Why does every song on the radio right now have a guy chanting “hey”?

I don’t really listen to hip-hop music. Nevertheless, while occasionally listening to top hits radio stations over the last several months, I’ve noticed an odd trend. There are lots of songs that seem to feature a guy (or group of guys) chanting “hey” repeatedly in the background. To make matters even stranger… every song seems to be using the exact same sound sample for the “hey.” It’s literally the exact same chant put in the back of tons of songs.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this YouTube video…

So what’s going on here? Where did this get started? Read on to find out.

Apparently, it can all be blamed on a guy named Dijon McFarlane, or “DJ Mustard.”

DJ Mustard

It’s all his fault. And yes, that’s a bottle of mustard around his neck. (Credit: Jon Fatlace)

DJ Mustard has served as producer for dozens of recent hip-hop singles and, on almost every one of those hits, he’s included two signature elements. First, at some point at the beginning of the track, someone will slur out “Mustard on the beat.” Look for it. It’s there. Second, nearly every one of his tracks includes a signature “hey hey hey” chant. But even Mustard’s use of similar elements in all of his tracks wouldn’t be so bad if he wasn’t so darn influential.

In fact, Mustard’s style has become so popular that other artists, DJs, and producers have started emulating it – leading Billboard to describe it as the “sound of 2014.” Perhaps the most popular and recognizable song of the summer to feature the trademark chant was Iggy Azalea’s chart-topping Fancy. Though not produced by Mustard himself, the song was the subject of controversy surrounding accusations that it was a ripoff of Mustard’s style.

So, that’s why every song right now features a guy chanting “hey” over and over again in the background, ad nauseam. And, if you hadn’t noticed it by the time you read this post, I’m sorry. Once you hear it, it’s impossible to unhear it.

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