the song via his Twitter account, before announcing it via various online media.[1] Links to a demo version of the song were made available via Dipdive[1] and Google+.[2] On November 18, Will released the cover art for the single, using it as his Twitter avatar and background.[3] The song was premiered live on November 20, 2011, live at the 2011 American Music Awards at the Nokia Theater. The performance included will.i.am and Lopez performing live, and Jagger performing via video link.[4] The song was made available on iTunes immediately following the AMA performance.[4] The song was produced by Audiobot, Dallas Austin and will.i.am,[4] as well as Jimmy Iovine.[5] will.i.am originally presented the track to Iovine without the featured artists, as a finished work, and was caught off guard by his request to add performers to the song. In response, he threw out Jagger's name among possible collaborators because he thought it would never happen.[5] Iovine ended up producing Jagger's vocals - it was the first time he had produced in decades.[5] Immediately after the AMA performance, will.i.am thanked Fighting Gravity via Twitter.[6] will.i.am also performed the song live at the American Giving Awards on December 10. Neither Lopez nor Jagger appeared.[7][8]

The song was originally released as part of will.i.am's fourth studio album, #willpower.[5] The album was originally scheduled for release in September 2012, but was delayed several times and scheduled for released on April 19, 2013.[9] When the final track listing with all its features was confirmed on April 11, 2013 by Rap-Up the song was not included on the album.[10]

Critical reception[edit]

The song has received mixed reviews from music critics. Simon Vozick-Levinson wrote a mixed review for Rolling Stone, stating that on the single will.i.am "strews dodgy rhymes ("I woke up in the morning/Hard like morning wood in the morning") over diamond-bright synths, while J. Lo handles the efficient hook. It all feels a bit perfunctory – except for Mick's guest verse, a kitschy delight delivered in a "Midnight Rambler" snarl.[11]

The website "DJ Booth" also gave to the song a mixed review, writing that "this tough-as-nails cut finds Will, "Audiobot" and Dallas Austin teaming up to craft a danceable synth-percussion beat to back the B.E.P. mastermind as he delivers his trademark blend of Auto-Tuned singing and guilty-pleasure punchline lyricism. After a tuneful guest verse from J-Lo (who also lends her vocals to the chorus), the Rolling Stones frontman grabs the mic to flaunt his considerable swagger (and his poor math skills: "Hard like geometry, trigonometry / This is crazy—psychology") in a gruff closing 16."[12]

Billboard's Chris Payne wrote that "The concept sounds crazy, but Will.i.am is the perfect studio whiz to oversee the commotion. The master of ceremonies adds to the fun by referencing "Back to the Future" to the Wu-Tang Clan to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in his opening verse."[13]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at #36 for the chart week of December 10, 2011 with 70,000 copies sold.[14] In its second week, it dropped 54 slots to 90, and later fell off the chart. It has since re-entered the chart, reaching 61. The song also debuted at number 10 on the Canadian Hot 100 the same week.[15] On the week ending February 3, 2012, a pre-release cover version of the track by Kings of Pop entered the UK Singles Chart at number forty.[16] The version charted on digital downloading alone, charting in the absence of the original (scheduled for release on February 5) - also peaks of number three and number twelve on the independent releases chart and R&B chart. Two weeks later the original version of the song was released in the UK and it charted at #3 on the UK Singles Chart.

Music video[edit]

will.i.am (top), Jennifer Lopez (middle) and Mick Jagger (bottom) in the "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" music video.

