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"Baby Boy" is a song by American singer Beyoncé featuring Jamaican rapper Sean Paul from Beyoncé's debut solo studio album Dangerously in Love (2003). Both artists co-wrote the song with Scott Storch, Robert Waller and Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter; the former also co-produced the song. Containing a lyrical interpolation of "No Fear" by hip hop group O.G.C, "Baby Boy" is an R&B and dancehall song with reggae and Arabic music influences; its lyrics detail a woman's fantasies.

"Baby Boy"
A woman is standing with her arms open, meanwhile smiling and looking back. She wears a short light-blue shirt, a blue skirt and a rosary on her neck.
Single by Beyoncé featuring Sean Paul
from the album Dangerously in Love
B-side "Summertime" (remix)
Released August 3, 2003 (2003-08-03)
Format
Recorded 2003
Studio
Genre
Length 4:04
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Scott Storch
  • Beyoncé
Beyoncé singles chronology
"Fighting Temptation"
(2003)
"Baby Boy"
(2003)
"Me, Myself and I"
(2003)

"Fighting Temptation"
(2003)
"Baby Boy"
(2003)
"Me, Myself and I"
(2003)
Sean Paul singles chronology
"Breathe"
(2003) Breathe2003
"Baby Boy"
(2003) Baby Boy2003
"I'm Still in Love with You"
(2004) I'm Still in Love with You2004

Columbia Records and Music World Entertainment released "Baby Boy" as the second single from Dangerously in Love on August 3, 2003. "Baby Boy" topped the US Billboard Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks, and was Beyoncé's longest-running solo number-one single until 2007, when it was surpassed by "Irreplaceable". It reached the top ten in many countries, and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The song's music video was directed by Jake Nava and mostly shows Beyoncé dancing in various locations. "Baby Boy" has remained a staple of Beyoncé's concert set lists. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) recognized it as one of the most performed songs of 2004. In 2005, American singer-songwriter Jennifer Armour filed a copyright infringement lawsuit claiming that the song had used the primary musical hook from her song "Got a Little Bit of Love for You". The suit was later dismissed.

Contents

Background and developmentEdit

 
Sean Paul (pictured) contributed vocals to "Baby Boy".

In 2002, Beyoncé went to Miami, Florida, in the United States, to work with American record producer Scott Storch for her debut solo studio album Dangerously in Love.[1] She and Storch wrote "Baby Boy", with contributions from American songwriter Robert Waller and Beyoncé's now-husband, hip hop artist Jay-Z.[1] The song also contains a lyrical interpolation of "No Fear" by hip hop group O.G.C. used towards the ending of the song: "We steppin' in hotter this year".[2]

Once the track was supposedly done, Beyoncé had the idea that it would be "perfect" if Jamaican reggae artist Sean Paul contributed a vocal track.[2] Beyoncé contacted Paul about a possible collaboration for "Baby Boy".[3][4] Sean Paul agreed, and flew in from Jamaica to join the recording sessions of the song.[2] He contributed a toast verse, and they finished recording "Baby Boy" in March 2003, during the later stages of the album's recording.[3]

Music and lyricsEdit

"Baby Boy" is a midtempo contemporary R&B and dancehall song[5][6] with reggae, house and Arabic music influences.[7][8][9] It was composed using common time in the key of C minor, and set in moderate groove of 92 beats per minute.[5] Storch's knowledge on Indian and Middle Eastern music contributes to its Eastern influences.[10] Neil Drumming of Entertainment Weekly noted that "'Baby Boy' goes full-tilt Bollywood 'n da hood, with Sean Paul ripping a pulsing tabla raga".[11] Beyoncé's vocals are accompanied by clicky and castanet-sounding beats,[12] synthesized handclaps and slaps.[13] According to Roger Friedman of Fox News Channel, "Baby Boy" is based on the reggae song "Here Comes the Hotstepper" (1995), performed by Jamaican singer Ini Kamoze.[14]

"Baby Boy" is considered to be a sequel to Jay-Z's song "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" (2002) featuring Beyoncé.[3] The lyrics detail a woman's fantasies, and in keeping with the album's overall theme, Beyoncé's deemed them as personal to her.[4] Paul remarked: "She's telling me about her fantasies and picturing me and her going here and there, all over the world ... I'm answering back, like, 'I'm wit it'."[3] The lyrics are constructed in the toast–chorus–verse form; Sean Paul performs the toasting while Beyoncé sings all other verses and choruses. The pattern is repeated twice; a further chorus and verse follow, resolving at the toasting and final verse.[2]

