The Motto

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"The Motto"
Single by Drake featuring Lil Wayne
from the album Take Care
Released November 29, 2011 (2011-11-29)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2011
Genre Hip hop, hyphy
Length 3:02 (Album version)
3:54 (Remix version featuring Tyga)
Writer(s) Shahid Reshi, Aubrey Graham, Dwayne Carter, N.Cobey, Tyler Williams, Salvatore Casto
Producer(s) T-Minus
Certification 2× Platinum (RIAA)
Drake singles chronology
"Mr. Wrong"
"The Motto"
"Take Care"
Lil Wayne singles chronology
"The Motto"
"Martians vs. Goblins"
Music video
"The Motto" on YouTube

"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.[1] Drake released the song on his OVO blog a day later.[2] It was first played on rhythmic top 40 radio stations on November 29, 2011 as the album's fourth single.[3]

The track was a commercial success in the US, having sold over 3 million copies there.[4] 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.[5] 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 song is well-known for name-dropping the Hispanic/Latino band Aventura.[6]

Music video[edit]

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.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

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.[8]

The song received a nomination at the 2013 Grammy Awards[9]

Remixes and freestyles[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

The song debuted at #18 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with first-week sales of 124,000.[18] In its 22nd week, it ascended to #14.[19] 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.[4]

Cultural impact[edit]

The song uses the phrase YOLO, an acronym for "you only live once".[20] The phrase can be seen in youth culture, for example a high school prank in Chicago, Illinois, involved high school students chanting "YOLO."[21][22] Some people have graffitied YOLO on walls.[23][24] It has become a popular Twitter hashtag.[25] Some youth have said that it is their motto,[26][27] and actor Zac Efron got a tattoo with the acronym.[28] 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.[29]

The hip-hop magazine Da South reported that the rapper Lecrae has deconstructed the motto YOLO in his answer song "No Regrets".[30] The Washington Post describes YOLO as "the newest acronym you'll love to hate".[31] The Huffington Post says: "YOLO is dumb."[32]

The phrase "you only live once" is commonly attributed to Mae West,[33][34] but variations of the phrase have been in use for over 100 years,[35] including as far back as (the German equivalent of) "one lives but once in the world" by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the play Clavigo in 1774,[36] and as the title of a waltz Man lebt nur einmal! ("You Only Live Once!") by Johann Strauss II in 1855.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format
United States November 29, 2011 Rhythmic contemporary radio[3]
Urban contemporary radio[51]
January 10, 2012 Rhythmic contemporary radio (re-release)[52]
Urban contemporary radio (re-release)[52]
United Kingdom April 6, 2012 Digital download[53]
United States April 10, 2012 Mainstream radio[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Drake Debuts 'The Motto,' T.I.'s 'Headlines' Remix & Talks Kendrick Lamar Feature". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. November 1, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Drake Feat. Lil Wayne – The Motto". October's Very Own. Retrieved November 1, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Top 40 Rhythmic Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on November 24, 2011. Retrieved November 24, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Grein, Paul. "Week Ending Oct. 6, 2013. Songs: Adele Reaches A Milestone". Yahoo. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ Vasquez, Andres (2012-12-06). "Grammy Nominees Revealed; Frank Ocean, Drake & 2 Chainz Among Those Nominated | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
  6. ^ "Drake Spits The Language Of Love On New Romeo Santos Track: Listen". MTV News. 
  7. ^ "The Motto (Explicit) - Drake ft. Lil Wayne, Tyga". VEVO. 
  8. ^ "Drake, 'The Motto' Feat. Lil Wayne Review". PopCrush. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Drake receives three nominations at the 2013 Grammy Awards". Young Money HQ. Retrieved September 19, 2015. 
  10. ^ "New Music: Tyga "The Motto (Remix)"". Rap Radar. Retrieved November 2, 2011. 
  11. ^ "New Music: YG, Nipsey Hussle, & Snoop Dogg "The Motto (Remix)"". Rap Radar. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Nelly – The Motto (Remix)". YouTube. Retrieved December 20, 2011. 
  13. ^ "New Music: Jeremih "The Motto (Remix)"". Rap Radar. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
  14. ^ "New Music: Mario "The Motto (Remix)"". Rap Radar. Retrieved January 2, 2012. 
  15. ^ "Young Jeezy & Freddie Gibbs – The Motto (Remix)". Nah Right. Retrieved January 20, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Wale & Meek Mill – The Motto (Remix)". Rap Radar. Retrieved January 30, 2012. 
  17. ^ "1995 - The Motto Remix (Nekfeu x Sneazzy x Alpha Wann)". Youtube. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  18. ^ "It's Official: Drake's 'Take Care' Debuts At No. 1 On Billboard 200". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved November 23, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved November 24, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Drake – The Motto ft. Lil Wayne & Tyga". 
  21. ^ Wright, Sharon (June 1, 2012). "Student Arrested Following Conant High School Senior Prank". NBC Chicago. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Students lose prom, graduation privileges after senior prank". January 6, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  23. ^ Express-Times File Photo. "Clinton police: Two men spray-paint profanity, 'YOLO' on town structures". Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Middle School Boys Accused Of Spray-Painting Homes, Destroying Water Fountain | WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio". May 31, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Parents, Students: Hoffman Estates School Overreacted To Senior Prank « CBS Chicago". June 1, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  26. ^ Swanson, Mirjam (May 18, 2012). "TRACK AND FIELD: Mitchells making most of it | Breaking News | – Press-Enterprise". Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  27. ^ [1][dead link]
  28. ^ "Zac Efron Tat-Tat-Tatted Up!". 
  29. ^ "Joey Bada$$ - Death of YOLO Lyrics". Rap Genius. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  30. ^ Hill, Kellus (14 May 2012). "Lecrae - Church Clothes". Da South. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  31. ^ Judkis, Maura (February 25, 2011). "#YOLO: The newest acronym you’ll love to hate – The Style Blog". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  32. ^ "The Black Sheep Online: YOLO: The Evolution Of The Acronym". May 17, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  33. ^ Clare Conville, Liz Hoggard, Sarah-Jane Lovet. Dangerous Women: The Guide to Modern Life. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Mae West Quotes". BrainyQuote. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  35. ^ "You Only Live Once – YOLO". Quote Investigator. May 24, 2012. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Johann Wolfgang von Goethe". Qikiqoute. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  37. ^ " – Drake feat. Lil Wayne – The Motto" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
  38. ^ "Drake – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Drake. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  39. ^ "Official UK Singles Top 100". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  40. ^ "R&B Singles Top 40". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 18, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Drake – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Drake. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  42. ^ "Drake – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Drake. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  43. ^ "Drake – Chart history" Billboard Hot Rap Songs for Drake. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
  44. ^ "Drake – Chart history" Billboard Pop Songs for Drake. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  45. ^ "Drake – Chart history" Billboard Rhythmic Songs for Drake. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
  46. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2015 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  47. ^ "American single certifications – Drake – The Motto". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  48. ^ "Best of 2012 - Hot 100 Songs". Retrieved 2012-12-14. 
  49. ^ "R&B/Hip-Hop Songs - 2012 Year End Charts". Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  50. ^ "Rap Songs - 2012 Year End Charts". Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  51. ^ "Urban Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on November 29, 2011. Retrieved November 29, 2011. 
  52. ^ a b c "CHR – Available for Airplay Archive". FMQB. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2011. 
  53. ^ "The Motto (feat. Lil Wayne & Tyga) – Single by Drake". April 6, 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2012.