Triumphant (Get 'Em) is a song by Mariah Carey featuring rappers Rick Ross & Meek Mill.
The single was released on August 3, 2012. The song was written & produced by Mariah, Jermaine Dupri & Bryan-Michael Cox with additional writing credits by Meek Mill & Rick Ross.
Mariah revealed that she wrote the song during difficult and personal experiences in her life and that through writing, it helped alleviate the pain.
She later stated that "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" was written when her husband Nick Cannon was in the hospital with acute kidney failure in early 2012 and was also inspired by the death of her past collaborator and friend Whitney Houston.
The song is a midtempo R&B and hip hop ballad that "mixes a soft beat with piano accompaniment."
The lyrics convey a message of self-worth and perseverance with Mariah urging listeners to "Reach for the stars/ Be all that you are."
"Triumphant (Get 'Em)" little impact commercially.
Many felt that Mariah was overshadowed by the hip-hop duo and should have had more presence on her comeback single.
Two accompanying versions were released alongside the original, titled the "Pulse Club" and "Vintage Throwback" remixes.
Like the reception, commercial impact has been generally low. Most critics attribute this to the song's low appeal to Top 40 formats and mainstream channels.
An accompanying music video for "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" was shot in New York City & directed by Mariah's husband.
On August 21, 2012, it officially premiered on Mariah's official website and the following day digitally.
The video (featuring a victorious boxing theme) portrays Mariah and Rick Ross as promoters as they cheer Meek Mill during his match.
The clip was generally well received, due to its cinematography and ties with the song's theme of perseverance and being "triumphant."
On September 5, 2012, Mariah performed the song live for the first time at Rockefeller Center.
The performance marked the beginning of the new NFL season, starting with the New York Giants Vs. Dallas Cowboys game at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.
In September of 2011 (less than six months after giving birth to her twin children), Mariah tweeted a picture a of herself and Jermaine Dupri in a recording studio working on new material for her then-untitled upcoming fourteenth studio album, with the picture's caption reading:
"So happy to be back in the studio with the one & only @Mr_Dupri aka Jermash! We are back together."
Following more speculation of Mariah's return to the studio, she posted photos of herself and Rick Ross in Miami during late April, where the song was produced.
The song was later revealed as the lead single from her upcoming, yet-untitled fourteenth studio album.
The song was written and produced by Carey, Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox with Ross and Meek Mill providing their verses.
Relaying several hints regarding the song to the media, Mariah explained the song's conception in a series of tweets on July 30, 2012:
"I wrote Triumphant when I was going through a difficult time and it helped me get through it. When u hear it, pay attention to the lyrics."
In an interview with MTV, Cox explained what fans would be able to expect from the song and why he felt Ross and Mill were "the perfect fit."
He expressed how the "inspirational song" is close to Mariah's heart and thought fans would become "emotionally attached" to it.
Cox also added that Mariah had committed herself to working on the album before she knew she was pregnant, but decided to halt its production until after she had given birth.
With regard to the inclusion of the hip-hop duo, he explained how they became involved with the project:
"I think that Rick Ross is resilient, and Meek Mill [is] a new hot rapper, who's really hot, one of my favorite new hip hop artists. Rick Ross, who's always been one of my favorites, he's resilient. I think that, through the years, people try to count him out, and he always comes back, comes back harder, comes back with bigger and better records. So I think that the theme of 'Triumphant,' I think that he fits the theme of that whole concept the best, really, because through it all, Rick Ross always comes out on top."
In a conference call with Billboard, Mariah revealed that she wrote "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" while her husband, Nick Cannon, was hospitalized as he received medical treatment for mild kidney failure, saying:
"There's a lot of things you can take from there that can keep you going in a tough situation."
Mariah also added that the song was written around the time her friend, singer Whitney Houston, had died.
According to her:
"We were actually in the hospital together when we saw it on TV.'[...] It was important for me to write something that would...help me get through the moment. That’s where ‘Stay triumphant, keep on living’ came from."
Mariah also expressed why she chosen Ross and Mill, or any hip-hop artist in general on the track, claiming that they are "different" and how she is always experimenting on collaborations with varying and new artists.
When asked why she chose not to release a lead single which was dance influenced, Mariah explained how she felt regarding the current music scene:
"I think it would be incredible if we could bring back the days when R&B records didn't have to cross over but be massive hits on their own" and that was the reason why she did not want to conform to what is currently on trend.
Additionally, Mariah felt that "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" would be able to generate cross-appeal, and not only cater the Mainstream Top 40.
With specific emphasis on the dance music scene and its popularity, she stated that while she was pregnant, the vast majority of music that was being released was dance and electronic music, saying:
"I was pregnant forever, and I was being tortured day and night by techno music. I was complaining to everyone who was listening. One time I made dinner for L.A. Reid, and we were both sitting there like 'What happened?'"