ReleaseEdit

 
Beyoncé singing "Baby Boy" during The Beyoncé Experience in 2007, flanked by two dancers

"Baby Boy" was released as the second single from Beyoncé's debut studio album, Dangerously in Love (2003). It was serviced to contemporary hit and rhythmic contemporary radio in the United States on August 3, 2003.[15][16] It was released as a CD single and 12-inch single in the United Kingdom on October 6, 2003. The song was released for maxi single in Canada the following day,[17] and in Germany on October 13.[18] It was released in the United States as a 12-inch and CD single on October 14 and October 28, 2003, respectively.[19] "Baby Boy" was included in the revamped edition of Sean Paul's second studio album Dutty Rock (2003).[20]

ControversyEdit

In 2005, American singer–songwriter Jennifer Armour filed a copyright infringement lawsuit, claiming that Beyoncé had used some lyrics and the musical hook from her song "Got a Little Bit of Love for You".[21][22][23] In 2003, Armour's former label manager had submitted demo recordings to record labels, including Beyoncé's Columbia Records and Sean Paul's Atlantic Records.[24][25] According to the district court, an expert witness (Chair, Department of Music Theory & Composition, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University) determined the songs to be "substantially similar" (a requirement for an infringement finding). With regard to the musical hook, the expert witness stated in his report: "When the aural comparisons of the two songs are presented in the key of C minor (for easy comparison) and presented back-to-back, in A–B–A–B fashion, even the least musically inclined listener should immediately determine that the two songs are strikingly similar; I daresay that many listeners may even perceive them as being the same song! And again, transposing a song for this purpose does not alter any fundamental qualities or characteristics of the song but merely assists the ability of those unfamiliar with the technicalities of music in making a comparison." The district court judge nonetheless ruled that she, herself, couldn't hear the similarities between the two songs and dismissed the case, denying the motion for the songs or case to be heard by a jury.[23] On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling, but ruled with different reasoning. It held that there was no infringement based on Beyoncé's claim that Armour's demo tape was received shortly after the writing of Beyoncé's song had been substantially completed. However, the court did not address the issue of substantial similarity.[25][26]

Critical receptionEdit

Rolling Stone magazine reviewer Anthony DeCurtis wrote that Beyoncé sounded as if she was "having fun" on the song,[27] while Stephen Thomas Erlewine of the online music guide service AllMusic described Beyoncé's vocals as "assured and sexy".[28] Mark Anthony Neal of the international webzine PopMatters, regarded "Baby Boy" as one of the "high-profile collaborations" on Dangerously in Love.[29] Lisa Verrico of the daily British newspaper The Times described the song a "Latino-tinged collaboration ... Paul does a reggae rap in the middle, but it's when he chats while Beyoncé half raps that the pair have real chemistry".[12] Yancey Strickler of the Flak magazine wrote that "'Baby Boy''s diwali stutter is enhanced by Sean Paul's dancehall monotone".[30]

James Anthony of the British newspaper The Guardian commented that the track "bridges the gap between the genres of R&B and dancehall".[31] Los Angeles Times writer Natalie Nichols wrote that "the ... house-spiced 'Baby Boy' successfully meld[s] [Beyoncé's] breathy cooing with hip, interesting production."[6]

AccoladesEdit

British record label EMI was honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) at the 2005 ASCAP Pop Music Awards as Publisher of the Year for publishing "Baby Boy", among other songs.[32] Scott Storch earned Songwriter of the Year award at the same event.[32]

Commercial performanceEdit

"Baby Boy" attained a positioning on the commercial charts before its physical release in the United States. The track led to a higher Billboard 200 chart placing for Dangerously in Love, and helped the album to attain multi-platinum certification in the United States.[33] The single debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, at number fifty-seven, while its predecessor "Crazy in Love" was still on the top spot.[34] "Baby Boy" dominated the airplays in the United States, ultimately reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100.[35][36][37] It reached the chart's top spot eight weeks after its debut, and stayed there for nine consecutive weeks.[37][38] The single stayed number one for a week longer than "Crazy in Love" had, becoming Beyoncé's longest-charting number-one single. The feat was not broken until her single "Irreplaceable" (2006), from her second album B'Day (2006), spent ten weeks at the top spot from late 2006 until early 2007 due to heavy airplay.[39] "Baby Boy" stayed on the Hot 100 for twenty-nine weeks,[40] and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on June 6, 2006.[41] "Baby Boy" achieved success on Billboard crossover and mainstream radio charts, appearing on the Top 40 Tracks, Rhythmic and Mainstream Top 40, as well as peaking atop the Radio Songs and Dance/Mix Show Airplay, and at number two on Dance Club Songs.[42][43][44][36] As of October 6, 2010, "Baby Boy" had sold 600,000 physical units in the United States.[45]

