1, 2 Step
by Ciara (featuring Missy Elliott)

Album: Goodies (2004)
Charted: 3 2
  • songfacts ®
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  • Lyrics
  • "1, 2 Step" is a song written by Ciara and rapper Missy Elliott, and produced by Jazze Pha for Ciara's debut album Goodies. Featuring a cameo verse by Elliott, it is a one of four tracks originally recorded two years before the 2004 release of the LP with Jazze Pha in Atlanta. Jazze Pha asked Elliott to appear on the tune, and she recorded her verse in Miami.
  • The song is about a dance, which Ciara demonstrates in the video. It's based on the two-step, but with heaps of flair (Laura Bell Bundy did something similar, but with a country flavor, in her song "Two Step"). Many videos popped up with the choreography.
  • Missy Elliott's rap verse interpolates a similar verse from Teena Marie's 1981 cut "Square Biz."
  • Ciara would return the favor the following year by contributing a rap verse on Elliot's "Lose Control," which would earn the Princess of Crunk her first ever Grammy win.
  • Instrumentally, the song is a Crunk n' B track, with a strong influence of 1980s electro dance music. Jazze Pha based his beat on early 1980s hip-hop songs Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock." Jazze Pha sought to create a more melodic version.
  • Released as the follow-up to Ciara's chart-topping single "Goodies," the song peaked in the Top 10 of many countries, topping the charts in Canada, and went on to become Platinum or Gold in many other territories.
  • The music video was directed by Benny Boom and takes place in an Atlanta skating rink and on the streets. The clip shows Ciara teaching others the song's titular "one, two step" dance, which is similar to the grapevine steps. R&B boy band, B5, Lloyd and Lil Scrappy all make cameo appearances.
  • Missy Elliott hadn't met Ciara or heard her debut hit, "Goodies," when she was asked to write a song for the singer. The result was "1, 2 Step," which enabled the Atlanta star to demonstrate her skilled dancing.

    "Back then people weren't really sing-rapping," Elliott recalled to Billboard in a 2018 interview. "Now that's the thing. But I wanted it to be where she still kind of rap-sings it. It allowed her to be able to dance, so she's not sitting there trying to do all these runs and sing and all that stuff, because you can't really get off when you trying to sing and then you trying to do the whole matrix thing going backward."
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