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"Baby Boy" is a R&Breggae song by American singer Beyoncé Knowles versus Sean Paul. The track was produced by Knowles and Scott Storch for her debut solo album Dangerously in Love. "Baby Boy" was written by Knowles, Storch, Robert Waller, Jay-Z and Sean Paul.

"Baby Boy" was released on October 14, 2003 in the United States as the second single from the album. The single was a commercial success, and topped the US Singles Chart for nine consecutive weeks. It was certified platinum in the US, and was Knowles' longest-running solo number-one single until Irreplaceable who topped for ten consecutive weeks . "Baby Boy" performed well internationally, reaching the top ten in many countries, and achieving platinum status in Australia. The song has been praised by both critics and music industry personnel. "Baby Boy" remains a staple of Knowles' concert set list. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers recognized it at the 2005 Pop Music Awards as one of the most performed songs of the year.

In 2005, US singer-songwriter Jennifer Armour filed a copyright infringement lawsuit claiming that Knowles had used the primary musical hook from her song "Got a Little Bit of Love for You". It was settled in favor of Knowles.

Background and writing

Knowles went to Miami, Floridamarker in the United States to work with Canadian record producer Scott Storch for her debut solo album, Dangerously in Love. She and Storch wrote "Baby Boy" with contributions from American songwriter Robert Waller and Knowles' long-time boyfriend rapper-hip hop artist Jay-Z. 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."

Once the track was supposedly done, Knowles had the idea that it would be "perfect" if Jamaicanmarker dancehall-reggae artist Sean Paul contributed a vocal track. Knowles contacted Sean Paul about a possible collaboration. Sean Paul agreed and flew in from Jamaica to join the recording sessions of the song. He contributed a toast verse, and they finished recording "Baby Boy" in March 2003, during the latter stages of the album's recording.

Composition and theme

"Baby Boy" is a mid-tempo contemporary R&B song performed with a moderate groove. It is in the key of C minor, and is set to ninety-two beats per minute in common time. "Baby Boy" is a hybrid of R&B and dancehall and has a reggae influence. Storch's knowledge on Indian and Middle Eastern music contributes to its Eastern influences. According to Fox News, "Baby Boy" is based on the 1995 reggae song "Here Comes the Hotstepper" by Jamaican singer Ini Kamoze.

"Baby Boy" is a sequel in ways to "'03 Bonnie & Clyde"; a 2002 Jay-Z song featuring Knowles. The lyrics detail a woman's fantasies, and in keeping with the album's overall theme, Knowles' deemed them as personal to her. Sean 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.'" The lyrics are constructed in the toast–chorus–verse form; Sean Paul performs the toasting while Knowles sings all other verses and choruses. The pattern is repeated twice; a further chorus and verse follow, resolving at the toasting and final verse.

Release and reception

Knowles singing "Baby Boy", flanked by two dancers

"Baby Boy" was released as the second single from the album Dangerously in Love. It was released as a CD in Canada on May 4, 2003, in Australia on September 9, and in the United States on October 14, 2003 as a 12" single. The track appeared in the revamped version of Sean Paul's 2003 second album, Dutty Rock.

"Baby Boy" was well-received by critics. Rolling Stone magazine reviewer Anthony DeCurtis wrote that Knowles‎ sounded like she was "having fun" on the song, while Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic, an online music database, described Knowles' vocals as "assured and sexy". Mark Anthony Neal of the international webzine PopMatters, regarded the song as one of the "high-profile collaborations" from Dangerously in Love. Lisa Verrico of the daily US newspaper The Times described the song a "Latino-tinged collaboration ... set to clicky beats that sound like castanets". She concluded that "Paul does a reggae rap in the middle, but it's when he chats while Beyoncé half raps that the pair have real chemistry". Yancey Strickler of the Flak magazine wrote that "'Baby Boy''s diwali stutter is enhanced by Sean Paul's dancehall monotone". Entertainment Weekly magazine's Neil Drumming said that "'Baby Boy' goes full-tilt Bollywood 'n da hood, with Sean Paul ripping a pulsing tabla raga".

James Anthony of the British newspaper The Guardian said the track "bridges the gap between the genres of R&B and dancehall". British record label EMI was honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers during the 2005 Pop Music Awards as Publisher of the Year for publishing "Baby Boy", among other songs. Scott Storch earned Songwriter of the Year at the same event.

Chart performance

"Baby Boy" attained a positioning on the commercial charts before its physical release in the US. 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 US. The single debuted on the Billboard Hot 100, the US' official singles chart, at number fifty-seven while "Crazy in Love" was still in the top spot. "Baby Boy" dominated the US airplays, charting atop the Hot 100. It reached the chart's top spot eight weeks after its debut, and stayed there for nine consecutive weeks. The single stayed number one for a week longer than "Crazy in Love" had, becoming Knowles' longest-charting number-one single. The feat was not broken until Knowles' 2006 single "Irreplaceable", from her second album B'Day, spent ten weeks at the top spot in late 2006 to early 2007 due to heavy radio play. The single stayed on the Hot 100 for twenty-nine weeks, and was certified platinum on June 6, 2006 by the Recording Industry Association of America. "Baby Boy" achieved success on Billboard crossover and mainstream radio charts, appearing on the Top 40 Tracks, Rhythmic Top 40 and Top 40 Mainstream, as well as on the Hot 100 Airplay, Dance Radio Airplay and Hot Dance Music/Club Play.

