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What U Workin' With?

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"What U Workin' With?"
Song by Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake
from the album Trolls: Original Movie Soundtrack
Released September 23, 2016 (2016-09-23)
Format Digital download
Length 3:12
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Max Martin
  • Ilya Salmanzadeh

"What U Workin' With?" is a song recorded by American singers Gwen Stefani and Justin Timberlake for the official soundtrack to the 2016 film Trolls. Timberlake co-wrote and co-produced the track with Max Martin and Ilya Salmanzadeh with additional writing from Savan Kotecha and Peter Svensson. The song was first announced on August 22, 2016, with Stefani's appearance being a secret. An urban and dance song, the lyrics talk about having a good time and standing out amongst a crowd.

The track was favorably reviewed by several contemporary music critics; although many found Stefani's contribution to be unexpected, they agreed her role was enjoyable. Commercially, "What U Workin' With?" peaked at number eight on Billboard's Kid Digital Songs component chart, where it lasted for three non-consecutive weeks.

Background and release[edit]

The track listing for Trolls was released by Justin Timberlake through Instagram on August 22, 2016, where he unveiled the names of thirteen tracks for the album. Additionally, "What U Workin' With?" was first revealed, although Gwen Stefani's role on the track had remained a secret.[1] In addition, he claimed that the record was "almost ready" and that preorders would be announced in the near future.[2] The release of the soundtrack was fronted by Timberlake's "Can't Stop the Feeling!", which was made available as a digital download on May 6, 2016,[3][4] while the album in its entirety was released on September 23 of the same year.[5] "What U Workin' With?" was written by Timberlake, Max Martin, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Savan Kotecha, and Peter Svensson, while the production was handled by the former three.[6] On December 30, 2016, Stefani hosted a "dance party" at her home before uploading videos of herself and boyfriend Blake Shelton dancing along to "What You Workin' With?" during the event to her Snapchat and accounts.[7][8]

Composition and recording[edit]

An urban and dance song, it marks Stefani and Timberlake's first collaboration since the 2001 charity single "What's Going On".[9][10] During the recording process, Timberlake spoke cheerfully of the sessions and stated: "I have always envisioned bringing the two worlds of film and music together for one epic event [and] couldn't be more excited that they will collide in DreamWork's Trolls."[11] Regarding the music itself, Stefani sings about standing out and remaining original as her verses lead up to the chorus; she leads, "This is the moment when everybody's in the light / So what you working with?".[9]


Christina Lee from Idolator called it "as assertive" as Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" (2005), which she considered a good thing,[12] while Kayleigh Hughes from Bustle described it as "super cool".[13] Additionally, Allison Bowsher from Much claimed that the artists, including Stefani and Timberlake, within the soundtrack created "awesome music".[14] Jonathan Hamard from Aficia compared the track to Stefani's 2004 song "Rich Girl" and the material on her third studio album, This Is What the Truth Feels Like (2016). He felt her role in Trolls was a good move and claimed that Stefani's verses came off as cool and unpretentious.[15] Similarly, Nadia N. from Virgin Radio saw the release as unexpected but praised the dancing qualities of the track.[10]

"What U Workin' With?" debuted on Billboard's Kid Digital Songs component chart on October 15, 2016 at number eight; it entered simultaneously with the duo's other collaboration, "Hair Up", which debuted at number 14.[16] It dropped off the following week, but re-entered during the week of November 26, 2016, where it was ranked at number ten.[17] It spent a total of three weeks on the Kid Digital Songs chart, leaving at number fifteen on December 3, 2016.[18]


Chart (2016) Peak
US Kid Digital Songs (Billboard)[16] 8


  1. ^ Craddock, Lauren (August 22, 2016). "Justin Timberlake Shares Track List For 'Trolls' Movie Soundtrack Including Ariana Grande, Gwen Stefani & More". Billboard. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  2. ^ Middleton, Ryan (August 23, 2016). "Justin Timberlake Unveils 'Trolls' Soundtrack Tracklist: Ariana Grande, Gwen Stefani Featured". Music Times. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  3. ^ Gaca, Anna (September 23, 2016). "Justin Timberlake Abandons Sexy, Premieres Trolls Soundtrack in Every Walmart in America". Spin. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  4. ^ "iTunes (U.S.) – Music – Justin Timberlake – Can't Stop The Feeling! (Original Song From DreamWork's Animation's "Trolls" – Single". iTunes (U.S.). May 6, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  5. ^ "iTunes (U.S.) – Music – Various Artists – Trolls (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes (U.S.). September 23, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  6. ^ Trolls: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (CD liner notes). Various artists. Villa 40, RCA. 2016. Y4CDTR01. 
  7. ^ Heller, Corinne (December 30, 2016). "Gwen Stefani, Her Sons & Blake Shelton Have a Dance Party With Their Families". E! Online. Retrieved December 31, 2016. 
  8. ^ Juneau, Jen (December 30, 2016). "Break It Down! Watch Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani and Her Sons Lip Sync (and Dance!) to Maroon 5 Hit". People. Retrieved January 1, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Apaza, Kevin (September 23, 2016). "Hear Justin Timberlake & Gwen Stefani's "Trolls" Collaborations "Hair Up" & "What You Workin' With?" Now!". Direct Lyrics. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  10. ^ a b N., Nadia (September 23, 2016). "Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande, Gwen Stefani... la bande originale de Trolls est sortie" (in French). Virgin Radio. Retrieved January 1, 2017. 
  11. ^ Romano, Nick (September 23, 2016). "Trolls movie soundtrack, featuring Justin Timberlake and Ariana Grande, is streaming". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  12. ^ Lee, Christina (September 23, 2016). "Justin Timberlake's 'Trolls' Soundtrack Features Ariana Grande & Gwen Stefani: Listen". Idolator. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  13. ^ Hughes, Kayleigh (November 3, 2016). "The 'Trolls' Soundtrack Highlights Justin Timberlake's Hit-Making Power". Bustle. Retrieved January 1, 2017. 
  14. ^ Bowsher, Allison (September 26, 2016). "Justin Timberlake Adds Gwen Stefani, Anna Kendrick And More To 'Can't Stop The Feeling' Remix". Much. Retrieved October 11, 2016. 
  15. ^ Hamard, Jonathan (September 23, 2016). "Justin Timberlake Et Gwen Stefani Réunis Sur << What U Workin' With?" (in French). Aficia. Retrieved January 1, 2017. 
  16. ^ a b "Kid Digital Songs: October 15, 2016". Billboard. October 15, 2016. Retrieved October 7, 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 
  17. ^ "Kid Digital Songs: November 26, 2016". Billboard. November 26, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 
  18. ^ "Kid Digital Songs: December 3, 2016". Billboard. December 3, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016. (Subscription required (help)). 

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