"YOLO (ft. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar)" (CD Single)

Music review by
Kyle Jackson, Common Sense Media
"YOLO (ft. Adam Levine & Kendrick Lamar)" (CD Single) Music Poster Image
Comedy rappers get silly in this clever parody.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Even though it's very tongue-in-cheek, much of the advice offered in this cautionary rap tale is actually practical and positive, such as encouraging home-ownership and avoiding unnecessary risks.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While poking fun at overprotectiveness, the lyrics also promote positive behavior and thinking things through rather than the prevailing interpretation of "YOLO" that usually refers to self-destructive partying.  


In the video, a few pianos fall on people in a cartoon-like manner.


Reference to wearing a triple-locked chastity belt.


Samberg drops a line about there being "no such thing as too much Purell" (hand sanitizer); Kendrick Lamar's verse about real estate and finance offers advice for how to "retire with money in your account." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The rappers tell the listeners to stay away from drugs because they're "illegal" (in the video, there's a shot of actor Danny McBride having powder presumably representing cocaine knocked out of his hands and into his face).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this satire of the "You Only Live Once" attitude of Millennials is harmless and goofy, at once offering sound advice and mocking precaution. The jokes are funny, the message is positive, and the whole thing is so ridiculous and over the top that even older tweens can appreciate the humor. There's no iffy language or violence, and a reference to a "triple-locked chastity belt" is as racy as it gets.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMarkkkkk April 7, 2014

Great song

Nice song, great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byspeyan727 October 10, 2018
Teen, 14 years old Written byTheAlmightyCastform January 1, 2018

This is a hilarious song about how to be paranoid. No one will be tempted to take any of this advice seriously.

This song is very comedic. I like how it thinks of another take of the statement "You only live once". This rap tells you how to be paranoid, stating... Continue reading

What's the story?

SNL veterans and comedic rap troupe The Lonely Island (most prominently led by Andy Samberg) get back in the viral video game with this anthemic parody of the "battle cry of a generation," "YOLO" ("You Only Live Once"), instead warning that "You Oughtta Look Out" for a series of dangers from falling pianos to undercooking meat to piranhas in saunas. With the aid of Top 40 giants Adam Levine (of Maroon 5 fame) and Kendrick Lamar, this first single from the forthcoming second album by the group was released alongside an absurd and hilarious music video that quickly caught fire, as many of Samberg's slapstick rap songs have.

Is it any good?

The music on "YOLO" is intentionally cheesy and formulaic, skewering youth-empowerment dance-floor pop in both sound and structure, right down to the overdramatic intro and diva-like note runs of Levine over the chorus. The lyrics are easy to understand and jam-packed with jokes and references that appeal to all ages, while seeming especially poignant to young people trapped in a world and culture that instructs them to be both reckless and safe. Kendrick's verse is easily the silliest part of the song, but it's delivered with such sincerity that the satire is perfectly achieved. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Andy Samberg and his crew have created this parody song for the hip-hop and YouTube generation. What makes the track so clever?

  • How have The Lonely Island guys changed or stayed true to the formula of the original Saturday Night Live digital shorts -- such as "Lazy Sunday"-- that made them famous?

  • Why do you think Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar would want to be a part of this collaboration that basically makes fun of the pop music they typically create?

Music details

  • Artist: The Lonely Island
  • Release date: January 27, 2013
  • Type: Single
  • Label: Universal Republic
  • Genre: Rap
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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