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"What a Man" is a song written by Dave Crawford, and originally recorded for Stax Records' Volt imprint by Linda Lyndell, whose recording reached No. 50 on the Billboard R&B chart in 1968. The song was sampled and reinterpreted as "Whatta Man" in 1993 by Salt-n-Pepa with En Vogue; the version became a commercial success, reaching the top ten in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. In 2011, the German singer Lena Meyer-Landrut (credited as Lena) covered the song while retaining the original title and lyrics.

"What a Man"
Linda Lyndell's single "What a Man".jpg
2002 UK vinyl re-release
Single by Linda Lyndell
Released1968 (United States)
Format7-inch single
Songwriter(s)David Crawford


Early versionsEdit

Linda Lyndell, a white singer who had been a support act with James Brown and Ike & Tina Turner and then recommended to Stax Records by Otis Redding, recorded "What a Man".[1] The song was essentially improvised by Lyndell, record producer Dave Crawford, and the Stax studio musicians in Memphis, Tennessee. It was released as a single in 1968 with the B-side track "I Don't Know"; both songs were credited to and produced by Dave Crawford.[2] The single entered the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart on August 24, 1968 and then peaked at number 50.[3] The record came to the attention of white supremacists in the Ku Klux Klan, who threatened Lyndell for associating with black musicians; as a result, she largely withdrew from the music business for the next 25 years.[1]

Laura Lee covered the song, released in 1970 as a single by the Cotillion Records with "Separation Line" as the B-side track.[4] Lee's version earned poor sales.[5]

Salt-n-Pepa and En Vogue versionsEdit

"Whatta Man"
Single by Salt-n-Pepa with En Vogue
from the album Very Necessary and Runaway Love
ReleasedDecember 2, 1993
RecordedAugust 1993[6]
LabelNext Plateau/London
Salt-n-Pepa singles chronology
"Whatta Man"
"None of Your Business"
En Vogue singles chronology
"What Is Love"
"Whatta Man"
"Don't Let Go (Love)"


In 1993, Salt-N-Pepa recorded the song retitled "Whatta Man" for Runaway Love, an EP by En Vogue, who is credited as the featured group. Hurby "Luv Bug" Azor wrote the rap lyrics and produced the version. Salt-N-Pepa sampled Lyndell's original recording and remade the song as a rap song throughout the recording.[7][8]

En Vogue sang the refrain of the song, "Whatta man, whatta man, whatta mighty good man."[9] While Terry Ellis and Maxine Jones sing intro, bridge, background and lead vocals, the song is predominantly led by Dawn Robinson. A pregnant Cindy Herron is only featured on background vocals. "Whatta Man" became later featured in Salt-n-Pepa's 1993 album Very Necessary and then the album's second single released that same year. En Vogue sang the entire vocals on all original and remixed versions of this song, with the exception of the male vocals at the beginning of the song which were performed by brothers Troy and John Mitchell of the rap group 3 Feet.

Critical receptionEdit

The Gavin Report wrote about the song: "Whatta concept, pairing these goddesses of hip-hop with a killer track and some of the best lines heard in a long time. Though it was getting a healthy number of spins in several markets late last year, it's now starting to bust big."[10]

Commercial performanceEdit

"Whatta Man" was a major hit for Salt-N-Pepa and En Vogue, peaking at number three on the Billboard Hot 100, and at number seven on the UK Singles Chart. In the US, this version was certified platinum.[11] It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group and the American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Single. "Whatta Man" was ranked number 23 on VH1's countdown of the 100 Greatest Songs of the 1990s.

