Usher’s “Yeah!” makes music history with 1 Billion Spotify streams worldwide! It’s a rare moment when a song comes along and completely changes the game. But that’s exactly what happened when “Yeah!” dropped in 2004. It connected emergent underground trends with gleaming pop hooks and effectively recalibrated the sound of uptempo pop music. It was a blockbuster hit that shattered charts and ushered in an era where anyone could become a star by screaming over one-finger keyboard riffs.
Usher’s Yeah! Makes Music History!
Usher’s 2004 hit “Yeah!” has hit 1 billion global streams on Spotify 💿 pic.twitter.com/UDDTdRFSkj
— Rap-Up (@RapUp) May 11, 2023
The song itself is a classic in its own right, a club-friendly love song that’s equally as funky as it is sentimental. And the video for it is nothing short of groundbreaking. The first scene shows Usher in a nightclub, sitting down as a woman approaches him and attempts to seduce him. She then gets up and begins dancing with him, moving in sync with the beat as blue lasers flash around them both in the club and the dance-floor scenes that alternate throughout the clip.
But the second scene is what really made the video for “Yeah!” so revolutionary. It’s the part that’s been remixed and meme-ified to the point of ubiquity. The scene has been reimagined as various situations, from a high school graduation to paying tribute to a loved one or just a daily reminder that you’re still the king of your own personal universe.
Usher recorded “Yeah!” after he’d finished recording Confessions, his fourth album. It was a project about relationships and infidelities, and his own tabloid relationship with TLC’s Chilli had just ended. Usher had already released two singles from the album, but he needed another one to help push it out the door. And he wanted to do something different.
With 1 BILLION Spotify Streams Worldwide
So when LA Reid, his label’s new boss, told him that the record still needed a single, Usher reached out to a few hitmaking producers and came up with this idea for a collaboration with Lil Jon.
The beat is perfect for the song. It’s a club-ready production that demands total physical dedication. And Usher’s voice is a natural for that type of music. He croons like a breathy angel, leaving plenty of room for the producer to add his own interjections.
Ludacris’ guest feature is a perfect match for the track as well. He was on the rise at the time, riding high on his own #1 hit “Stand Up” and showcasing a new style of rap that was a hybrid of his zany party-guy persona and the emerging genre of crunk. He ignores Usher‘s entire storyline completely, instead focusing on talking his own exhilarating shit about being in the club and feeling that “your booty go clap.”