Fabolous returns strong with his Friday Night Freestyles series with the tonight offering of The World Is Yours Freestyle over the Nas instrumental The World Is Yours.
A$AP Rocky returns with the release of his brand new joint called Whats Beef, which he pays homage to Notorious B.I.G.’s What’s Beef. This track is featured on ASAP Rocky upcoming album titled At.Long.Last.A$AP (A.L.L.A.).
Atlanta Hawks made it to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time by beating the Washington Wizards94-91 on Friday night.
The Hawks held on thanks primarily to DeMarre Carroll’s playoff career-high 25 points, including two layups in the last minute off assists from Jeff Teague.
After Al Horford went 1 of 2 from the free throw line for a three-point lead, the Wizards inbounded the ball with 6.4 seconds left. They got the ball to Pierce, who won Game 3 on a banked-in buzzer-beater, then put Washington briefly ahead late in Game 5 with a 3. This time, his 3 from the corner swished through, but a replay review determined it was too late.
Atlanta hosts LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the conference finals on Wednesday.
Trey Songz is back with the drop of his brand new track called Nasty featuring JR, who is a new artist from St. Louis that Trey Songz just signed.
West Coast own Dom Kennedy has been quiet musically for a while now. However, Dom Kennedy took to social media to announce his new self titled album Dom Kennedy. The LP will be available on June 2nd.
“We Belong Together” Turns 10! Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, and L.A. Reid on Making the Smash Hit @voguemagazine
This summer marks the tenth anniversary of the unprecedented run of Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together,” a smash hit that spent a record-breaking fourteen weeks at number one on the Billboard singles chart. The song was Carey’s sixteenth number-one single, and is largely credited for reviving her career after a brief series of less-than-successful releases. With a new Las Vegas residency underway (the song gets prime position on her set list) and a new greatest hits package, Number 1 to Infinity,forthcoming, Vogue.com asked all the players—record executive L.A. Reid, producer Jermaine Dupri, video director Brett Ratner, songwriter Johntá Austin, and Carey herself—about writing and recording the song, watching it blow up, and why it still resonates today.
Photo: Scott Gries / Getty Images
On what was supposed to be the eve of Carey’s comeback, one of her most trusted advisors sent her down to Atlanta for just one more try at a true smash, uniting her with her longtime songwriting partner, Jermaine Dupri.
L.A. Reid: Mariah had recorded the entire album and we were literally celebrating in a hotel room. It was me, Mariah, Mark Sudack, and Benny Medina. We were about to toast and we raised our champagne glasses. And I wouldn’t do the clink. I said, “This album is not complete. It’s missing a big song.” It wasn’t the greatest news, but basically she said, “What do you recommend?” And I told her, “You need to see Jermaine Dupri.”
Jermaine Dupri: L.A. sent her to Atlanta to finish the album, but she had come down before to make some songs. First two songs we did were “Get Your Number and “It’s Like That.” She came and we got that, and it [“It’s Like That”] became the first single. When she came back, we said, “Let’s do a ballad.” So we ended up making two ballads. “We Belong Together” and “Shake It Off.”
Reid: One of my favorite Mariah songs was “Always Be My Baby.” She wrote that with Jermaine. I thought they never truly revisited that, so they did.
With only a small time in Carey’s schedule, a crack team assembled to try to make the classic that Reid was demanding of her.
Dupri: Mariah didn’t want to come stay in Atlanta. She didn’t really want to spend the night. We didn’t even get to finish recording it down here. Her plane was ready to go. It was like 6:00, 7:30 in the morning, and Mariah was like, “Focus, c’mon let’s go.”
Mariah Carey: This is the song that I worked hardest on with Jermaine. Me, Jermaine, and Johntá [Austin] were writing for the album. I loved “Shake It Off,” then we had to really sit down together and focus. I’m used to be being the most focused person in the room, but on this particular track, Jermaine was so focused. I’ve never seen him this focused before.
Dupri: That was the first time that Johntá was brought in to write. Me and Manuel [Seal] did “Always Be My Baby” together. We were trying to recreate the magic we had. That was the thought in bringing him back to do that.
Johntá Austin: It was very, very late when we recorded this. All of them started after midnight. This was a twist for me. I usually like to work in the day, so I had to readjust my body clock. She would throw an idea out there and Ron and Jermaine would start on the track. There was definitely some pinot grigio on hand. It was a relaxed environment, with everyone throwing ideas on the piano and humming back and forth.
Carey: Me and Johntá were fooling around. We were writing the second verse, “I didn’t mean it when I said I didn’t love you so,” and then JD was working on the track, and we sitting on beanbags singing, “I need you baby and everybody knows, you without me is like Snoop without hos.” Then Jermaine walks in the room and he was laughing, like, “Stop playing around and get to work.”
Austin: The second verse was different. Jermaine wasn’t blown away. He came to me and he said, “I need you to come up with one of those verses that I know you could do.” I threw the Bobby Womack line out there, and it was received pretty well.