Internationally, "Baby Boy" performed just as well, peaking inside the top ten on all of the charts it appeared on, excluding the Ö3 Austria Top 40, Ultratop 50 Wallonia and Italian Singles Chart, on which it reached the top twenty. The single debuted at number two in the United Kingdom, becoming the chart's highest debut of the week and "Baby Boy"'s highest entry internationally.[46] Even though it spent eleven weeks on the chart, it failed to reach the top, being held off by "Where Is the Love?" by The Black Eyed Peas.[46] In Australia and New Zealand, "Baby Boy" peaked at numbers three and two, respectively.[47][48] It was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) for shipments in excess of 70,000 units.[49]

Music videoEdit

The music video for "Baby Boy" was filmed by English director Jake Nava, who also shot Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" video. It was recorded in Miami, Florida on August 7–8, 2003. Parts of the video were captured in a house with different style rooms: one in a Japanese style and one in an old English style.[50]

Scenes featuring Beyoncé and Paul are shown separately. The video begins with Paul sitting on a throne while toasting; Beyoncé is leaning against a wall and dancing. In the following scene, Beyoncé is seen on a bed tossing herself. Paul is shown with several women who are lying on the floor caressing each other. Beyoncé walks towards the beach; she spots a man, and the two touch and flirt. As the second verse of the begins, Beyoncé is at a party. At the party Beyoncé decides to dance with the same man that she interacted with earlier. Then, water floods the floor of the party as she sings "the dance floor becomes the sea". As the second chorus of the song begins, the video is cut with scenes of Beyoncé and four back-up dancers dancing on a platform in the sand on the beach. The original track is interrupted towards the end with an Arabic instrumental, designed for the music video. This section showcases Beyoncé vigorously dancing on the sand.

Sal Cinquemani of the online publication Slant Magazine, described the video as a "baby-oil-logged follow-up" to "Crazy in Love"'s "bootylicous video".[51] In 2013, John Boone and Jennifer Cady of E! Online placed the video at number nine on their list of Beyoncé's ten best music videos, praising the extended belly-dancing breakdown.[52] "Baby Boy" premiered on MTV's program Total Request Live on August 25, 2003 at number ten and reached the top spot.[53][54] It stayed on the show for forty-one days, the same chart run "Me, Myself and I" earned.[53]

Live performancesEdit

 
Beyoncé performing "Baby Boy" during The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec on July 22, 2013

Beyoncé first performed "Baby Boy" live at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards;[55] she sang it in a medley with the pre-recorded vocals of Paul.[56] Beyoncé later sang "Baby Boy" with Paul at the 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards.[57] "Baby Boy" has been included on the set list for most of Beyoncé's concert tours. It served as opening song of her Dangerously in Love Tour (2003). During her performance of the song on the tour, she was initially suspended from the ceiling of the arena that was gradually lowered to a red lounger—a prop she also used during the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.[58] The footage taken at Wembley Arena in London, England was included on Beyoncé's first live album Live at Wembley (2004). Beyoncé also performed "Baby Boy" with her former group Destiny's Child during their final tour Destiny Fulfilled... and Lovin' It (2005), and it was included on their second live album Destiny's Child: Live in Atlanta (2006).[59]