Will.i.am tweeted that a portion of the video was filmed on October 17, 2011 in Los Angeles.[17] On October 24, he tweeted that he had hurt himself during filming.[18] Lopez filmed her part in the video on and around October 30, 2011.[19] After the song's November 20 AMA debut, MTV reported that the video, which was shot both in Los Angeles and in London, was expected to premiere before the end of November.[4] The video was directed by Rich Lee.[4] Will released the music video on December 12 with a link to Google+.[20] A few hours later Jagger tweeted that the official debut of the music video would occur that evening on Extra.[21] Lopez tweeted a link to the video on December 14 on Vevo.[22] A critic at RyanSeacrest.com described the video as "out of this world – literally".[23] Ryan Seacrest tweeted: "the new @iamwill @JLo @MickJagger video requires u set your computer to warp speed". The video begins with will.i.am. sending a text to Mick Jagger and trying to work out his exercises, when he starts running through walls by foot, bicycle, motorbike, car, plane, train, rocket, which then converts into a spaceship. Meanwhile, Lopez is seen on the walls while will.i.am. is driving past them and she also appears on the TV screen inside the spaceship and in the outer part of the galaxy. During the end, Jagger appears on the galaxy finishing the song while Lopez does the belly dance and kept on dancing while Jagger finishes the song.[24] The music video features product placement for HTC, BMW, Beats by Dr. Dre, Siemens Velaro, and the Chrysler 300.

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[25]
  1. "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" (Explicit Version) – 4:47
  2. "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" (Clean Version) - 4:07
  3. "Go Home" (featuring Mick Jagger and Wolfgang Gartner) – 4:36
  • Digital download — Remix[26]
  1. "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" (Z-Trip Remix) – 5:18
  • German CD single[27]
  1. "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" – 4:47
  2. "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" (instrumental) – 4:39

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" CD single liner notes.[28]

  • will.i.am – songwriter, producer, synthesizers, drum programming, recording, engineer
  • Audiobot – songwriter, producer, synthesizers, drum programming
  • Dallas Austin – songwriter, producer
  • Jimmy Iovine – vocal production
  • Jennifer Lopez - lead vocals
  • Josh Lopez – guitar
  • Padraic "Padlock" Kerin – recording, engineer
  • Dylan "3-D" Dresdow – mixing
  • Mike Fontane – mixing assistant
  • Jaime Martinez – mixing assistant


Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
United States November 20, 2011 (2011-11-20) Digital download[45]
December 6, 2011 (2011-12-06) Top 40/Mainstream radio[46]
Germany January 3, 2012 (2012-01-03) Digital download[47]
February 3, 2012 (2012-02-03) CD single[27]
United Kingdom February 5, 2012 Digital download[48]


