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"Tough" is a song by Quavo and Lana Del Rey, released on July 3, 2024. The song was produced by Cirkut and Andrew Watt, both of which also have writing credits alongside Quavo, Lana Del Rey, Clayton Johnson, Benny Negrin, Elysse Yulo, Jack Antonoff, Jaxson Free, Josh Dorr, Maddox Batson, and Nick Bailey.

Background[]

On February 3, 2024, Del Rey and Quavo were seen leaving Fleur Room in Los Angeles, California, after Clive Davis' Pre-Grammy Gala. When asked by paparazzi if the two would ever collaborate, Quavo would respond, "We're having hits."[1]

On February 12, an insider confirmed their collaboration, revealed the song to potentially appear on Del Rey's upcoming album, Lasso.[S 1]

Del Rey and Quavo would share a snippet of the song and some lyrics on May 9.[2] On June 19, the two artists posted a second snippet of the song on Instagram with the caption "Tough".[3] The next day, Del Rey brought Quavo out as a surprise guest to perform this song at her show at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts as part of the Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd Promotional Tour.

After the song's release, Quavo posted a video of he and Del Rey in the studio recording the song.[4]

Writing[]

The song originated as a demo from Maddox Batson, a 14-year-old singer from Alabama, co-written by Batson, Clayton Johnson, Elysse Yulo, Josh Dorr, Benny Brisk, Jaxson Free, and Nick Bailey in November of 2023. Johnson recorded his own writer's demo of the song and presented it to Del Rey in January of 2024, who would in turn involve Jack Antonoff, Quavo, Cirkut, and Andrew Watt.

Upon the song's release, many of the song's co-writers would take to social media to promote their contributions the song. The various artists shared the progression of the song's composition in a serious of voice notes and writer's demos.

Yulo shared her early interpretation of the chorus in a voice note with the caption:[5]

"LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE BABY! I’m still in complete and utter shock that I get to say I have a song out today with @quavohuncho and @honeymoon. I did not even dare to dream big enough for something like this. Thank you to everyone who made the dang thing happen! From all my co-writers who took my chorus idea and made it 100x better, to the person who got it placed, to Quavo and Lana and the LA team for believing in it and completely making it their own, and our teams who fought for this song, I do not have the words to thank you all enough! This is a big team win and I will be forever grateful for this experience! Here’s to many more together!"

Batson shared parts of his writer's demo with the following caption:[6]

"Happy early 4th of July, everyone! I can’t believe I wrote a song with the homies that Lana Del Rey and Quavo just released called “Tough.” This song is especially important to me because I got the inspiration from the most important man in my life, my dad. Thank you, Ms. Del Rey and Mr. Quavo, for releasing this song. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that at 14 years old, y’all would release a song I helped write. Thank you to everyone who was involved and helped make this possible. 🇺🇸 ❤️"

Del Rey's ex-boyfriend Clayton Johnson shared clips of his reference demo and would write:[7]

"Back in January, Lana and I sat in Nashville free styling songs on an acoustic guitar about imaginary animals and Oliver's chew toys. I showed her a few songs I had been working on, and played her a song idea from a different session. She had a vision for it. Her and Jack gave me a call when she got home and asked if we could rework this voice note idea that I sent over for "Tough." The rest is history. Thank you to the other original writers that carved this thing out together in Nashville, and thank you to Quavo, Jack, Cirkut, Andrew, and especially Lana for having the vision to take this voice note and turn it into something special. TOUGH out now 💪🏼"

Music video[]

Music video Information
Quavo,_Lana_Del_Rey_-_Tough_(Official_Video) Released July 3, 2024
Length 3:31
Director Wyatt Spain Winfrey
Quavo
Lana Del Rey
Producer
Filmed
Location
Vevo views 7+ million views

Behind the scenes[]

Official versions[]

  • Single version — 3:08
  • Music video version — 3:31
  • Elysse Yulo "Tough Chorus idea" voice note — 0:43
    • "Tough verse idea" voice note — 0:14
    • "Tough Chorus" voice note — 0:35
    • "Elec guitar Tough" voice note — 0:40
  • Maddox Batson writer's demo — Unknown
  • Clayton Johnson reference demo — Unknown