"Baby Boy" was a part of Beyoncé's set list on The Beyoncé Experience (2007) in Los Angeles, California, and on I Am... World Tour (2009–10).[60] On August 5, 2007, Beyoncé performed the song at the Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, New York City, New York;[61][62] wearing a belly-dancer-type outfit, she descended the staircase holding an umbrella and was met by three men wearing fatigues.[62] A short section of Chaka Demus & Pliers' song "Murder She Wrote" (1993) was incorporated into "Baby Boy".[62] Jon Pareles of The New York Times praised the performance, writing that Beyoncé "needs no distractions from her singing, which can be airy or brassy, tearful or vicious, rapid-fire with staccato syllables or sustained in curlicued melismas. But she was in constant motion, strutting in costumes".[61] She performed in a similar arrangement at the Los Angeles' Staples Center on September 2, 2007. She was dressed in a belly dancing outfit, and the performance was executed with several male backup dancers and live instrumentation.[63] Beyoncé re-produced the dance she executed in the song's music video.[59] When Beyoncé performed "Baby Boy" in Sunrise, Florida on June 29, 2009, she was wearing a glittery gold leotard. When her performance began, she was suspended in the air, and then lowered to the B-stage to where she sang "Baby Boy" with an excerpt from Dawn Penn's "You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)". Animated graphics of turntables, faders and other club equipment were projected behind the dancers and musicians.[64] Beyoncé was accompanied by her backing band Suga Mama, which consisted of two drummers, two keyboardists, a percussionist, a horn section, three imposing backup vocalists and the lead guitarist Bibi McGill.[65] "Baby Boy" was included on her live album The Beyoncé Experience Live (2007),[66] and the deluxe edition of I Am... World Tour (2010).[67] At the 2005 ASCAP Pop Music Awards, "Baby Boy", along with Beyoncé's two other singles from Dangerously in Love – "Me, Myself and I" and "Naughty Girl" – was recognized as one of the most performed songs of 2004.[68]

"Baby Boy" was performed by Beyoncé in a pink fringe dress at a concert at Palais Nikaïa in Nice, France, on June 20, 2011,[69] and at the Glastonbury Festival on June 26, 2011, where she brought out British trip hop singer Tricky to guest on the song.[70] Between May 25–28, 2012, Beyoncé performed the song during her Revel Presents: Beyoncé Live revue at entertainment resort, hotel, casino and spa Revel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.[71][72][73] Jim Farber of the Daily News wrote: "The first, and last parts of the show stressed the steeliest Beyoncé, told in bold songs... [like] dancehall-inflected 'Baby Boy.'"[74] On February 3, 2013, Beyoncé performed the song during the Super Bowl XLVII halftime show.[75] In 2013, Beyoncé performed "Baby Boy" as a medley with "Get Me Bodied" during her The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour (2013–14), while the songs were performed separately in 2014. The song was also performed during The Formation World Tour (2016).

Track listings and formatsEdit

"Baby Boy" – 12-inch single[47]
No.TitleLength
1."Baby Boy" (Album version) (featuring Sean Paul)4:04
2."Baby Boy" (Junior Vasquez Club Anthem Remix) (featuring Sean Paul)8:50
3."Baby Boy" (Maurice's Nu Soul Mix) (featuring Sean Paul)6:14
4."Baby Boy" (Maurice's Nu Dub Baby!) (featuring Sean Paul)6:30
Total length:25:38
"Baby Boy" – Digital EP
No.TitleLength
1."Baby Boy" (featuring Sean Paul)4:06
2."Baby Boy" (Instrumental)4:04
3."Summertime" (Remix) (featuring Ghostface Killah)4:05
Total length:12:15
"Baby Boy" – German CD single[18]
No.TitleLength
1."Baby Boy" (Album version) (featuring Sean Paul)4:04
2."Baby Boy" (Junior's Padapella) (featuring Sean Paul)3:58
Total length:8:02
"Baby Boy" – European maxi single[76]
No.TitleLength
1."Baby Boy" (Album version) (featuring Sean Paul)4:04
2."Baby Boy" (Maurice's Nu Soul Mix) (featuring Sean Paul)8:50
3."Baby Boy" (Junior's Padapella) (featuring Sean Paul)3:58
4."Krazy in Luv" (Adam 12 So Crazy Remix) (featuring Jay-Z)4:30
Total length:18:06

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[119] Platinum 70,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[120] Silver 200,000 
United States (RIAA)[121] Gold 500,000^
Mastertone
United States (RIAA)[121] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

List of release dates, showing region, format(s), label(s) and reference(s)
Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
United States August 3, 2003 Contemporary hit radio [15]
Rhythmic contemporary [16]
Australia October 5, 2003 Maxi single Sony Music [122]
Brazil October 6, 2003 Digital EP [123]
France CD single [124]
Germany [125]
United Kingdom RCA [126][127]
12-inch single [128]
Canada October 7, 2003 Maxi single Sony Music [17]
Germany October 13, 2003 [18]
United States October 14, 2003 12-inch single
  • Columbia
  • Music World
[129]
October 28, 2003 CD single [130]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit