U Know What’s Up – Donell Jones | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#7) & R&B (#1 for 8 weeks); 1999

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

When Donell Jones won a 1999 American Music Award for Best New R&B Artist, it was the culmination of a path that – looking back to the beginning – may have ended in prison. Growing up on Chicago’s infamous South Side, Donell flirted with the local gang culture before choosing music over a life of crime. A partnership with Edward “DJ Eddie F” Ferrell, an alumnus of Heavy D & The Boyz and then president of Untouchables Entertainment, brought him to LaFace Records. After writing Usher’s first Top 10 R&B hit, I Think Of You (#8, 1996), LaFace gave Donell the green light for his own record. Interestingly, for an artist known for his songwriting skills, the most successful single from My Heart was Knocks Me Off My Feet, was penned by Stevie Wonder rather than Donell. Where I Wanna Be, his sophomore effort, followed in 1999 with the breakthrough U Know What’s Up…another tune Jones didn’t write.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Eddie F.
  • Darren Lighty

Lyrics Written by:

  • Edward Ferrell
  • Darren Lighty
  • Clifton Lighty
  • Balewa Muhammad
  • Anthony Hamilton
  • Veronica McKenzie