  1. ^ a b Will.i.am (November 19, 2011). "@iamwill status". Twitter. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  2. ^ Will.i.am (November 19, 2011). "@iamwill status". Twitter. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  3. ^ Will.i.am (November 18, 2011). "@iamwill status". Twitter. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e Dinh, James (November 21, 2011). "will.i.am And Jennifer Lopez Glow In The Dark At AMAs: Mick Jagger also appeared via video screen for debut performance of 'T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever.)'". MTV. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d Baltin, Steve (November 20, 2011). "Exclusive: Will.i.am on How He Got Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez for New Single: Black Eyed Peas architect to debut "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" with J.Lo on American Music Awards tonight". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  6. ^ Will.i.am (November 20, 2011). "@iamwill status". Twitter. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  7. ^ Stelter, Brian (December 9, 2011). "For Chase, a TV Show to Promote Its Charity". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  8. ^ The Black Eyed Peas (December 10, 2011). "@bep status". Twitter. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  9. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (March 18, 2013). "Will.i.am Sets Release Date For Long-Delayed '#Willpower' Album". Billboard. Retrieved April 12, 2013.
  10. ^ Tracklisting: will.i.am – ‘#willpower’ | Rap-Up
  11. ^ Vozick-Levinson, Simon (November 28, 2011). "Will.i.am feat. Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)" - Song Reviews - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  12. ^ "WILL.I.AM - T.H.E. (THE HARDEST EVER) - Review". DJ Booth. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  13. ^ Payne, Chris (December 12, 2011). "Track Review: Will.i.am feat. Mick Jagger & Jennifer Lopez, 'T.H.E.'". Billboard. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  14. ^ a b Trust, Gary (November 30, 2011). "Rihanna Remains Atop Hot 100, American Music Awards Spur Gains". Billboard. Retrieved December 1, 2011.
  15. ^ a b "Canadian Hot 100". Billboard. December 10, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  16. ^ Officialcharts.com
  17. ^ Will.i.am (October 19, 2011). "@iamwill status". Twitter. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  18. ^ Will.i.am (October 24, 2011). "@iamwill status". Twitter. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  19. ^ Will.i.am (October 29, 2011). "@iamwill in reply to @JLoID". Twitter. Retrieved December 1, 2011.
  20. ^ Will.i.am (December 12, 2011). "@iamwill status". Twitter. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  21. ^ Mick Jagger (December 12, 2011). "@MickJagger status". Twitter. Retrieved December 13, 2011.
  22. ^ Jennifer Lopez (December 14, 2011). "@JLo status". Twitter. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  23. ^ Mitchell, Allison (December 12, 2011). "Will.i.am Releases Stellar Music Video for 'T.H.E.' Ft. Jennifer Lopez & Mick Jagger [VIDEO]". RyanSeacrest.com. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  24. ^ Ryan Seacrest (December 12, 2011). "@RyanSeacrest status". Twitter. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  25. ^ T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) [feat. Mick Jagger & Jennifer Lopez] - Single by will.i.am on Apple Music
  26. ^ http://hypem.com/#!/track/1jarb/will.i.am+-+T.H.E.+(Z-Trip+Remix)
  27. ^ a b T.H.E (The Hardest Ever) (2-Track) - Will.I.Am, Jennifer Lopez, Mick Jagger: Amazon.de: Musik
  28. ^ T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) (liner notes). will.i.am featuring Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez. will.i.am Music Group, Interscope Records. 2012. 0602527942285.CS1 maint: others (link)
  29. ^ "Chartifacts – Week Commencing: 19th December 2011". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on December 21, 2011. Retrieved August 30, 2012.
  30. ^ "Top 40 Urban Albums & Singles Chart". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Archived from the original on March 6, 2012.
  31. ^ "Austriancharts.at – will.i.am feat. Jennifer Lopez & Mick Jagger – T.H.E (The Hardest Ever)" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  32. ^ "Ultratop.be – will.i.am feat. Jennifer Lopez & Mick Jagger – T.H.E (The Hardest Ever)" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  33. ^ "Ultratop.be – will.i.am feat. Jennifer Lopez & Mick Jagger – T.H.E (The Hardest Ever)" (in French). Ultratip.
  34. ^ "Brasil Hot 100 Airplay". Billboard Brasil (Brasil: bpp) (2): 100. December 2011.
  35. ^ ""Brasil Hot Pop & Popular Songs". Billboard Brasil (Brasil: bpp) (23): 37. December 2012". Billboard Brasil(ABPD). January 2, 2012. Archived from the original on October 4, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  36. ^ "Jennifer Lopez Chart History (Canada CHR/Top 40)". Billboard. Retrieved August 21, 2019.
  37. ^ "Jennifer Lopez Chart History – Euro Digital Songs". Billboard. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
  38. ^ "Chart Track: Week 6, 2012". Irish Singles Chart.
  39. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  40. ^ "South Korea Gaon International Chart (Week: January 01, 2012 to January 07, 2012)". Gaon Chart. December 15, 2012. Archived from the original on December 19, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  41. ^ "Swisscharts.com – will.i.am feat. Jennifer Lopez & Mick Jagger – T.H.E (The Hardest Ever)". Swiss Singles Chart.
  42. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  43. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  44. ^ "Top 100 Singles of 2012". BBC Radio 1. BBC Online. December 31, 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
  45. ^ "T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) [feat. Mick Jagger & Jennifer Lopez] - Single". Apple Inc. November 20, 2011. Retrieved December 1, 2011.
  46. ^ "CHR/Top 40". RadioandRecords.com. Retrieved December 1, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  47. ^ "T.H.E (The Hardest Ever) - Explicit Version von Jennifer Lopez, Mick Jagger, Will.I.Am zum Musik Dow - Single". musicload.de. December 30, 2011. Retrieved December 30, 2011.
  48. ^ Singles Release Diary

External links[edit]