Dupri: This process is unheard of, to get a song that good in that little bit of time. It was magic.
Carey then left Atlanta and went to New York City to finish recording the song and to show the team’s work to Reid.
Carey: I was recording in the studio, back in New York City and L.A. Reid was upstairs. I had already spent two or three hours doing background vocals and fixing the arrangement, all those background parts. That’s where I have the most fun. Next thing I know, L.A. comes down with all of his money people as I’m singing, “When you left, I lost a part of me,” over the outro and my friend Tracy Cloherty [former Hot 97 programmer and current BET exec] stopped by. I never let people in the room when I’m recording, ever, and I knocked it out because I said, “I don’t have another chance for L.A. to hear this song and I need him to hear this record.” And I jumped up the octave and I sang it, and that was it.
Reid: My head exploded! I said, “That’s the one we’re looking for.”
The song was now complete, and Carey chose her longtime friend Brett Ratner to direct the music video, which to date has more than 128 million views on YouTube.
Brett Ratner: Usually the process is that Mariah will come over and will sing me a rough cut of the song and I’ll film her. One of the best things about Mariah is that she sings lead vocal and all of her back-ups and all of the ad-libs on her songs. She’ll do the ad-libs for me, so I learn the song really well . . . I just felt like this was a smash. It was a moment. She was on the top of her game and wrote an incredible song.
Carey: Well I remember playing the song for Brett. Different tracks inspire him different ways. We’re on our way to the video shoot now for the song “Infinity,” and it was the same type of reaction when he heard that song. When he heard the song, he felt like it was a really big record, but we knew we had to get two videos out at once. We came up with the concept for both and got Eric Roberts and Wentworth Miller to be in the video.
Ratner: The wedding dress she wore in the video is the same one she wore at her wedding to Tommy Mottola. She wanted to light the dress on fire, but I thought it was going to be too much. Filming the wedding was so much fun. My grandparents were in the audience.
Carey: I wanted to burn the train of the dress. It was 27 feet long and Brett wouldn’t let me burn the train! I don’t know what was wrong with him. He didn’t want to set me on fire but we could have done it in post. I mean, c’mon.
Ratner: It was so much fun. I only come out to do videos for Mariah. I love her music so much and we’re like brother and sister. The rumors that we were dating were ridiculous because we’ve been friends for 20 years. She’s like my little sister.
The song was released on March 29, 2005, and made its debut on the charts at number 81. The crew watched as the song climbed the charts.
Dupri: I made so many records. When I hear it on the radio, I can tell something when it comes across that it’s going to be a big record. You can listen to the people that were talking, the air jocks, they’ll say something like, “Mariah’s back.” You could tell that conversation was leading to this song becoming what it is. You start hearing this commentary. Then you can believe that it’s coming in that way.
Reid: I really did know it was that special record. I was driving in Miami and I pulled up to a stop. A lady pulled up beside me singing the song at the top of her lungs and her windows down. I said, “I’ll be damned, she cracked the code.” This is what we look for when we make music. One of the greatest tests is when you hear someone singing a song in their car. That’s a private moment, like singing in the shower. I wish I could have pulled her over and taken her picture.
Austin: It was euphoric. I grew up listening to Mariah before this song. All the way back to “Vision of Love.” To have a record that was doing well and making history for an artist you really admire, to work with and have fun. It was the icing on the cake.
Carey: I felt it in my heart that it was a hit record. It’s just sometimes you have a great song but the planning’s off and the stars don’t align and it doesn’t go all the way. I think there was a little lapse in the genre of female vocalist in that style of song and I think that all of those factors made it work.
Photo: Jamie McCarthy / WireImage
The song has gone on to sell over 1.6 million copies in the U.S., and Billboard named it “the song of the decade” in 2011. Her comeback was cemented. Carey continued her success, netting two more number-one singles, judging American Idol, and now performing in her Las Vegas residency.
Reid: I think that all great artists have chapters in their career and that was her second chapter. The first was from “Vision Of Love” until she left Sony. That was a massive run for her. This was her return chapter. We kid around about it but that was her moment, and boy, did she come back. It was a massive success.
Carey: It came at a pivotal point that was so necessary for me to have a very big record but nobody could have predicted how big it could have been. Nobody would have predicted it was going to be just as big as “One Sweet Day.” If people want to call it a comeback record, I don’t know if they would’ve called it a comeback, if it was number one for five weeks or four weeks. It just seems like with me the standards are so high, and I set my standards so high, that it’s hard to live up to.
Reid: “We Belong Together” was many things. It was a massive, big comeback for Mariah, and it was a comeback for me, too. The song symbolizes the relationship we have. It’s our love song. Not that we have a romantic relationship, but she is my music industry wife and I am her industry husband, and that is our theme song. It was our magical moment together, and we’re still together, because we belong together. [Laughs]