Lyrics analysesEdit

Richard Harrington of The Washington Post interprets the song as "a celebration of strong men who stay home and care for kids."[12] Garth Baker-Fletcher, an Associate Professor of Religion from Texas College, interpreted the version's refrain as "praising a steady-thinking, family-values-yet-sexy man."[9] Writer Keith Boykin described the song portion, "Although most men are hos / He flows on the down low / Cuz I never heard about him with another girl," as if "rather than praise his faithfulness, the artists appreciate his discretion, while tacitly acknowledging his cheating." Moreover, Boykin said that "another girl" refers to Salt-N-Pepa's considerations of "heterosexual infidelity" and as if "some women [...] were publicly excusing their men for their down low behavior."[13]

Music videosEdit

A music video was released on the week ending January 17, 1994[14] to promote the single. Tupac Shakur and Treach from Naughty by Nature make cameo appearances. The single's music video, directed by Matthew Rolston and filmed by cinematographer Derek M. Allen, won three MTV Video Music Awards: Best Dance Video, Best R&B Video, and Best Choreography in 1994.[citation needed] A New York magazine journalist Dinitia Smith wrote about the video: "Salt-N-Pepa have [sic] a warmth and sexual heat that make Madonna seem contrived and mechanical."[14]

Salt-n-Pepa later recorded a variation on their own, with slightly rewritten lyrics, for another music video as the one-time segment of Monday Night Football. In the Monday music video, the two women wearing tight short-sleeved clothes, including T-shirts containing their respective logos of two opposing teams, are seen in a gym complimenting two football players of their respective teams,[15][16] one white and one black, for the men's bodies and weight training efforts.[16] In contrast, the lyrics of the Monday Night Football music video say that "their man 'likes pushin'[,] spends quality ball with the fellas,' and 'takes a big hit, 'cause he's a real man.'" According to academic Nick Trujillo of California State University, Sacramento, the rap song may associate hypermasculinity "with combat sports such as [American] football." He further said that the standard version has the women rather choose men who do not play football but are good parental candidates and are comfortable with their masculinities, while the Monday music video "not only objectifie[s] football players as sex objects but also reinforce[s] stereotypes of black men as sexual performers and white men as loving fathers."[16]

Impact and legacyEdit

The Village Voice listed "Whatta Man" number 99 in their list of "Top Singles Of The 90's" in 1999.[1]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award
1994 Won MTV Video Music Awards for Best Dance Video, Best R&B Video, and Best Choreography for "Whatta Man".
1995 Nominated for an American Music Award for Favorite Soul/R&B Single ("Whatta Man").
1995 Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group ("Whatta Man").

Track listingEdit


  1. "Whatta Man" (Video remix)
  2. "Whatta Man" (Luvbug remix)
  3. "Whatta Man" (12" Danny D remix)
  4. "Push It" (remix)
  5. "Let's Talk About AIDS"

Charts and certificationsEdit

Lena versionEdit

"What a Man"
Single by Lena
from the album Good News Platinum edition
Released2 September 2011
LabelUniversal Music
Songwriter(s)David Crawford
Lena singles chronology
"Taken by a Stranger"
"What a Man"

The 1968 Linda Lyndell/David Crawford version of the song was also covered by German singer Lena Meyer-Landrut as the theme song to the 2011 German film What a Man. It is featured on the Platinum edition her second studio album Good News, it will also feature on the Soundtrack for the movie. It was released on 2 September 2011 as CD single and Digital download in Germany, reaching number 21 on the German Singles Chart.


The single was released on 2 September 2011 for digital download on iTunes, the single included a Live version of the song "Good News". The song will be the theme song to the German movie What a Man.

Music videoEdit

A music video to accompany the release of "What a Man" was first released onto YouTube on 30 August 2011 at a total length of three minutes. The video features actor Matthias Schweighöfer.[48]

Track listingsEdit

Digital download[49]
1."What a Man"2:54
2."Good News" (Live)3:24


Chart (2011) Peak
Germany (Official German Charts)[50] 21

Release historyEdit

Region Date Label Format
Germany 2 September 2011[49] Universal Music Digital download

Other cover versions and usesEdit

The television show Bill Nye the Science Guy features "Whatta Brain", a parody of this song by En Vogue parody band En Lobe, in the episode "Brain". Australian rock band New Waver covered the song in 1994 and released their cover as a Cassingle. Funny or Die released a version of this song with Bruno Mars singing and acting out various scenes, such as arm wrestling scene with many men competitors.

The original "What A Man" was performed in the movie The Sapphires and appears on the soundtrack album. It was used as Dan Wilson's intro music when he came up to bat for the Seattle Mariners. The Salt-N-Pepa version appears in a 2016 television commercial for Walmart.

