Almost 16 years on, and we, as a culture, are still somehow finding out surprising new facts about Gwen Stefani's seminal bop "Hollaback Girl." In fact, not only did producer and co-writer Pharell Williams just reveal that Naomi Campbell played an important part in inspiring the song, but the supermodel only just found out herself and seemed somewhat shocked by the admission.
Don't worry though—while the track is about feuding, there's no bad blood between Stefani and Campbell (indeed, Campbell walked Stefani's L.A.M.B fashion show months after it was released). Stefani and Pharrell were just channeling Campbell's singular attitude for the track, which, well, actually makes a lot of sense. You can say a lot about Naomi Campbell, but you can never say that she is a Holla Back girl.
The revelation came when Williams appeared as a guest on Campbell's ongoing YouTube talk show "No Filter."
"That chorus came from a conversation where you were telling somebody you ain't no Holla Back girl because of a song we had at the time with Fabolous called 'Holla Back,'" Williams told Campbell. "Somebody was trying to speak to you or whatever, and you were like, 'I'm sorry, I have a name. I ain't no Holla Back girl,' and I thought that was so amazing and it ended up becoming the chorus to the song."
"Oh my God, no way," Campbell reacted. "I don't know who I was talking to. I guess they deserved it."
Still, Campbell isn't the only bold-faced name who inspired the track.
When Williams and Stefani were working on her debut dance-pop solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. the pair decided they needed an "attitude song." Stefani is a lover, not a fighter, but decided to take it as a challenge to finally address the shade Courtney Love had thrown at her over the years.
Though Love emerged from Seattle's grunge scene and Stefani's No Doubt were veterans of the SoCal ska scene, the pair were often pitted against each other in the media as blonde leaders of rock bands. This was bait Love couldn't help but take over the years.
"Being famous is just like being in high school," Love once told Seventeen magazine. "But I'm not interested in being the cheerleader. I'm not interested in being Gwen Stefani. She's the cheerleader, and I'm out in the smoker shed."
"Y'know someone one time called me a cheerleader, negatively, and I've never been a cheerleader," Stefani told NME after the song's release without mentioning Love by name. "So I was, like, 'OK, fuck you. You want me to be a cheerleader? Well, I will be one then. And I'll rule the whole world, just you watch me.'"
However, that backstory never explained exactly what a "Hollaback Girl" was. Apparently, all along, it was just something Naomi Campbell once said. Really, there's only one thing to say to the new revelation: it's bananas.