Lay It on Me (Kelly Rowland song)

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"Lay It on Me"
Kelly Rowland - Lay It On Me.jpg
Single by Kelly Rowland featuring Big Sean
from the album Here I Am
ReleasedAugust 16, 2011 (2011-08-16)
LabelUniversal Motown
Kelly Rowland singles chronology
"Lay It on Me"
"Down for Whatever"
Big Sean singles chronology
"Marvin & Chardonnay"
"Lay It on Me"
"Dance (Ass)"

"Lay It on Me" is a song by American singer Kelly Rowland featuring two rap verses from American rapper Big Sean, taken from Rowland's third studio album Here I Am (2011). The contemporary R&B and Hi-NRG song was written by Sean, Ester Dean and Chauncy "Hit-Boy" Hollis who also produced the song. "Lay It On Me" has a piano-driven melody and is laced with 808s and high NRG beats; the lyrics centre on Rowland describing sexual encounters with a lover.

The song was serviced to US rhythmic radio on August 16, 2011 by Universal Motown as the album's second (and last) single in the United States, and later in 2012 as the album's fourth international single. An accompanying music video features interactions with Sean, as well as scenes including Rowland stroking an elephant and dancing with a troupe of black dancers against a white backdrop. It was shot back-to-back with the video for Rowland's third international single, "Down for Whatever", with director Sarah Chatfield and choreographer Frank Gatson, Jr..

Rowland and Sean performed the song live for the first time on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on September 26, 2011. "Lay It On Me" was met with a positive response from music critics who generally praised the sex appeal of the song, progressive production and suggestive lyrics. It has peaked at number 43 one US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and although it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, it appeared on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart at number 9. Internationally, "Lay It On Me" failed to match the success of previous singles, peaking at both 69 in the UK and Japan.

Background and composition[]

"First of all, she's amazing. Her energy, she's just so bright. She's just happy. I love making music with people who love what they do… I can tell she really wants this shit too. It was perfect. I love that song too. And she sexy too."

Big Sean telling to Billboard's column The Juice about the collaboration.[3]

Following the success of her previous single "Motivation" (featuring Lil Wayne)," which peaked and remained at number-one on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for multiple weeks, Rowland opted to follow up the song with another R&B song titled "Lay It on Me".[1] It features rapper Big Sean and an up-"tempo" melody with a 808s and high NRG-led production that features a "tinkling piano" melody and light R&B beat.[1][4] Written by Ester Dean, Big Sean and produced by Chauncey "Hit-Boy" Hollis, the lyrics of the song see Rowland tells her man exactly what she wants with lines such as "I wanna just kiss you now, I wanna just touch you now, I wanna just give you all my love tonight." Big Sean follows with equally sexual lines like "The king of California kings/ You gotta call me sire/ Watch me lay it down/ And I ain't even tired."[1] "Lay It on Me" debuted on June 14, 2011, through various online media and websites.[5][6] The song's producer Hitboy tweeted that the version that had appeared online was an unfinished version.[2] The finished version appeared online on July 17, 2011 featuring an additional verse from Sean.[7] The artwork for the single is taken from the album artwork photoshoot, which was photographed by Derek Blanks with make-up by Latasha Wright and hairstyling by Kimberly Kimble.[8]

Critical reception[]

"Lay it on Me" received mixed to positive reviews from music critics. A reviewer from the Sydney Star Observer described the song as a "slinky club banger," which was catchy and had the potential to be "another winner" for Rowland.[9] Contessa Gayles was also positive of the song commenting that it had some of the same sentiments as Rowland's 2010 single "Commander", describing "Lay It on Me" as Rowland "coming on strong and telling her man just what she wants in this up-tempo, feelgood love song with just the right amount of sexy."[10] MTV Buzzworthy's Jenna Hally Rubenstein praised the song's "dopeness," stating that Rowland uses "Lay It on Me" to show "how she likes to uhhhh, get down." Rubenstein added that Big Sean's appearance "adds street cred to an otherwise straightforward pop/R&B record."[2] Sputnikmusic's review was favorable, writing that "it's a sleekly produced, midtempo jam that’s just oozing with come-ons and sing-songy moments."[11]

