Shakira and Wyclef Jean bridged cultures when they joined forces for “Hips Don’t Lie.” Released in 2006 as the second single off Shakira’s album Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, “Hips Don’t Lie” was a massive success, hitting No. 1 in multiple countries, including the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Latin Songs in the U.S. and the UK Singles chart.
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The lyrics of “Hips Don’t Lie” were primarily written by Shakira and Jean, with Shakira’s drummer Archie Pena also getting credit for helping to compose the melody. Since “Hips Don’t Lie” borrows from Jean’s previously released 2004 single, “Dance Like This,” his co-writers Omar Alfanno, LaTavia Parker, Luis Dias and Jerry Duplessis are also credited.
Meet the Primary Songwriters of “Hips Don’t Lie”
Shakira was born and raised in the South American country of Colombia as the daughter of a father with Lebanese ancestry and a mother who was a native of Colombia. Shakira got her start as a writer when she composed her first poem at the age of four, writing poems throughout childhood that eventually turned into songs. She signed a record deal with Sony Music Colombia in 1990 when she was 13 years old and released her debut album, Magia, in 1991. She released her breakthrough album in Latin America, Pies Descalzos, in 1995 that featured hits “Estoy Aquí,” ‘Antología,” “Un Poco de Amor” and others.
Shakira has 12 studio albums to her name, four of which have debuted inside the top 10 on the Billboard 200. In addition to “Hips Don’t Lie,” she’s also known for hits “Whenever, Wherever,” “Que Me Quedes Tú,” “Beautiful Liar” featuring Beyonce, “She Wolf,” “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” and more. With record sales topping 85 million worldwide, Shakira is regarded as the highest-selling Colombian artist and female Latin artist in history.
“Shakira’s music has a personal stamp that doesn’t look like anyone else’s and no one can sing or dance like her, at whatever age, with such an innocent sensuality, one that seems to be of her own invention,” Colombian writer and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Márquez once commented about the singer, according to BMI.
Shakira’s collaborator Wyclef Jean was born in Haiti in 1969, emigrating with his family to New York City at the age of nine before they moved to Newark, New Jersey. Jean got his start in the influential 1990s hip-hop group Fugees alongside Lauryn Hill and Pras Michel. Their second and final studio album The Score is largely considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. The band’s success set Wycelf up for a thriving career as a solo artist. In 1997, he released his debut solo album, Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival, which earned critical acclaim and spawned hits “We Trying to Stay Alive,” “Gone till November” and “Cheated (To All the Girls).”
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One of Jean’s biggest claims to fame is “Hips Don’t Lie,” which is one of the best-selling singles of all time with sales north of 10 million copies. Over the years, Jean has collaborated with a myriad of artists, including Destiny’s Child and Carlos Santana’s No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart “No, No, No” and “Maria Maria,” respectively. Ying Yang Twins, T.I. and Fall Out Boy are among the other vast-ranging artists he’s worked with.
Jean has also served as a voice for his native country. In 2001, he launched Yéle Haiti, known as the Wyclef Jean Foundation, which has provided scholarships for students and aided in disaster relief in his home country. In 2010, he attempted to run for president of Haiti but was ultimately denied by the Provisional Electoral Council on account of not having lived in the country for five years up to the election date. Following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Jean helped put together the telethon Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, which raised more than $61 million for relief efforts.
Jean has released nine studio albums to date, the most recent being Wyclef Goes Back to School Volume 1 in 2019.
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