I'm on a Boat

"I'm on a Boat"
Single by The Lonely Island featuring T-Pain
from the album Incredibad
Released February 3, 2009
Format Digital download
Recorded 2009
Genre Comedy hip hop, R&B
Length 2:37
Label Universal Republic
Writer(s) Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Wyshmaster, T-Pain
Producer(s) Wyshmaster
The Lonely Island singles chronology
"Jizz in My Pants"
"I'm on a Boat"
"I Just Had Sex"
T-Pain singles chronology
"Blame It"
"I'm on a Boat"
"All I Do Is Win"

"I'm on a Boat" is a single from The Lonely Island's debut album Incredibad. It was also featured as a Saturday Night Live Digital Short.[1] The song features R&B singer T-Pain. The song, produced by Wyshmaster, is a parody of many rap video clichés, especially the music video for the Jay-Z song "Big Pimpin'."[2] The music video reached number one on YouTube in February 2009 and was number one on the US iTunes music video chart. The song was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 52nd Grammy Awards.[3] The Lonely Island has also performed the song live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with Black Thought filling in for T-Pain. The song went platinum.[4]

Music and lyrics

The song features an aggressive delivery of the lyrics which are peppered with strong profanity throughout while making simple proclamations, ranging from the mundane ("The boat engine make noise") to the absurd ("I'm gonna fly this boat to the moon somehow"). Schaffer at one time claims to be riding a wild dolphin, and doing flips, and at another time to be climbing buoys. Samberg sings that he's "king of the world, on a boat like Leo" referring to Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Titanic, and mentions Kevin Garnett's 2008 NBA championship finals victory quote "anything is possible".

Music video

Directed by Akiva Schaffer, the video opens with Andy Samberg — who is sitting at the kitchen table with bandmates Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone — pouring cereal into a bowl. To his delight, a coupon for a free boat ride for three falls out of the box. After pondering who will go with him, Samberg picks Schaffer but skips over Taccone in favor of the previously unseen R&B singer T-Pain, who has apparently been sitting at the table, off camera, the entire time.

The three men are next seen atop the yacht Never Say Never[5] in Biscayne Bay, Florida,[6] dressed in tuxedos as Samberg announces that the boat is preparing to launch.

The video frequently shows flashes of the left-out Taccone at comparatively mundane places, for example, "at Kinko's straight flippin' copies", taking out the trash, or lifting a parking ticket from his car. The rap portion of the video places Samberg, Schaffer and T-Pain throughout the boat and in varying attire, including a flight suit (parodying George W. Bush's 2003 Mission Accomplished speech), traditional sailor costumes, white naval uniforms, "a nautical-themed pashmina afghan" and typical casual and formal resort wear.

Critical reception

Giving the song four stars, Rolling Stone said it is "one of the strongest Saturday Night Live hip-hop hits since Eddie Murphy was funny."[7] Stereogum called the tune "a 2:42 masterclass in stunting."[8] The A.V. Club said the song "holds up well on physical media."[9] As of April 2011, the video has been viewed more than 110 million times on YouTube alone and was featured by Entertainment Weekly, Stereogum, and G4's Attack of the Show.[10][11]

In December 2009, "I'm on a Boat" received a nomination for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 52nd Grammy Awards, a category held for a rhymed/sung collaborative performance by artists who do not normally perform together,[12] losing to Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Rihanna's song "Run This Town".

On April 8, 2016, Elon Musk briefly tweeted out, then subsequently deleted, a link to the song when the SpaceX Falcon 9 successfully made its first landing "on a boat" (namely, on a floating landing platform, the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship).[13]


Chart (2009) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 14
Canadian Hot 100[14] 62
New Zealand Singles Chart[15] 9
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[14] 11


Country Certification
(sales thresholds)
Australia Gold
Canada Gold[16]
United States Platinum[17]


  1. Leo, Alex (April 11, 2009). "I'm On A Boat: SNL Digital Short (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 27, 2009.
  2. "Music Video Clichés No.3 - Boats N' Hoes". NME.com. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  3. Ross, Dalton. "Grammy nominations: We're shocked! Six huge surprises". EW.com. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  4. "Gold and Platinum Search Results". RIAA.com. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  5. "122' OceanFast Motor Yacht 'Never Say Never'". TheAdvantaged.com. The Advantaged Yacht Charter and Sales. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  6. "The Lonely Island — Making of I'm On a Boat, Feat. T-Pain". MySpace. Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  7. Relic, Peter (March 5, 2009). "I'm on a Boat". Rolling Stone (1073):76
  8. amrit (February 4, 2009), "New Lonely Island (Feat. T-Pain) - I'm On A Boat". Stereogum.com . Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  9. Singer, Brett (February 24, 2009), "Incredibad". AVClub.com . Retrieved March 24, 2009.
  10. Simon Vozick-Levinson (June 11, 2009), "'I'm on a Boat' a cappella: Funnier than the original?". Entertainment Weekly. . Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  11. Gabe Delahaye (June 10, 2009), "Nice Try, Nerds". Videogum. . Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  12. "The 52nd Annual Grammy Awards Nominees List". Retrieved December 3, 2009.
  13. "Elon Musk deleted a perfect tweet about his SpaceX rocket landing". TechInsider. April 9, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  14. 1 2 "The Lonely Island Album & Song Chart History". Retrieved December 19, 2009.
  15. "RIANZ". RIANZ. Retrieved September 15, 2009.
  16. "Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA): Gold & Platinum - January 2005". Cria.ca. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
  17. "Recording Industry Association of America". RIAA. Retrieved February 24, 2012.
External video
Behind the Scenes on "I'm On a Boat", from The Lonely Island's official Web site
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