However, not all reception was positive. Ken Capobianco from The Boston Globe felt that "Lay it on Me" was amongst other generic songs on the album. In his review Capobianco said the song did nothing to help Rowland "establish her singularity" as the "diagramed arrangements" were "new iterations of the formula set out for many other female pop and R&B artists."[12] Entertainment Weekly's Adam Markowitz somewhat agreed, calling much of the album "unambitious" but noting "Lay it on Me" as a "cocky comeon."[13] Alison Stewart from The Washington Post said "Lay it on Me" was typical of the "low octane songs" favored on Here I Am. Stewart describes Big Sean's guest appearance as lazy, noting that "nobody seems to be trying particularly hard, especially Big Sean, who sounds like he’s spitting his verse with one eye on the door."[14]

Music video[]

The music video for "Lay It On Me" was filmed in early September 2011 with British fashion photographer and director Sarah Chatfield. It is the third time that Rowland has worked with Chatfield following the videos for "Forever and a Day" (2010) and "Motivation" (2011). The video for Rowland's next single ("Down for Whatever" featuring The WAV.s) will also be filmed back to back with "Lay it on Me."[15] It was co-directed and choreographed by Frank Gatson, Jr. who also worked with Rowland on "Motivation."[16]

Concept[] revealed the first images from the video on September 9, 2011, depicting Rowland in a gold leotard and rapper Big Sean (who is featured on the song) sat in on some gold steps while Rowland lies on the next step up.[16] In another scene, Rowland "commands shirtless male dancers" while dressed in a "skin-bearing leotard" and metal bra.[16] Other scenes include Rowland posing with a foil cape and interacting with an elephant.[16] Entertainment website Idolator described Rowland as getting up close and personal with the hunky male dancers as well as playing with Suzy the baby elephant. Hip Hollywood unveiled some behind the scenes footage on September 8, 2011.[17] Rap-Up magazine revealed further behind the scenes footage from the shoot on September 14, 2011.[18] Rowland's official website posted a sneak peek of the video on September 29, 2011.[19] The full video was released on October 12, 2011.


Idolator's Robbie Daw wrote a positive reception, commenting: "There’s plenty of not-so-subtle imagery, such as when Kelly stretches out a Slinky and rubs it all over her body (kids, really don’t try this at home), and her co-star Susie The Elephant takes its trunk and, er, lays it on Rowland. Perfect visual for a sexy song that picks up right where Kelly’s steamy summer hit “Motivation” left off."[20] MTV News's Jocelyn Vena wrote that "Rowland puts her sexuality on full display, wearing several skin-baring bodysuits. The R&B singer shows some sexual swagger as she grinds, rubs and sizes up a bevy of men."[21] A publication of Rap-Up wrote that "the R&B diva piles on more sex as she gets intimate with her half-naked male co-stars (woah der), fondles a slinky, cozies up to an elephant, and flirts with Big Sean."[22]

Live performances[]

Rowland and Big Sean performed the song on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on September 26, 2011.[23] Rowland also performed the song as an opening act for the North American leg of Chris Brown's the F.A.M.E. Tour.[24]

Credits and personnel[]

Recording information[6]
  • "Big Sean" Anderson – guest rap vocals, songwriter
  • Ester Dean – songwriter and vocal production
  • Aubry "Big Juice" Delaine – recording and vocal recording engineer
  • Jesus Garnica – assistant audio mixer
  • Chris Gehringer – audio mastering engineer
  • Chauncey "Hit-Boy" Hollis – songwriter, producer, programming
  • Jaycen Joshua – audio mixer


Chart (2011) Peak
Japan Hot 100[25] 69
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[26] 69
UK R&B (The Official Charts Company)[27] 19
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles[28] 9
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[29] 43

Radio and release history[]

List of radio dates with formats and record labels
Country Date Format Label
United States August 16, 2011[30] Rhythmic contemporary radio Universal Motown
September 6, 2011[31] Urban radio
United Kingdom January 4, 2012[32] Radio airplay Universal Island
February 5, 2012[33] Impact day


  1. ^ Jump up to: a b c d Benjamin, Jeff (2011-06-14). "Kelly Rowland Recruits Big Sean for Second Single, 'Lay It on Me': Listen". Billboard. (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved 2011-06-20.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b c Rubenstein, Jenna Hally (2011-06-15). "New Song: Kelly Rowland 'Lay It On Me,' Featuring Big Sean". MTV Buzzworthy (MTV Networks). Archived from the original on 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
  3. ^ Ramirez, Erika (12 October 2011). "Kelly Rowland Turns Up the Heat In 'Lay It On Me': Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  4. ^ Corner, Lewis (2011-06-15). "Kelly Rowland unveils new single 'Lay It On Me'". Digital Spy. (Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 2011-06-20.
  5. ^ France, Lisa Respers (2011-06-16). "Obsessions: Is it finally Kelly Rowland's time?". Cable News Network. (CNN). Retrieved 2011-06-20.
  6. ^ Jump up to: a b c Here I Am (booklet). Kelly Rowland. Universal Republic, Motown (Universal Music). 2011.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  7. ^ "Kelly Rowland's Lay It On Me Final version". Idolator. (Buzz Media). 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2011-07-22.
  8. ^ Adickman, Erika Brooks (2011-07-28). Kelly Rowland’s ‘Here I Am’ Photo Shoot: Behind The Scenes. Idolator. (BuzzMedia). Event occurs at 2:02. Retrieved 2011-08-07.
  9. ^ "Kelly Rowland new single". Sydney Star Observer. (Gay and Lesbian Community Publishing Limited). 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-06-20.
  10. ^ Gayles, Contessa (2011-06-14). "Kelly Rowland Lays Out New Single 'Lay It on Me' Feat. Big Sean". (AOL). Retrieved 2011-06-20.
  11. ^ C. Urrutia, Ian Emmanuel (September 8, 2011). "Kelly Rowland – Here I Am (album review) – Sputnikmusic". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
  12. ^ Capobianco, Ken (2011-07-25). "Kelly Rowland, 'Here I Am'". The Boston Globe. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  13. ^ Markowitz, Adam (2011-07-20). "Here I Am review – Kelly Rowland Review". Entertainment Weekly. Time Inc./CNN. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  14. ^ Stewart, Allison (2011-07-25). "Quick spin: 'Here I Am' by Kelly Rowland". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-07-26.
  15. ^ "Kelly Rowland to Shoot Two New Videos". Rap-Up ( 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  16. ^ Jump up to: a b c d "First Look at Kelly Rowland's Lay It on Me Video with Big Sean". 2011-09-08. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  17. ^ "Kelly Rowland Lay It on Me Behind the Scenes". Idolator (Buzzmedia). 2011-09-09. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  18. ^ "Rap-Up TV: On Set of Kelly Rowland and Big Sean's 'Lay It on Me' Video". 2011-09-14. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
  19. ^ Rowland, Kelly (2011-09-29). "Here's a taste of Kelly's official music video for "Lay it on Me" ft. Big Sean". Archived from the original on 2011-11-07. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
  20. ^ Daw, Robbie (12 October 2011). "Kelly Rowland Lays All Over A Bunch Of Shirtless Men In "Lay It On Me" Video". Idolator. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  21. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (12 October 2011). "Kelly Rowland Drops Super Sexy 'Lay It On Me' Video Big Sean and a bevy of studly guys also join Kelly in latest clip". MTV News. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  22. ^ " II VIDEO: KELLY ROWLAND F/ BIG SEAN – 'LAY IT ON ME'". Rap-Up. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  23. ^ "Kelly Rowland Performs with Big Sean on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' [Video]". 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
  24. ^ "Kelly Rowland - Lay It On me (F.A.M.E. Tour) [LIVE]". YouTube. September 18, 2011.
  25. ^ "Top 100 Music Hits, Top 100 Music Charts, Top 100 Songs & The Hot 100". Retrieved 2011-12-23.
  26. ^ "Official UK Singles Top 100 – 4th February 2012 | The UK Charts | Top 40 | Official Charts Company". Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
  27. ^ "R&B Singles Top 40 – 18th February 2012". Official Charts. Archived from the original on 2012-01-06. Retrieved 2012-02-12.
  28. ^
  29. ^ "Current Singles – Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2011-07-23.(registration required)
  30. ^ "Home > Top 40/Rhythmic-Crossover > Future Releases". All Access. (All Access Media Group). 2011-07-25. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  31. ^ "®R&R :: Going For Adds™ :: Urban". 2011-09-06. Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
  32. ^ "BBC – Radio 1 – Playlist – 4 January". BBC Radio 1. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012.
  33. ^ "Singles Release Diary". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2012-01-05.

External links[]

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