Turn Down for What

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"Turn Down for What"
Turn Down For What - Single.jpg
Single by DJ Snake and Lil Jon
Released December 18, 2013
Recorded 2012
Genre
Length 3:50
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) DJ Snake
Producer(s)
DJ Snake singles chronology
"Turn Down for What"
(2013)
"Get Low"
(2014)
"Turn Down for What"
(2013)
"Get Low"
(2014)
Lil Jon singles chronology
"Hard White (Up in the Club)"
(2011) Hard White (Up in the Club)2011
"Turn Down for What"
(2013) Turn Down for What2013
"Bend Ova"
(2014) Bend Ova2014
Music video
"Turn Down For What" on YouTube

"Turn Down for What" is a song by DJ Snake and Lil Jon released on December 18, 2013. The song and its viral music video popularized the use of the phrase.[1][2]

Release[edit]

Lil Jon and DJ Snake had met several years prior to recording the song.[3] In December 2013, "Turn Down for What" was premiered on Columbia Records website and released via iTunes shortly after.[4] In an interview about the song, DJ Snake said,

When I hit up the big homie Jon and asked him if he wanted to be on the track, this song is a pretty balling song. He heard the beat and was instantly down with the vision. What he sent me back, though, absolutely blew my mind. I knew Jon was one of the best, but he absolutely killed it on this joint.[5]

Lil Jon said in an interview,

DJ Snake sent me the track with a sample and he wanted me to redo it with my voice. When I heard the song I was like this beat is too crazy for that sample. I wanted to make it hip and current, and the first thing that came to mind was the phrase 'Turn Down for What!'[5]

Composition[edit]

"Turn Down for What" contains the lyrics of Lil Jon's powerful and iconic voice rapping "Fire up that loud, another round of shots" and "Turn down for what" throughout the song. It also contains bass and trap music elements that are original to Atlanta, GA, Lil Jon's hometown. "Turn Down for What" is written in the E Phrygian mode and is set in common time at a moderate tempo of 100 beats per minute.

Chart performance[edit]

"Turn Down for What" entered the top 10 on Billboard's Dance/Electronic chart during the last week of December.[6] In January 2014, the single entered the top 5 on the Dance/Electronic chart and debuted at No. 38 on Billboard's Hot 100.[7] It peaked at number 4 on the chart, becoming DJ Snake's first and Lil Jon's ninth top ten, and was certified gold in February 2014.[8][9] It reached its first million copies sold in the U.S. in March 2014.[10] The song reached its 3 million sales mark in July 2014.[11] It became the seventh best-selling song of 2014 in the US with 3,449,000 copies sold for the year.[12]

Critical response[edit]

"Turn Down for What" received generally positive reviews from music critics and publications. Rolling Stone voted "Turn Down For What" as the second best song of the year 2014, saying, "The year's nutsiest party jam was also the perfect protest banger for a generation fed up with everything. DJ Snake brings the synapse-rattling EDM and Southern trap music; Lil Jon brings the dragon-fire holler for a hilarious, glorious, glowstick-punk fuck you." [13] In January 2015, "Turn Down for What" was ranked at No. 9, tied with Beyoncé's "Flawless", on The Village Voice's annual year-end Pazz & Jop critics' poll.

Music video[edit]

An accompanying music video for "Turn Down for What" was directed by the filmmaking duo DANIELS,[14] composed of Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, and released on March 13, 2014. The clip stars co-director Daniel Kwan with Sunita Mani. He explained: "For a while Daniel and I had been wanting to explore male sexuality in a really weird way. For some reason our brains came up with this image, and this other universe where dudes are so pumped up on their own dicks—and they’re so into their testosterone—that the way that they show that is by breaking shit with their dicks. So, whatever happens, that would just be a funny logical progression."[14]

