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"Hakuna Matata" is a song from Disney's 32nd animated feature The Lion King. It is characterized by its simple 4/4 time, upbeat message and catchy lyrics.


The musical score was written by Elton John and the lyrics by Tim Rice. In the film the song is sung by Timon (a meerkat voiced by Nathan Lane), Pumbaa (a warthog voiced by Ernie Sabella), and Simba, a young lion voiced by Jonathan Taylor Thomas (as a cub) and Matthew Broderick (as an adult). The two main comedy characters in the film, (Timon and Pumbaa), try to convince Simba to forget his troubled past and forget his worries. The song also provides a backstory for Pumbaa, explaining that he was ostracized from animal society for his excessive flatulence. It contains several breaks at which the music grinds to a halt and then starts again. It makes use of a large proportion of the orchestra as well as many other more unusual instruments including an elaborate drum kit.

The Broadwaymarker version of the song is slightly modified (especially concerning the instruments used) but remains very similar to the original.

The song was performed by Jimmy Cliff featuring Lebo M.

Early production

The song was based on an earlier song written early on in the production stage called "The Warthog Rhapsody". Although the two songs shared the same message and position in the film, when Elton and Tim began to work on the music the song was completely rewritten and it eventually evolved into "Hakuna Matata".


Hakuna matata is a Swahili phrase that is frequently translated as "no worries". In a bonus features of The Lion King Special Edition DVD, the film's production team claims that it picked up the term from a tour guide while on safari in Tanzania. It was then developed into an ideology that, along with the seemingly antithetical value of duty to the monarchy, is central to the moral content of the film.

The title phrase is pronounced with English phonology within the song, including a flapped "t", rather than as it is pronounced in Swahili.

Critical reception

The song proved enormously popular and was nominated for Best Song at the Academy Awards in 1995 and lost only to "Can You Feel the Love Tonight", one of three Lion King song nominations (the other was "Circle of Life"). It was also ranked 99th in the AFI's list of the 100 best American movie songs of all time.

A shortened version of "Hakuna Matata" was used as the theme song of the spinoff Timon & Pumbaa TV show.

In popular culture

  • In one of Disney's many self references, the "Hakuna Matata" song can be heard briefly in the 1995 Pixar film Toy Story, in which it was played on Andy's car while Molly sees Woody and Buzz Lightyear through one of the sideview mirrors.
  • Bunny Wailer covered the song on Reggae for Kids: Movie Classics.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Merv Griffin Show", Elaine says that she was caught in the office singing "Hakuna Matata".
  • In the film Mouse Hunt, Ernie Smuntz (Nathan Lane) bows to a sheik who is seeking to bid for his home and greets him with the words "Hakuna matata," a reference to Nathan Lane's portrayal of Timon.
  • The song was covered by Jamaican group Baha Men for the DisneyMania CD.
  • On Brandy and Mr. Whiskers, Whiskers says "Do you remember 'Ohana' and all that stuff? Or was it Hakuna Matata?"

Track listings

CD single
  1. "Hakuna Matata" — 4:24
  2. "He Lives in You" — 4:51

CD maxi
  1. "Hakuna Matata" (rap version) — 3:50
  2. "Warthog Rhapsody" by Nathan Lane & Ernie Sabella — 3:06
  3. "Hakuna Matata" (album version) — 4:24


Country Certification Date Sales certified
France Silver December 22, 1995 125,000


Chart (1995) Peak
Belgian Singles Chart 46
Belgian Singles Chart 6
Dutch Singles Chart 10
French SNEP Singles Chart 7
German Singles Chart 77
Swiss Singles Chart 32
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles 5
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 26

End of year chart (1995) Position
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart 35
French Singles Chart 27


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