The Transatlantic Charm of American Boy by Estelle

by Alex Harris

19th January, 2024

The Transatlantic Charm of American Boy by Estelle

American Boy, the standout single by British artist Estelle featuring American rapper Kanye West, is a musical journey that crosses borders and genres. Released on March 24, 2008, from her album “Shine,” this song blends R&B, disco, and funk, offering listeners a smooth, danceable track with worldwide appeal.

The Genesis of a Global Hit

The creation of American Boy is as captivating as its melody. Estelle, under the guidance of her mentor, John Legend, was inspired to write a song about an encounter with an American man. This simple yet universal idea evolved into a narrative that connects with anyone who’s ever dreamed of a romance spanning continents. The song’s lyrics, a collaborative effort by Estelle, Kanye West, Will.i.am., John Legend, and others, showcase the collective creativity that brought this international hit to life.

A Musical Mélange

Produced by Will.i.am, American Boy emerged as a seamless fusion of R&B, disco, and funk. The track, which samples from Will.i.am’s “Impatient,” creates a soundscape that is both modern and evocative of classic dance beats. Estelle’s voice, both sweet and relatable, weaves through the melody, complemented by Kanye West’s vibrant verses.

Chart-Topping Success and Critical Acclaim

The widespread appeal of American Boy is evident in its impressive chart performance. Reaching the number-one spot in the UK and Belgium and securing a top-ten position in several other countries, the song marked Estelle’s major breakthrough on the global stage. In the United States, it reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100, establishing Estelle’s presence in the American music scene. Critics praised the song for its fresh sound and engaging production, often citing it as a highlight of the summer.

American Boy Lyrics Breakdown: A Journey of Discovery

American Boy is more than a catchy tune; its lyrics offer a vivid narrative of cultural exploration and romance. The opening lines, “Just touched down in London town,” set the stage for a story of travel and new experiences. Estelle’s verses, filled with references to American cities and a playful interest in the American way of life, create a narrative of fascination and attraction. Kanye West’s rap adds a touch of humour and self-reflection, contrasting with Estelle’s whimsical perspective. The chorus, “Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day / Take me to New York, I’d love to see LA,” captures the song’s theme of wanderlust and the desire to explore the world with a special someone.

A Cultural Mosaic in Lyrics

The essence of American Boy lies in its ability to blend a variety of cultural references and experiences. The lyrics, more than just memorable phrases, invite listeners into a world of exploration and discovery. From the vibrant streets of New York to the glamour of California, the song celebrates the thrill of new encounters and the merging of different cultures.

An Enduring Impact

Years after its release, American Boy continues to be celebrated as a significant contribution to music. Winning a Grammy for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and receiving numerous other accolades, the song stands as a showcase of the power of collaboration and creativity in music. Its video, featuring a variety of celebrity cameos, further solidifies the song’s place in popular culture.

In Summary

Estelle Shine album cover
Estelle Shine album cover

Estelle’s American Boy is a celebration of cultural diversity, a blend of musical styles, and a story of adventure and connection. This track remains a cherished part of contemporary music, continuing to delight and inspire listeners around the world.

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Estelle American Boy feat. Kanye West Lyrics

Intro: Kanye West & Estelle
This a number one champion sound (Yeah)
Yeah, Estelle, we ’bout to get down (Get down)
Who the hottest in the world right now? (Uh)
Just touched down in London town (Uh)
Bet they give me a pound (Uh)
Tell ’em put the money in my hand right now (Yes)
Tell the promoter we need more seats
We just sold out all the floor seats

Chorus: Estelle
Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day
Take me to New York, I’d love to see LA
I really want to come kick it with you
You’ll be my American boy

Verse 1: Estelle
He said, “Hey, sister, it’s really, really nice to meet ya”
I just met this 5-foot-7 guy who’s just my type
Like the way he’s speakin’, his confidence is peakin’
Don’t like his baggy jeans but I might like what’s underneath them
And, no, I ain’t been to MIA
I heard that Cali never rains and New York’s wide awake
First let’s see the West End, I’ll show you to my bredrin
I’m likin’ this American boy, American boy

Chorus: Estelle
Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day
Take me to New York, I’d love to see LA
I really want to come kick it with you
You’ll be my American boy, American boy

Post-Chorus
La, la la, la la, eya
La, la la, la la, eya
La, la la, la la, eya
Will you be my American boy? American boy

Verse 2: Estelle
Can we get away this weekend? Take me to Broadway
Let’s go shopping, maybe then we’ll go to a café
Let’s go on the subway, take me to your hood
I never been to Brooklyn and I’d like to see what’s good
Dressed in all your fancy clothes
Sneakers lookin’ fresh to death, I’m lovin’ those Shell Toes
Walkin’ that walk, talk that slick talk
I’m likin’ this American boy, American boy

Chorus: Estelle
Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day
Take me to New York, I’d love to see LA
I really want to come kick it with you
You’ll be my American boy
Tell ’em wah gwan, blud!


Verse 3: Kanye West with Estelle
Who killin’ them in the UK?
Everybody gonna say, “You, K”
Reluctantly, ’cause most of this press don’t fuck with me
Estelle once said to me, “Cool down, down
Don’t act a fool now, now.”
I always act a fool oww, oww
Ain’t nothing new now, now
He crazy, I know what you thinkin’
Ribena, I know what you’re drinkin’
Rap singer, chain blinger
Holler at the next chick soon as you’re blinkin’
What’s your persona about this Americana rhymer?
Am I shallow ’cause all my clothes designer? Uh
Dressed smart like a London bloke (Yeah)
Before he speak his suit bespoke (Woop)
And you thought he was cute before
Look at this pea coat, tell me he’s broke (Woo)
And I know you ain’t into all that
I heard your lyrics, I feel your spirit
But I still talk that ca-a-ash
‘Cause a lotta wags wanna hear it
And I’m feelin’ like Mike at his baddest
Like The Pips at their gladdest
And I know they love it
So to hell with all that rubbish


Bridge: Estelle
Would you be my love, my love?
Would you be mine?
Would you be my love, my love?
Would you be mine?
Could you be my love, my love? (Ooh)
Would you be my American boy? American boy

Chorus: Estelle
Take me on a trip, I’d like to go some day (Ooh, someday)
Take me to Chicago, San Francisco Bay (I wanna see the Bay)
I really want to (You) come kick it with you (Ooh-ooh-ooh)
You’ll be my American boy, American boy (Be my American boy)

Chorus: Estelle
Take me on a trip I’d like to go some day (I’d like to go some day)
Take me to New York, I’d love to see LA (See LA)
I really want to come kick it with you
You’ll be my American boy, American boy

Post-Chorus
La, la la, la la, eya (La, la)
La, la la, la la, eya (Ooh, ooh)
La, la la, la la, eya
Will you be my American boy?

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