Yep, That's Right. I Do Not Like Ella Mai's 'Boo'd Up.' Mmhmm. Shonuff. I'm Lying

Illustration for article titled Yep, That's Right. I Do Not Like Ella Mai's 'Boo'd Up.' Mmhmm. Shonuff. I'm Lying
Photo: Leon Bennett (Getty Images)

I’m not saying that I’m out of the loop, but I just found out today that the MTV Video Music Awards were yesterday. I had no idea they were happening, not the slightest inkling. I’m only sharing this because I saw that everybody’s boo, Ella Mai, was nominated for Song of The Summer for her better-late-than-never, they-play-this-song-every-10-minutes banger, “Boo’d Up.” The song did not win at the VMAs, losing out to Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin’s “I Like It,” which, given the year Cardi is having, makes sense.

But I’m not sure any other song truly encapsulates the summer of 2018 like “Boo’d Up.” Let me be clear: I do not like this song. You might ask yourself, “How can anybody not like this song, especially you, P?”


It’s a fair question. This song is the musical equivalent of a black movie starring Vivica A. Fox and Clifton Powell. The word “boo” plays prominently. The term “boo’d up,” a pretty black term if ever there was one, is the title. The song itself is about, well, love, but the version of love that doesn’t pay any bills. To that end, “Boo’d Up” is like the 2018 version of one of my favorite songs of all time, “Tell Me,” by Groove Theory, easily one of the best and most ’90s songs that ever existed.

So why don’t you like it, again?

It ain’t because of the beat; I like the beat. It sounds like nothing else on the radio. It’s relaxed and chill and not synth bass heavy. I feel about this beat kind of like how I felt when I heard Dej Loaf’s “Try Me”; simple, effective and ultimately dope. It has a wavy, smoothed out, simplistic throwback vibe. Produced by both DJ Mustard and Rance Dopson of 1500 or Nothin’ fame, “Boo’d Up’s” beat simply gets the job done. It’s about as smooth as Zhané’s “Hey Mr. DJ,” one of the smoothest songs of all time. I mean, if you let “Boo’d Up” ride, it ... rides, whether cruisin’ in a Sikh’s cab or Montero jeep.

Um ... what else you got, P? You keep telling us what’s right about it.

Oh, don’t worry. I’m getting there, because for real, doggysnacks, I’m not feelin’ it at all.

But it’s not because of her vocals. I mean, she ain’t going to be singing in my church if she shows up, but lots of folks won’t be. Tevin Campbell, though. Tevin can sing in my church.



Sorry, I got sidetracked. Either way, the vocals on the song fit the beat like a glove. There’s no place you can’t go where repeating “boo’d up, boo’d up” isn’t appropriate. For instance, I went to get my oil changed yesterday and the guy asked me what kind of oil I wanted to use for my car and I just said, “Listen to my heart go ba-dum, boo’d up, Biddy-da-dum, boo’d up,” and he was like, “Mr. Jackson, say no more. Your car will be done in 30 minutes.” Sure, none of that is true but it could be true and that’s what really matters.

Ella Mai sings like she’s believes the words that are coming out of her mouth. Like, she’s so far from where Adele was writing the majority of 21 that you almost want to say “awwww, you go, boo” all through the song. It’s so saccharine.


And apparently I’m not the only one who feels this way. It’s spent the past 20 weeks on the charts. TWENTY. It’s been on the charts since April, DESPITE being an offering on her 2017 EP, Ready. Folks wanted this song to win. So it won, reaching as high as No. 5 on the Billboard Top 1oo charts, but No. 1 in the hearts and minds of black America, which is the only place that really matters.

So, P ... are you sure you hate this song?  

Absolutely. If I never hear it again, it will be too soon. After this last few thousand times.


Editor’s Note: I started out writing this post wanting to talk about how much I disliked this song. That went to shit very quickly the more I thought about it and realized that perhaps I don’t dislike it, I dislike how often I hear it when I’m not trying to hear it. And that is stupid because a banger is a banger. — Mgmt.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.



I don’t understand how Boo’d Up became the big Ella Mai jam when She Don’t is far superior