Lyrics[]

Released version[]

[Lana Del Rey]:
Tough like the scuff on a pair of old leather boots
Like the blue-collar, red-dirt attitude
Like a .38 made out of brass
Tough like the stuff in your grandpa's glass
Life's gonna do what it does
Sure as the good Lord's up above
I'm cut like a diamond shining in the rough
Tough
Tough

[Quavo]:
Come on, take a ride with me
Like the 808s beatin' in the trunk in Atlanta, it was tough (It was kinda hard for me)
Crawlin' through the mud, I couldn't find love, then we came up (Look at where we are, baby)
Standin' through the storm, still shinin' like a diamond in the rough (Still shinin')
And that's hard if you evеr lost someone that you love
Through thе pain, gotta show 'em, give 'em light
Still family if you're wrong or you're right
No matter, we're together
It's not somethin' that you wanna do, it's just somethin' you goin' through

[Lana Del Rey & Quavo]:
Tough like the scuff on a pair of old leather boots
Like the blue-collar, red-dirt attitude
Like a .38 made out of brass
Tough like the stuff in my grandpa's glass (Grandpa's glass)
Life's gonna do what it does (Ooh)
Sure as the good Lord's up above
I'm cut like a diamond shinin' in the rough (Shinin', shinin')
Tough
Hard

[Quavo & Lana Del Rey]:
Tell me how it's hard for you
Like the nickel-wound strings on your good old Gibson guitar
Tell me what it feel like
Like the smoke in the drawl of your "y'all" and the way you talk slow
Oh, yeah, yeah
Like the songs that your mama sang to you
And the way that it makes you tell the truth
If you come from where you come, then you were born tough

[Lana Del Rey]:
You, say where you come from
It's not what you wanna do, it's what you're gonna do
Now, it's no place to run
If that's what you're gonna do, what am I gonna do?

[Quavo & Lana Del Rey]:
(Tough)
Tough like the scuff on a pair of old leather boots
Like the blue-collar, red-dirt attitude (Yeah, yeah)
Like a .38 made out of brass
Tough like the stuff in my grandpa's glass (Grandpa's glass)
Life's gonna do what it does (Ooh)
Sure as the good Lord's up above
I'm cut like a diamond shinin' in the rough (Shinin', shinin')
Tough

You wanna come to the Nawf? (Mm-hm)
I'll show you around
That's why I said, "come take a ride with me" (When?)
Whenever
Whenever you ready, call on me (Brr)
(I'll give it back when I get there)
Aight, that's a bet

Elysse Yulo concept demo[]

So, 2, 3, 4

Tough like the scuff on a pair of old leather boots
Tough, so

Tough like the scuff on a pair of old leather boots
Tough like the rough 'round the edges and some red-dirt roots
Tough like the stuff in your grandpa's glass and love gone way too fast
Life's gonna do what it does
But sure as there's a good Lord above
I'm cut like a diamond shinin' in the rough
Tough

Maddox Batson version[]

[Snippet]:
It ain't something that you wanna be
It's what you gotta be

Tough like the scuff on a pair of old leather boots
Tough like the rough 'round the edges and some red-dirt roots
Like a bullet made out of brass
Tough like the stuff in my grandpa's glass
Life's gonna do what it does
But sure as the good Lord up above
I'm cut like a diamond shinin' in the rough
Tough

Like the nickel-wound strings on that Gibson I got hanging up
Like the smoke and my drawl of your "y'all" and the way I talk
It ain't my fault, it's just the way that I was brought up
And if you come from a place like where I'm from, you're

Tough like the scuff on a pair of old leather boots
Tough like the rough 'round the edges and some red-dirt roots
Like a bullet made out of brass
T-

Clayton Johnson reference demo[]

[Snippet]:
In the studio, I think, uh, melody would be something like

Tough like the scuff on a pair of old leather boots
Like the blue-collar, red-dirt attitude
Like a .38 made out of brass
Tough like the stuff in my grandpa's glass
Life's gonna do what it does
Sure as the good Lord's up above
Cut like a diamond shining in the rough
Tough
Tough