A sub-unit of South Korean girl group I.O.I from Produce 101 sampled the hook of the Salt-n-Pepa version for their song "Whatta Man," which was released on August 9, 2016.


  1. ^ a b Ankeny, James. Biography of Linda Lyndell. AllMusic. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  2. ^ "Top 20: R&B – Spotlights Predicted to Reach the Top 20 of the Top-Selling R&B Singles Chart". Billboard. July 13, 1968. p. 70. Retrieved November 18, 2016 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Joel Whitburn Presents Across the Charts: The 1960s. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 242. Retrieved November 18, 2016 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Popoff, Martin (2010). Goldmine Standard Catalog of American Records 1948–1991 (7th ed.). Krause Publications via F+W. p. 70. Retrieved November 18, 2016 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Carpenter, Bil (2005). "Laura Lee". Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia. San Francisco: Backbeat Books via United Entertainment Media. Retrieved November 18, 2016 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ "Updates from the industry".
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2000). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits. p. 215. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  8. ^ Dean, Maury (2003). "Hip Rap Soul". Rock 'n' Roll Gold Rush: A Singles Un-Cyclopedia. New York City: Algora Publishing. p. 468. ISBN 0-87586-207-1. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Baker-Fletcher, Garth Kasium (2007) [1996]. "Rap's 'Angry' Children". Xodus: An African-American Male Journey. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-8006-2918-2. Retrieved November 28, 2016 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Sholin, Dave. "Singles" (PDF). Gavin Report. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
  11. ^ "American certifications – Salt 'n Pepa – Whatta Man". Recording Industry Association of America.
  12. ^ Harrington, Richard (May 27, 1994). "Salt-N-Pepa Taking Control". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  13. ^ Boykin, Keith (2005). "Everbody's Doing It". Beyond the Down Low: Sex, Lies, and Denial in Black America. New York City: Carroll & Graf Publishers. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-78671-704-0.
  14. ^ a b Smith, Dinitia (January 17, 1994). "Straight Outta Queens: How Salt-N-Pepa Turned Rap on Its Head". New York. pp. 32–33. Retrieved November 28, 2016 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Guttmann, Allen (1996). "Erotic Athleticism and Popular Culture". The Erotic in Sports. New York City: Columbia University Press. p. 83. Retrieved November 28, 2016 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ a b c Trujillo, Nick (1995). "Machines, Missiles, and Men: Images of the Male Body on ABC's Monday Night Football". Sociology of Sport Journal. doi:10.1123/ssj.12.4.403. Republished in Contemporary Issues in Sociology of Sport (2001), edited by Andrew Yiannakis and Merrill J. Melnick. pp. 223–236. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics Inc. Reference to Salt-n-Pepa version is found in pp. 232–233.
  17. ^ " – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  18. ^ " – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  19. ^ " – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 2421." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  21. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 2395." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  22. ^ Danish Singles Chart 15 April 1994
  23. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. April 2, 1994. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  24. ^ " – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man" (in French). Les classement single.
  25. ^ " – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  26. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (19.05.1994 - 25.05.1994)" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  27. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Whatta Man". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  28. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 19, 1994" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  29. ^ " – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  30. ^ " – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man". Top 40 Singles.
  31. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  32. ^ " – Salt 'N' Pepa feat. En Vogue – Whatta Man". Singles Top 100.
  33. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  34. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  35. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  36. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa Chart History (Hot Rap Songs)". Billboard.
  37. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  38. ^ "Salt-N-Pepa Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard.
  39. ^ Cash Box Top 100 Singles, April 9, 1994
  40. ^ a b "1994 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  41. ^ "Top 50 Dance Tracks of 1994". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  42. ^ "End of Year Charts 1994". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  43. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1994". Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  44. ^ Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 31, 1994
  45. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Salt N Pepa – Whatta Man". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  46. ^ "British single certifications – Salt N Pepa ft En Vogue – Whatta Man". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved August 7, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Whatta Man in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  47. ^ "American single certifications – Salt 'N Pepa – Whatta Man". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 7, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  48. ^ "Lena - What A Man".
  49. ^ a b "What a Man - Single von Lena". iTunes.
  50. ^ " – Lena – What a Man". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved August 7, 2019.

External linksEdit