Saturday, August 15, 2015

What "Talmbout" ("Tambout") REALLY Means & Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout" Songs

Edited by Azizi Powell

"Talmbout" is one spelling of a word that represents the African American Vernacular English pronunciation of the words "talking" followed by the word "about". ("Talmbout" = talkin[g] [a]bout]. Other spellings of this pronunciation that I've found online are "tonbot", "tambout", "tombout", and "taumbout".

The element "nom" may be written in front of "taumbout" (or other forms), giving "nomtaumbot" - "know what I'm talking about?".

"Hell you talmbout" means "[What the] hell [are] you talkin[g] about?" That question (and phrase) is given in an annoyed if not angry tone of voice in response to someone in response to someone making a ludicrous statement and/or in response to someone disagreeing with you about an obvious fact, facts, or position.

Several African American Hip Hop records have the title "Hell You Talmout". These records include profanity and other content which might be considered problematic. The Rhythm & Blues singer Janelle Monae also has recorded a song entitled "Hell You Talmount". Two versions of that song are included in this post.

The earliest definition of "talmbout" (or other spellings) that I've found to date is this 2004 entry on
Another way to say "talking about."
That heiffer was real late tombout she was held up in traffic.
by jazzy jai December 10, 2004"
"Heiffer" is an offensive referent for a female.
A similar entry using the spelling "tombot" was posted on in 2006. The following entry for the word "taumbout" and the word "nomtaumbout" were posted in 2008 on
taumbout, is most commonly mispelled taumbat. taumbout translates to, "talking about." used to express understanding and aggrements in conversation. also used to show excitement.

sometimes "nom" is added in front of taumbout to create a hybrid, "nomtaumbat". Translation, "know what im talking about." Usually used to ask, "Do you know what i am talking about?" Asking for reasurance by another peer on a specific subject.

Ex) peer one: I needa get dat booty. nomtaumbout?

peer two: yea
If you dont know what im taumbout then you dont know what im taumbout.

by jermtron February 06, 2008
While "booty" means "butt", in the context of that sentence, it means "to have sex" (with that person).
Similar definitions are given for the word "talmbout" in a 2009 urban dictionary entry (

Editor's Comment
A sound file of R&B vocalist Janelle Monae's 2013 record "Hell You Talmbout" is given as Example #1 below. A video of Monae's 2015 version of that song is given as Example #2. Click for informationa about American Soul singer Janelle Monae.

Example #1: Janelle Monae- Hell You Talmbout (CDQ)

SoundWavs, Published on Sep 11, 2013

Ripped straight off my physical copy of "The Electric Lady". This is actually a bonus track on the deluxe version. Go buy the album: I highly recommend you do!
Here are a few selected comments from this sound file's discussion thread (Read the last two comments for information about the meaning of this song and the difference between it and the 2015 version):
caliboyblue07, 2014
"This song is not on the Deluxe Edition rather on the Limited Edition Target Exclusive Version. This is the case for many album releases."

Julia Green, 2014
"Just listened to this song on my physical copy of The Electric Lady which I just got today! I already knew the songs, but I needed to hear the bonus tracks on the deluxe version. This song was 'inspired by America. Period.'"

Tom Brodrick, August 14, 2015
"Really odd how her new track is also called Hell You Talmbout, and is nothing like this?!"

GardenOfMe777, August 14, 2015
"+Tom Brodrick The original song has pretty strong civil rights subject matter. It describes vignettes of the struggle many people of color face. The new track she made of the same name draws on the original song's subject matter rather than the sound and lyrics. The title refers to the fact that your average white american does not acknowledge that racism is still a rampant and serious problem."
The chorus of this song is:
"Now what the hell
Hell you talking 'bout?
Now what the hell
Hell you talking 'bout?"

Click for the complete lyrics for this song.
As a friendly amendment to the comment posted above by GardenOfMe777, I believe the words of the chorus are directed not to anyone who says -or believes- that institutional racism isn't a rampant and serious problem- in the United States and elsewhere.

Janelle Monae & Wondaland - Hell You Talmbout (Eephus Tour Philadelphia 8-12-15)

NastyBD Concerts, Published on Aug 13, 2015

Janelle Monae and the entire Wondaland records family perform her socially conscious song "Hell You Talm Bout" live at the kickoff night of the Eephus Tour at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, PA
Read the article excerpt in the Addendum below for information about this version of Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout"About" song.
Click for the lyrics to the 2013 version of Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout".

Janelle Monàe Cut Off During Her Message About Black Lives On 'Today'
"Silence is our enemy. Sound is our weapon."
by Kim Bellware, Posted: 08/14/2015 02:26 PM EDT
"Janelle Monàe's Friday morning performance on NBC's "Today" was lively, original and cut short -- right when she started to talk about police brutality.

...At the end of her performance of "Hell You Talmbout," a rousing protest song for the Black Lives Matter movement, Monàe told the crowd:

"Yes Lord! God bless America! God bless all the lost lives to police brutality. We want white America to know that we stand tall today. We want black America to know we stand tall today. We will not be silenced."...

But before she could finish, the camera cut away and an anchor tried to talk over her.

[video included in that article]

Monàe shared a message via Instagram about the meaning of "Hell You Talmbout" hours after the members of Wondaland led a march in Philadelphia protesting police brutality on Wednesday:
This song is a vessel. It carries the unbearable anguish of millions. We recorded it to channel the pain, fear, and trauma caused by the ongoing slaughter of our brothers and sisters. We recorded it to challenge the indifference, disregard, and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue. Silence is our enemy. Sound is our weapon. They say a question lives forever until it gets the answer it deserves... Won't you say their names?

The song specifically mentions black Americans like Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Sandra Bland and the many others who have died, mostly at the hands of the police.

While interviews and musical segments from Monàe's 'Today" appearance were quickly posted to the show's website on Friday, the "Hell You Talmbout" performance was conspicuously absent."...
"Say their names" ("Say her name", "Say his name") is a slogan that has been popularized by Black Live Matters activists. "Saying their names" is a short cut way of acknowledging the existence and consequences of police brutality and systemic racism.

The content of this post is presented for etymological, cultural, and motivational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to Janelle Monae for her song ""Hell You Talmbout" and thanks to all those who are featured in the video which is embedded in this post.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. Thanks, heard the song, guessed the meaning, but good to have more information. Being interested in civil rights doesn't automatically give me understanding of cultures outside my own, so translations really help.

    1. I appreciate your comment, anonymous.

      And I'm glad this post helped explain the meaning of this song.

      Best wishes!