Something like that

Commercial release[]

Physical release[]

Tough 7'' Vinyl Label: Interscope Records
Format: 7" orange vinyl in cardboard sleeve
Released: September 9, 2024
Barcode: 00602468032069
Photography: Wyatt Spain Winfrey
Design: Unknown
Side A
# Name Time
1. "Tough"   3:08
Side B
# Name Time
1. "Tough" (Instrumental)  

Credits[]

Personnel[a]

  • Andrew Watt — songwriting, production
  • Cirkut — songwriting, production
  • Lana Del Rey — songwriting, vocals
  • Quavo — songwriting, vocals
  • Benny Negrin — songwriting
  • Clayton Johnson — songwriting
  • Elysse Yulo — songwriting
  • Jack Antonoff — songwriting
  • Jaxson Free — songwriting
  • Joshua Dorr — songwriting
  • Maddox Batson — songwriting
  • Nick Bailey — songwriting
  • Manny Marroquin — mixing
  • Anthony Vilchis — mixing assistance
  • Trey Station — mixing assistance
  • Zach Pereyra — mixing assistance
  • Mike Bozzi — mastering
  • Brandra Ringo — A&R
  • Liz Isik — A&R administration
  • Todd Sullivan — A&R administration

References[]

  1. The Hollywood Curtain (February 4, 2024). "Singer Lana Del Rey and Rapper Quavo head to a pre grammy party together in WeHo!". YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnW6uj9cxNo. Retrieved May 9, 2024.
  2. QuavoHuncho (May 9, 2024). "If u come from where u come then u were born….Tough!". Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/C6wImXtOGl-/. Retrieved June 20, 2024.
  3. QuavoHuncho (June 19, 2024). "Tough". Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/C8atdlTs0Su/. Retrieved June 20, 2024.
  4. QuavoHuncho (July 4, 2024). "Tougher Than a Bulletproof Cooked Up a Ford Truck #Tough Out Now". Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/reel/C9AovMTR6Xe/. Retrieved July 4, 2024.
  5. elysseyulo (July 3, 2024). "Tough - Out Now! LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE BABY! I’m still in complete and utter shock that I get to say I have a song out today with @quavohuncho and @honeymoon. I did not even dare to dream big enough for something like this. Thank you to everyone who made the dang thing happen! From all my co-writers who took my chorus idea and made it 100x better, to the person who got it placed, to Quavo and Lana and the LA team for believing in it and completely making it their own, and our teams who fought for this song, I do not have the words to thank you all enough! This is a big team win and I will be forever grateful for this experience! Here’s to many more together!". Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/C8991qVuDQd/. Retrieved July 4, 2024.
  6. Batson, Maddox (July 3, 2024). "Happy early 4th of July, everyone! I can’t believe I wrote a song with the homies that Lana Del Rey and Quavo just released called “Tough.” This song is especially important to me because I got the inspiration from the most important man in my life, my dad. Thank you, Ms. Del Rey and Mr. Quavo, for releasing this song. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that at 14 years old, y’all would release a song I helped write. Thank you to everyone who was involved and helped make this possible.". Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/C8-Gf6JuaFW/. Retrieved July 4, 2024.
  7. Johnson, Clayton (July 3, 2024). "Back in January, Lana and I sat in Nashville free styling songs on an acoustic guitar about imaginary animals and Oliver's chew toys. I showed her a few songs I had been working on, and played her a song idea from a different session. She had a vision for it. Her and Jack gave me a call when she got home and asked if we could rework this voice note idea that I sent over for "Tough." The rest is history. Thank you to the other original writers that carved this thing out together in Nashville, and thank you to Quavo, Jack, Cirkut, Andrew, and especially Lana for having the vision to take this voice note and turn it into something special. TOUGH out now". Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/C8_P9qau0vn/. Retrieved July 4, 2024.
  8. "Credits / Tough / Quavo". Tidal. https://listen.tidal.com/album/372790105/credits. Retrieved July 3, 2024.

Notes[]

  1. This is speculation and should not be relied upon. It has not been confirmed by any official sources, but has been reported by s1974181, who is considered a reliable insider by the community.
  1. Adapted from Tidal.[8]
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