"The Motto" is a song by Canadian recording artist Drake. The song features Lil Wayne and is a digital iTunes Store bonus track from Drake's second studio album, Take Care. "The Motto" premiered on Los Angeles' Power 106 on October 31, 2011. Drake released the song on his OVO blog a day later. It was first played on rhythmic top 40 radio stations on November 29, 2011 as the album's fourth single.
The track was a commercial success in the US, having sold over 3 million copies there. It peaked atop both the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and US Rap Songs charts, and was ranked 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 Year-end Chart. "The Motto" was nominated for Best Rap Song at the 55th Grammy Awards. The song is one of the few songs to rank within the top 20 in the year-end chart, but to never crack the top ten, due to peaking at number 14.
The music video was released on YouTube on February 10, 2012 with the audio is official remix of the song featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga. At the intro, mother of Mac Dre, the rapper who died in a Kansas City shooting in 2004, Wanda Salvatto said "As long as I'm here, you'll be here" to tribute to her son. Then the video shows Drake was driving around in Bay Area, standing at the harbor and performing at the concert. Lil Wayne part shows that he was standing next to a red car under Golden Gate Bridge at night. Tyga part shows that Tyga was standing on a Ferrari car and performing at the concert, wearing a Dodgers jersey during his verse. Sometimes there is Drake blur in the chorus part. The video featuring cameos from E-40 and Mistah F.A.B. as well. The video was directed by Lamar Taylor and Hyghly Alleyne.
The song received universal acclaim from music critics and Drake's verse was also praised by critics. However, the use of the motto YOLO received mixed reviews from music critics, who said that this motto can negatively affect people in the future. They said that because many rappers died in that time due to their partying lifestyle.
The song debuted at #18 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with first-week sales of 124,000. In its 22nd week, it ascended to #14. On the week of February 18, 2012, "The Motto" reached No. 1 on the US Rap Chart making it his 12th No. 1 on the chart and extending his lead as the artist with the most No. 1 hits since the chart began.
The song has sold 3,113,000 copies in the US as of April 2013.
The song uses the phrase YOLO, an acronym for "you only live once". The phrase can be seen in youth culture, for example a high school prank in Chicago, Illinois, involved high school students chanting "YOLO." Some people have graffitied YOLO on walls. It has become a popular Twitter hashtag. Some youth have said that it is their motto, and actor Zac Efron got a tattoo with the acronym. Some youth, however, have taken action against the "YOLO" mindset; hip hop artist Joey Bada$$ released a song entitled "Death of YOLO" on his album Summer Knights. The song uses nearly dying in a car accident, a result of the "YOLO" lifestyle, as a metaphor for living making poor decisions.