I Know What You Want
by Busta Rhymes (featuring Mariah Carey)

Album: It Ain't Safe No More... (2003)
Charted: 3 3
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Songfacts®:

  • Here, Busta Rhymes hooks up with Mariah Carey to portray a couple who have been together a long time. Busta is out on the road a lot so they don't get to make love as much as they'd like, but the sex is good when they do get together as both know what the other wants.
  • As well as Busta and Mariah's contributions, there are also rapped verses by four members of Rhymes' group, the Flipmode Squad: Spliff Star, Baby Sham, Rah Digga, and Rampage.
  • Busta released the song as the second single from It Ain't Safe No More... It reached #3 in the US and was ranked 17th on the Billboard Hot 100 year-end charts for 2003. "I Know What You Want" topped the charts in several other countries including Hungary, Poland, Romania and South Africa.
  • Rick Rock (Jay-Z's "Change the Game," Fabolous' "Can't Deny It") supplied the R&B track's beat.
  • Busta Rhymes exchanges vocals with Carey on the chorus, though he originally wanted an R&B vocalist to sing the male part. He recalled on the YouTube documentary Busta Rhymes, Mariah Carey - DIVINE: The 18 Year Anniversary Celebration that after receiving Rock's instrumentation and recording some dummy vocals, he reached out to Carey, who told the rapper to send her the demo. Busta explained that he sang the reference vocal on the hook to give her an idea of what he thought she should be doing, but Carey "insisted" he was the right man for the job.

    "Yes, Busta was singing and I remember going like, 'Do you want me to sing this part over? Or... like 'is he keeping that part?'" she recalled. "Because at that time, rappers weren't really doing the singing thing, but I loved it."
  • Chris Robinson directed the video, which features Busta Rhymes, the Flipmode Squad, and Carey lounging around an expensive mansion. Carey advertises her own brand of jewelry, Automatic Princess, during her sequences.

    Actors Jai White and La'Shontae Heckard portray a husband and wife in the clip.
  • Rhymes and Carey reunited in 2020 for "Where I Belong," a track recorded for the rapper's 2020 album, Extinction Level Event 2: The Wrath of God. That song pays tribute to "I Know What You Want" by sampling its beat. Busta also flipped the song alongside Ohio rapper Trippie Redd on 2020's "I Got You."

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