It saddened Mariah that R&B and hip-hop music was being "bowled over" by dance music and therefore wanted to remain true to herself by making traditional R&B music, saying:
""I'm collaborating with a lot of my favorite people but the main thing is [that] I'm not trying to follow any particular trend. I want it to be well received. I want to stay true to myself and the music that I love and make the fans happy. It would be incredible if we can bring back the days where R&B songs didn't have to cross over. It makes me sad that there are so many talented R&B artists that don't get the chance that they should."
"Triumphant (Get 'Em)" is a midtempo R&B and hip hop ballad that "mixes a soft beat with piano accompaniment."
It was written during a difficult time in Mariah's personal life, the song boasts inspirational lyrics of self-worth and achievement.
The song begins with an introductory verse from Mill, followed by Ross on the second verse.
Though "cooing" throughout the chorus, Mariah's begins singing during the song's bridge and final crescendo, where she displays her whistle register.
The track opens with Mill, whose verse quickly sums up the theme of the track:
"The only way to make it to the top is if you go and get it from the bottom ... I remember they said that it ain't my turn/ Just look at me now/ Try to hold me down, but I ain't gonna stop/ 'Cause I'm gonna climb to the mountaintop."
During the song's chorus, Mariah sings of not being able to be torn down by others and "staying triumphant" before continuing: "Don't let 'em ever count you out/ Realize all things are possible/ In your heart who's the greatest/ Reach for the stars/ Be all that you are."
During the second verse, Ross' lyrics are somewhat different, "Red bottom Bawse house big as Baltimore" and "With a blonde bombshell trying to bond with your boy."
Additionally, he makes reference to strippers, as well as driving with a suspended drivers' license.
Throughout the bridge, Mariah sings about achieving despite surrounding odds:
"In spite of the chains that bind you/ You can see the mountain top/ It’s not too far."
Additionally, towards the last chorus, Mariah releases a series of her "signature" high notes.
During an August 2nd, conference call, Mariah described how she felt working with the duo, and how she felt Ross' voice blended well with her own:
"Working with Ross and Meek on the same record was incredible. Obviously Ross is a star and everybody loves him. I'm a fan of his music. I really, really wanted to work with him. I love the tone of his voice. I think the contrast of his voice and mine would be something special. I always like to do collaborations that people might think are different."
On July 30, 2012, Mariah revealed the single's artwork on her Instagram account.
Iona Kirby for The Daily Mail wrote that Mariah is known for her "powerful voice, diva tendencies and voluptuous figure" and that she has managed to combine all three qualities in the artwork for the song
She continued describing Mariah's gown as a "flesh-coloured dress with cut-out panels and a saucy split up one side."
Kirby was complimentary of the artwork, writing that Mariah "sizzles" on the cover and that the "strapless frock leaves very little to the imagination as she smoulders for the camera."
A critic for the Belfast Telegraph also noted that Mariah poses "seductively" for the shot.
Robbie Daw for Idolator noted that it appeared as though the artwork had been photoshopped and that it is reminiscent of the cover art of Mariah's tenth studio album "The Emancipation of Mimi."
Ayeesha Walsh for The Sun also noted a resemblance to the latter cover, writing:
"The cover shots for 'Triumphant' are somewhat reminiscent... which also sees her wearing a figure hugging gold dress while she strikes a similar pose."
A writer from MTV found the shot "endlessly entertaining" while Declan Cashin of The Independent wrote:
"Carey is depicted in golden hues as if she's radiating the precious shimmering element from her very being.'"
After the original version of "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" was released, Mariah's official website premiered two other versions of the song: the "Vintage Throwback Remix" and the "Pulse Club Remix."
While the song's initial release was tepidly received by critics, reviewers were more favorable towards the remixes.
The remixes only feature Mariah and eliminate the extensive rap verses with which many critics took issue.
According to her manager, Randy Jackson, three versions of the song were released in order to monopolize all radio formats and cater to multiple audiences.
In an interview with Billboard, Jackson expressed how they would remind Mariah's fans of her earlier remixes which she would always re-do her vocals:
"The vintage throwback mix will remind fans of remixes she did years ago, and she's had a lot of Billboard No. 1 dance hits as well. She went in and re-sang the vocals, knowing that the two verses on this first version of this single with Meek and Ross were going to be hip-hop verses where people were rapping. We wanted to have something for all of her fans."
An accompanying music video for "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" was shot on July 29 and July 30, 2012, in New York City.
It was directed and produced by Mariah's husband Nick Cannon.
Described as a "tease" by Rap-Up, Mariah's tweeted a picture of herself on set of the music video. Dressed in a red satin gown and "dripping with diamonds," she was photographed lying on a sofa.
Three days prior to the video's release, Mariah released a promotional still on her official Instagram account.
Featuring Mill with his back towards the camera, the word "TRIUMPHANT" was splayed across his golden robe.
Another photo surfaced later on that day, revealing the trio's entrance into the boxing auditorium.