Jason Newman of Rolling Stone described the video as "perfect insanity" and added, "It's hard to pinpoint specifically what makes the video for DJ Snake and Lil Jon's 'Turn Down for What' so compelling and ripe for repeat viewings."[15] Edwin Ortiz of Complex called it "incredibly absurd and awesome" and wrote, "The hard-hitting EDM record delivers an undeniable vibe that listeners can't help but mosh out to, and that's clearly evident in the accompanying music video."[16] Writing for Idolator, Robbie Daw said the video "takes things to a whole new level of WTF-ness not quite seen before."[17]

The music video won Best Direction for DANIELS and was nominated for MTV Clubland Award, Best Art Direction, and Best Visual Effects at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards and Best Music Video at the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Remixes[edit]

On April 26, 2014, the official remix featuring Juicy J, 2 Chainz and French Montana was released, followed by the second official remix on April 28, 2014, titled the Dancehall Remix, featuring Chi Ching Ching, Assassin and Konshens, and a third release on May 7, 2014 titled "Turn Down for What (Lil Jon Remix)", featuring Pitbull and Ludacris.[18][19][20]

Usage in media[edit]

"Turn Down for What" has been featured in various films, commercials and television programs. Uses include a TV commercial for Sol Republic, to introduce a wireless speaker, which aired in October 2013.[21] The song was used in the films 22 Jump Street and, briefly, Furious 7, and in the trailers for Horrible Bosses 2[22]and Brick Mansions. In May 2014, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Rogen and Zac Efron danced dressed as girls to the song during an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.[23] In July 2014, Robin Wright also danced to the song during an appearance on The Tonight Show.[24]

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres created a spoof of the Lincoln Motor Company commercial starring Matthew McConaughey using a portion of the song.

In October 2014, Lil Jon and various other celebrities appeared in an online video that featured a remix of the song, renamed to "Turn Out for What", that was organized by Rock the Vote and intended to encourage young people to vote in the upcoming elections.[25]

On October 15, 2014, Michelle Obama posted a video clip of herself dancing to "Turn Down For What" while holding a turnip [26] as a Vine response to US comedian and impressionist Iman Crosson's post hashtagged #AskTheFirstLady.[27] In Alphacat's original post Michelle Obama was asked, "On average how many calories do you burn every time you 'turn up'?!" Her response was "Turnip for what?" The Vine was posted as part of a Q&A organised by the First Lady’s office to promote her Let's Move! healthy lifestyle campaign.[28]

In 2015, Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for their film Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip and its soundtrack.

In December 2014, a portion of the song was used in an AT&T Wireless commercial announcing the "completion" of their network export's goal of providing improved LTE connectivity.[29]

In March 2015, Disney Channel used the song in a promo for the "Tune in 4 What?" 4 night event, which promoted new episodes of Liv and Maddie, Dog With a Blog, Jessie, Austin & Ally, I Didn't Do It, Girl Meets World, and K.C. Undercover.

In April 2017, the song was featured in a Saturday Night Live commercial parody called "Turtle Shirt".[30]

In November 2017, "Turn Down For What?" was the title of a research paper in the American Journal of Transplantation written by Mary Grace Bowring, Dorry Segev, and colleagues, about the decision to turn down offers of certain deceased donor kidneys for transplantation.[31]

In January 2018, figure skater Jimmy Ma started using the song in his routine.[32]

Mexican luchador Blue Panther Jr. uses the song as his entrance music.

The Atlanta Falcons play the song in their pregame intros and when they score a touchdown.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[69] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[70] 3× Platinum 240,000^
Italy (FIMI)[71] Gold 15,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[72] Gold 7,500*
Sweden (GLF)[73] Platinum 40,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[74] Gold 400,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[75] 5× Platinum 5,000,000[12]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ "A Complete List Of People Who Asked Me To Define 'Turn Down For What' Over The Weekend". The Huffington Post. 
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  75. ^ "American single certifications – DJ Snake & Lil Jon – Turn Down For What". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH