Girish Mahajan (Editor)

2 On

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Format  Digital download
Genre  Electro-R&B
Label  RCA
Recorded  2013
Length  3:51
2 On
Released  January 21, 2014 (2014-01-21)

"2 On" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Tinashe for her debut studio album Aquarius (2014). The song, which features a rap verse from American rapper SchoolBoy Q, was written by Tinashe, Schoolboy Q, Bobby Brackins, DJ Mustard, Jon Redwine, and Marley Waters. It features an interpolation of the 2005 single "We Be Burnin'" by Jamaican recording artist Sean Paul, resulting in writing credits for Cezar Cunningham, Sean Paul, Steven Marsden, Delano Thomas, Michael Jarrett, and Craig Serani Marsh. "2 On" was released as Tinashe's commercial debut single from Aquarius on January 21, 2014 and was sent to US rhythmic contemporary and urban contemporary radio on March 18, 2014.


"2 On" is an electro-R&B song that contains elements of trap production. Lyrically, the song is a party song about living life to the fullest. Music critics mostly praised the song for its sound and carefree lyrics, "2 On" was also noted by critics as a departure from Tinashe's murky alternative R&B that was heard in her previous work. The single peaked at number twenty four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and being certified platinum by the RIAA, the song also appeared on several commercial charts around the world, including Australia and Belgium.

An accompanying music video for the track was directed by Hannah Lux Davis and was released on March 24, 2014, with Tinashe dancing among several different scenes. To further promote the song Tinashe made various live performances including the SXSW Festival, the Power 106 LA concert, Capital Xtra, Rinse FM, V100.7/Milwaukee's Family Affair and The Wendy Williams Show. Canadian rapper Drake, released an unofficial rework of the song to his Soundcloud account, the song consists of two parts, the new version of "2 On" and "Thotful". An official Spanish remix featuring reggaeton singer Randy was released on November 18, 2014, included later on his mixtape Under Doxis.


"2 On" was written by Tinashe, Schoolboy Q and Bobby Brackins and produced by DJ Mustard, Jon Redwine and DJ Marley Waters. It is nightclub-oriented, which contrasts with Tinashe's previous work such as her 2013 mixtape Black Water. She stated: "I wanted '2 On' to be transitional, so people get used to the idea of, 'She can make songs that can play on the radio, and she can still make songs that I can vibe out to in my car.'" "2 On" was released worldwide as a music download by RCA Records on January 21, 2014. It impacted US rhythmic contemporary and urban contemporary radio on March 18, 2014.


"2 On" is an electronic R&B song, marking a slight departure from the murky alternative R&B from her mixtapes. The song features "effervescent keys", "synth-string accents", finger snaps, trap hi-hats, electro beats and distant chilly sighs, the latter which Bradley Stern of MuuMuse described as more reminiscent of her mixtape releases. The song features a sample of Sean Paul's 2005 single "We Be Burnin'", with the line "Just give me the trees and we can smoke it ya/Just give me the drink and we can pour it ya" featured in the middle eight. As a result, the song's writers (Cezar Cunningham, Sean Paul Henriques, Steven Marsden, Delano Thomas, Michael Jarrett, and Craig Serani Marsh) are credited.

Lyrically, the song is a carpe-diem anthem about being "super hyped up, super extra out on whatever emotion that it is." Although the song became her first hit and got a lot of people buzzing about the song, some listeners didn't really understand the concept of the meaning of "2 On." She spoke with VladTV to address this by saying "2 On is basically a new way of saying turn up. Being super hyped up with your friends when going out. I just wanted to come up with a fresh phrase that people can catch on to."


J. Leeds of the online publication Idolator praised the song's production calling it a "It a club thumper" and comparing the music video choreography to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson Tom Breihan of Stereogum commented on the throwback feel from the track saying "2 On recreates some of the tropes of the late-’90s/early-’00s teenpop/R&B crossover era, but it does it within quotes" and also comparing the video having an Aaliyah vibe on it. Gotty, a writer for The Smoking Section, commented that "made me want to rollerskate. Maybe not as rhythmic and polished as Tip and them did in ATL but I could definitely hit the rink, do a little bop once I get some speed and cut the corners." Gotty also commended DJ Mustard's production, writing "it’s not necessarily what we’ve come to expect as his signature sound and that’s a good thing here."

Bradley Stern of MuuMuse classified the song as a "female version of Tyga‘s “Rack City” and 2 Chainz‘ “I’m Different” (both also produced by Mustard) mixed with the icy flow of Cassie‘s “Me & U,” blending #TurnUp club culture (TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?!) with hypnotic minimal beats — it’s all sorts of sexy." Jon Ali, in his blog, appraised the song as "a hot slow-burning R&B number packed with an icy electro beat and a infectious chorus loaded with plenty of memorable sexual come-ons. The song works so well in its simplicity" and the sample used as "all sorts of perfect." A writer for Fact Magazine opined that "Tinashe and Mustard are a surprisingly potent pairing, but we hoped rappers would leave the “beat the pussy up” schtick in the bin." John Kennedy of Billboard noted that "ScHoolboy Q's rambunctious bars give this feel-good smash just the right amount of scruffiness." "2 On" was labeled an album highlight by several critics.

Following its release the song has peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 53 on the UK Singles Chart and stayed at number one for four weeks on the Billboard Rhythmic Charts. As of August 8, 2014, "2 On" has sold 473,000 downloads in the US. On November 24, 2014 the song was certified Platinum by RIAA for selling 1,000,000 copies.


The song's official music video, directed by Hannah Lux Davis, was released on March 24, 2014. Speaking about the choreography, handled by JaQuel Knight, in the video, Tinashe listed Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson and Britney Spears as her inspirations, "I was always super frustrated when people stopped dancing in their videos because I thought that was such a great part of it. I really want to bring that back."

Tinashe first performed the song at SXSW Festival 2014. Also, at the Power 106 LA concert, Capital Xtra, Rinse FM, V100.7/Milwaukee's Family Affair, The Vipor Room and Hot 97's Who's Next. Drake also invited her on stage to perform the remix to the song in Houston. Tinashe performed the song on The Wendy Williams Show on July 21, 2014.

Cover versions

On May 12, 2014, OB O'Brien posted an unofficial rework of the song to his Soundcloud account, featuring vocals from Drake. The song consists of two parts, the new version of "2 On" and "Thotful". The song begins with O'Brien singing a verse before Drake takes over. The cover transitions into "Thotful", the second part of the song which according to a writer for Rap-Up magazine "toasts to the thots." The remix also features references to Wu-Tang and Flipmode and in regards to its production, J. Tinsley of The Smoking Section called it "an updated version of what a So Far Gone 2 would sound like." Reviews were positive towards Drake's take on the song. Chris DeVille of Stereogum called the track "an entertainingly moody passive-aggressive R&B/hip-hop mash the likes of which Drake patented sometime around late 2009." Jesse James of StupidDOPE lauded it as "dope showcasing of depth and lyrical prowess," adding that it "shall be heard in a number of rides, clubs, and much more very soon." Samantha Nelson of called his verse "classic Drake", deeming it a "smart take on the title of the song but makes it more dramatic" and that it "will please all of his fans." Rapper Brooke Candy released and unofficial remix on her SoundCloud on June 17, 2015. Papua New Guinean rapper Prote-J also released an unofficial remix on his SoundCloud account.

Track listing

  • Digital download
    1. "2 On" (featuring Schoolboy Q) – 3:50

    Credits and personnel

    Locations and sample
  • Mixed at Larrabee Sound Studios, North Hollywood, California
  • Contains elements of "We Be Burnin'", performed by Sean Paul and written by Cezar Cunningham, Sean Paul, Steven Marsden, Delano Thomas, Michael Jarrett and Craig Serani Marsh.
  • Personnel
  • Songwriting – Bobby Brackins, Tinashe Kachingwe, Dijon "DJ Mustard" McFarlane, Jon Redwine, Brendon Waters, Quincey "Schoolboy Q" Hanley, Cezar Cunningham, Sean Paul, Steven Marsden, Delano Thomas, Michael Jarrett and Craig Serani Marsh
  • Production – Dijon "DJ Mustard" McFarlane, Redwine, DJ Marley Waters
  • Mixing – Jaycen Joshua, Ryan Kaul (assistant)
  • Certifications

    Since May 9, 2013, RIAA certifications for digital singles include on-demand audio and/or video song streams in addition to downloads.


    2 On Wikipedia

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