Reviewing the second still, MTV's Julia Brokow described Mariah's ensemble as "ever-glamorous" and assured the video would not disappoint.
After viewing the shots, Jocelyn Vena, also from MTV, felt the video's theme was a "fitting metaphor for the song."
On August 21, 2012, the video premiered on BET's "106 & Park."
The music video revolves around a boxing match theme.
Mill portrays an underground boxer while Mariah and Ross, presumably as promoters.
Opening with the entrance of the trio, the video begins with a hooded Mill entering a large dark auditorium.
As he walks towards the ring, Mariah and Ross accompany him on each side.
As the video progresses into the first verse, close-up shots of Mill during the match are shown, as a large audience cheers them on.
Additionally, Mill can be seen rapping to the song's lyrics as the camera zooms on him during each round recovery.
During the chorus, Mariah makes a secondary appearance in a floor-length copper gown, while standing on a large golden and lightened platform.
During Ross' verse, DJ Khaled makes a cameo appearance as the former is shown on the golden stage, as well as ringside.
As the song progresses, she is shown as a "ring girl" walking around with several numbered signs.
Towards the end of the match, scenes are interspersed with Mariah standing alone in the ring belting the remainder of the song.
During the video's climax, confetti falls to the ground as she completes the song and walks to the ring's edge.
Following its premiere, the video for "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" was generally well received by critics.
E!'s Bruna Nessif commended Mariah's "post-baby body" and wrote "[Mariah] made sure to let us know that her comeback isn't only in the music world, but physically, too."
Tanner Stransky from Entertainment Weekly felt the video was "very fitting" for the song's vibe, and felt it presented "a distinct level of Mimi fabulosity."
A reporter from the Daily Mail called the visuals "sizzling" and complimented the singers moments on the golden stage as "glittering" and "fabulous."
The Hollywood Reporter's David Lipshutz described the video as a "glitzy clip."
Additionally, he outed its final segment of "Carey singing while confetti rain down" as the video's highlight.
While noting the video's "classic Mimi fashions," MTV's Jocelyn Vena expressed how Mariah's ringside singing during the finale truly tied in with the song's message of "overcoming adversity."
Marc Hogan of Spin noted it as "expensive-looking and cinematic" while a writer from CNN described Mariah as "glamorous as ever."
Following in suit of its lukewarm critical response "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" has made little impact since its release.
The song made its chart debut on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart on August 9, 2012, at number 97.
It debuted on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart for the issue dated August 25, 2012, at number 15, representing the 25 songs charting under the Billboard Hot 100.
During the week dated August 11, 2012, the single debuted at number three on the South Korea Gaon International Chart, with 35,870 digital download sales.
The song entered the UK Singles Chart issue dated at number 144 on August 15, 2012 and at number 29 on the UK R&B Chart.
Similarly, it charted at number 135 during its debut week on the French Singles Chart.
In Spain, the song debuted at number thirty-six on August 12, 2012.
Critics have attributed the song's initial weak charting to its urban sound, describing it as having little Mainstream Top 40 or crossover appeal.
According to The Huffington Post, due to radio's bias against artists over the age of 40:
"It’s not like people are listening to the song and deciding they don’t like it; [with Mariah] they are not even listening. If radio isn’t playing it, then that’s a problem."
While some critics appreciated the features and urban appeal of "Triumphant (Get 'Em)", many criticized Mariah's lack of presence on the song.
While describing Mariah as taking the "back-seat" throughout a large portion of the song, Becky Bain from Idolator complimented her vocal runs towards the bridge and final chorus.
Spin's Julianne Shepherd felt that while a strong release "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" didn't feature enough of Mariah, given the near three-year gap between her last release "Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel."
A writer from Rolling Stone described the singer as "bewilderingly AWOL" throughout most of the song, but felt that she was "on-point" during her part.
In a similar vein, Robert Conrey from Digital Spy was disappointed with the song's "lack of Mariah Carey."
While Rap-Up hailed "Triumphant (Get 'Em)" as an "uplifting anthem," Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine called the song the "worst lead single (possibly the worst single, period) of her two-decade-plus career."
He criticized Mariah's lack of originality with the song, describing its production as "dated."
Leah Collins of the The Vancouver Sun felt the track's lyrics lacked inspiration, comparing them to poems from Hallmark cards.
A critic from Artistdirect awarded the song five out of five stars, writing:
"with soulful swagger and classic R&B poise, she delivers the track's stadium-size hook over bombastic, orchestral production."
On September 5, 2012, Mariah performed the song live for the first time at Rockefeller Center.
Sharing the stage with both No Doubt and Cee Lo Green, the hour long program was filmed live at 7:30PM EST on NBC.
The performances marked the beginning of the new NFL season, starting with the New York Giants Vs. Dallas Cowboys at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
According to the CBS News, Mariah says she's "thrilled to be performing in New York – her hometown – and adds she's looking forward to making the season launch 'even more festive."