Internationally, "Baby Boy" performed just as well, peaking inside the top ten on most charts. The single debuted at number two in the United Kingdom, becoming the chart's highest debut and "Baby Boy"'s highest entry internationally. Though it spent eleven weeks on the chart, it failed to top it (being held off by "Where Is The Love?" by The Black Eyed Peas). In most European countries, the single entered the top ten. In Australia and New Zealand, "Baby Boy" peaked at number three and two, respectively. It was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association with sales in excess of 70,000 units.

Music video

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

Scenes featuring Knowles and Sean Paul are shown separately. The video begins with Sean Paul sitting on a throne while toasting; Knowles is leaning against the wall dancing. In the following scene, Knowles is seen on a bed tossing herself. Sean Paul is shown with several women who are lying on the floor caressing each other. Knowles walks towards the beach; she spots a man, and the two touch and flirt. At a party, Knowles dances with a man. Water floods the floor as she sings "the dance floor becomes the sea". The original track is interpolated towards the end with an Arabic instrumental, designed for the music video. This section showcases Knowles 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". "Baby Boy" premiered on MTV's program Total Request Live on August 25, 2003 at number ten and reached the top spot. It stayed on the show for forty-one days, the same chart run "Me, Myself & I" earned.

Live performances

Knowles performed "Baby Boy" during the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. She sang the song in a medley with the pre-recorded vocals of Sean Paul, and also performed "Crazy in Love" with Jay-Z. She later performed "Baby Boy" at the 2003 MTV Europe Music Awards together with Sean Paul. Her performance was panned by PopMatters' Jessica Hodges as a "letdown" compared with her applauded 2003 MTV VMA.

"Baby Boy" has been included on the set list for most of Knowles' concert tours. The song was set as opening of her Dangerously in Love World Tour that began in late 2003. During the tour, she appeared suspended from the ceiling of the arena being lowered to a red lounger—a prop she also used during the 2003 MTV VMA. The footage taken in Londonmarker's Wembley Arenamarker in the United Kingdom is included in the Live at Wembley concert DVD that was released on April 27, 2004. Knowles performed the song midway through the setlist of her former group Destiny's Child farewell tour Destiny Fulfilled ... And Lovin' It, and it subsequently appeared on the Destiny's Child: Live in Atlanta concert DVD. During the 2007 The Beyoncé Experience world concert tour, Knowles again performed "Baby Boy" in a version that incorporated a reggae song "Murder She Wrote". The footage taken at the Staples Centermarker in Los Angelesmarker on September 2, 2007 appeared on The Beyoncé Experience Live! DVD.

In the 2005 ASCAP Pop Music Awards, "Baby Boy", along with Knowles' songs "Me, Myself and I" and "Naughty Girl", was honored as one of the most performed songs of the year.

Copyright infringement lawsuit

In 2005, US singer-songwriter Jennifer Armour filed a copyright infringement lawsuit claiming that Knowles had used some lyrics and the musical hook from her song "Got a Little Bit of Love for You". In 2003, Armour's former label manager had submitted a demo recordings to record labels, including Knowles' Columbia Records and Sean Paul's Atlantic Records. According to the district court, an Expert witness (Chair, Dept. 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 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 AB 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, could not 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.

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 Knowles' claim that Armour's demo tape was received shortly after the writing of Knowles' song had been substantially completed. However, the court did not address the issue of substantial similarity.

Track listing

  1. "Baby Boy" – 4:04
  2. "Baby Boy" (Junior Vasquez Club Anthem remix) – 8:50
  3. "Krazy In Luv" (Adam 12 So Crazy remix) – 4:30

Maxi CD
  1. "Baby Boy" (Album version) – 4:04
  2. "Baby Boy" (Maurice's Nu Soul mix) – 6:14
  3. "Baby Boy" (Junior's Papadella) – 3:58
  4. "Krazy In Luv" (Adam 12 So Crazy remix) – 4:30

  1. "Baby Boy" (Album version) – 4:04
  2. "Baby Boy" (Junior Vasquez Club Anthem remix) – 8:50
  3. "Baby Boy" (Maurice's Nu Soul mix) – 6:14
  4. "Baby Boy" (Maurice's Nu Dub Baby!) – 6:30


Chart (2003/2004) Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 3
Austrian Singles Chart 18
Belgian Ultratop 50 11
Danish Singles Chart 6
Dutch Top 40 8
European Hot 100 singles 3
French SNEP Singles Chart 8
German Singles Chart 4
Irish Singles Chart 6
Italian FIMI Singles Chart 12

Chart (2003/2004) Peak
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 2
Norwegian Singles Chart 10
Romanian Singles Chart 49
Swedish Singles Chart 5
Swiss Singles Chart 5
UK Singles Chart 2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Airplay 1
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 1

Chart procession and succession


  2. Armour v. Knowles, No. H-05-2407, 2006 WL 2713787 (S.D.Tex. Sep. 21, 2006).
  3. Armour v. Knowles (PDF), 512 F.3d 147 (5th Cir. 2007). Retrieved on 2008-04-17.

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