Hips Don’t Lie by Columbian singer and dancer, Shakira stands out as one of the most popular songs of the 21st century. The song has roots in Spanish-American culture but it has definitely touched people of different cultures around the world. Growing up in America, I heard the song so much that I didn’t even know it wasn’t from an American Artist until I saw Shakira perform at the 2014 World Cup. According to The Rolling Stone, Hips Don’t Lie hit number one in 55 different countries which is incredibly rare for a song to do.
The way it was able to cross the cultural divide was by being so danceable. Hips don’t lie may be one of the most danced to songs of the 21st century. It was originally written by Wyclef Jean for Lauryn Hill, titled “Lips Don’t Lie” but it ended up in Shakira’s hands and she turned it into a salsa dance song. This is how it was able to reach most cultures. Everyone loves to dance.
The song wasn’t always like this though. When Wyclef Jean gave the song to Lauryn Hill who walked out on it, it was more of a slow, love song. However, with Shakira’s input, they effectively transformed it into a club banger by adding a hard-hitting reggae beat and an emphatic trumpet loop from the 1992 salsa hit “Amores Como el Nuestro”. The tempo was allegretto. It was just fast enough to keep up with while jumping around the whole song. The lyrics are also very easy to sing along with. She adds pauses in the beat so the listener can shout along with her. Wyclef
Jean is featured on the track. Jean is also a cross-cultural rapper. He was born in Haiti and could rap in French, English, Spanish, German, and even Japanese. So many different cultures could relate with him to an extent. All things considered, they built the perfect formula for a cross-cultural song.
Article by Huey Instagram: @chukieoj