Is there a specific term for the syncopated "ayy / eh" chant in pop?
February 26, 2015 10:43 AM   Subscribe

I've noticed that in some contemporary pop, especially songs drawing inspiration from hip-hop, have a chanted syllable on the off-beats that sounds like "ayy" or "eh". For example - 0:31 in "Fancy", 0:40 in "Turn Down For What", 0:48 in "Imma Be". Is there a term for this?
posted by LSK to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's an article about it from the Chicago Tribune. The author mentions how it goes back at least as far as Sam Cooke, although he only really talks about its prevalence in pop and modern folk.

Not sure why it would need to have a name, though.
posted by pipeski at 10:55 AM on February 26, 2015

It's almost certainly not any kind of official term, but in this clip of DJ Mustard breaking down the beat he produced for Kid Ink's Show Me, he refers to adding in his "traditional heys".
posted by mhum at 3:29 PM on February 26, 2015

The contemporary use I think probably comes from rappers recording adlib backup vocals. In the last 10 years especially it's been popular for producers to sample these bits and add them right into beats to fill space and keep time. There's a certain set of samples in this vein that get used a lot because people who make sample packs - commercial or not, sometimes advertised as a producer's "official signature sounds" - shamelessly repackage stuff they got from wherever - so certain sounds are just floating around out there. There's a particular lofi/digitized sounding "hey" that everybody has for example. I'm not sure off the top of my head whether the Mustard "hey" was one of these before he got big but it certainly is now.

That doesn't give you a term for it but it does give some background.
posted by atoxyl at 1:33 PM on February 27, 2015

I always trace the recent resurgence to Lupe Fiasco's Dumb it Down (circa 2007). I've heard it in dozens of songs since then, but I didn't notice any hip hop/popular songs that used it prior to that (to account for the recent resurgence).
posted by cashman at 10:31 AM on March 3, 2015

(So call it the Lupe-Ayy.)
posted by cashman at 10:32 AM on March 3, 2015

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