Baby

Album: Brandy (1994)
Charted: 4
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Songfacts®:

  • In "Baby," Brandy states her intentions, letting a boy know she wants to get with him because he's just so fine. It's all very PG, as she was just 15 when the song was released.

    Issued as her second single, it's similar in theme to her first, "I Wanna Be Down," which isn't surprising because they were written by the same team: Kipper Jones and Keith Crouch. "I Wanna Be Down" was written for Vanessa Williams, but Crouch ended up working on Brandy's debut album and diverted it to her. Her record company, Atlantic, was so impressed with the song, they asked for more, so he and Jones got back together and wrote "Baby" specifically for Brandy. They contributed two other songs on the album as well: "Movin' On" and "Brokenhearted."
  • We counted 86 "baby"s and 196 "yeah"s in the lyric, making it one of the more repetitive hit songs out there. Kipper Jones, who wrote the lyric, worked at Motown as a demo singer when he was getting started and learned a lot about songwriting structure during his time there. Motown songs are filled "baby"s, as a listen to just about any Supremes song will show.

    By keeping the verses tight, it solved another problem as well: how to write something contemporary but appropriate for a 15-year-old girl to sing.
  • The single quickly sold a million copies and shot to #1 on the R&B chart. It got a big boost because the CD single included a popular remix of "I Wanna Be Down" featuring verses from Queen Latifah, MC Lyte and YoYo. If you wanted that remix, you had to buy the "Baby" single.
  • The song's co-writer Keith Crouch produced the track and helped Brandy connect with it. "I didn't like it at first because I was afraid that I wasn't old enough," she told Billboard. "But when I started to sing it, I was thinking about this guy I liked and it started to connect. That was fun. It was a cute baby crush, but I was able to pull from that feeling. Keith would say, 'I mean for real, you can hear when you're just trying to do vocals and it doesn't have passion behind it. Just pull from your own life and you'll connect more.'"
  • Musically, "Baby" was a progression into a more dynamic form of R&B. "Sonically, everything we did on that album is not like anything else that was happening at the time," co-writer Kipper Jones told Songfacts. "When you hear the bass, that sub is like nothing else that was happening at the time. It was in the era of New Jack Swing, so that record stuck out like a sore thumb."
  • The line "We are alone, and I'm singin' this song to you" is a nod to Donny Hathaway's 1971 hit "A Song For You."
  • The innovative director Hype Williams did the video for "Baby" along with a few others for Brandy, including "Brokenhearted" and "Sittin' Up In My Room." It was shot in New York City's Times Square, which may not have been the best choice because all the logos had to be blurred out in post production.

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