Kelly Rowland's third single off her fourth studio album, Talk a Good Game, finds her speaking openly on her relationship with Beyoncé Knowles, as she admits to resentment about her former bandmate's post-Destiny's Child success. "Went our separate ways, but I was happy she was killin' it. Bittersweet, she was up, I was down," Rowland sings.
After tossing Beyoncé into her dirty laundry, the songstress then proceeds to detail a relationship with a verbally and physically abusive boyfriend. who drove a wedge between her and Bey. "I was battered, he hit in a window like it was me until it shattered," Rowland croons. "He pulled me out, he said, 'Don't nobody love you but me, not your mama, not your daddy, and especially not B.'"
The track was penned by The-Dream, who compiled the lyrics from different personal stories that Rowland shared. The hitmaker told Billboard magazine that he had to "push" Rowland to go outside her comfort zone. "What unfolds on TV or on the Internet, it's never really that. You think it is but it's just not," he said. "When you have a stage like Kelly has, you should talk about that part of your life. I think Kelly's way deeper than that."
Rowland also teamed up with The-Dream on "Where Have You Been?" a track off the latter's IV Play album.
The recording of the song was so emotional for Rowland that it took her around ten takes to lay down her vocals without crying. "It was very emotional. It took me days to record," she told Billboard magazine. "I had to get past being so upset and actually sing the song, not sob through it. I always hope that my music can inspire someone, the same way other artists inspire me. Dream said, 'I want to write you a record so that people will know exactly who you are, underneath it all.'"
The phrase "dirty laundry" is used to describe someone's secrets that they don't want anyone to find out about. Don Henley of The Eagles had a solo hit single with the same title
. His tune had the subject matter of unscrupulous journalists prying into his personal life and doing anything for a story.
So what does Beyoncé think of the song? Speaking with Washington radio station 93.9 WKYS, Rowland said that Bey's response was endearing, telling Rowland that she "never left" her side. "She heard how real I was and was like 'I'm so proud of you,'" Kelly explained.
The fact that Rowland got to a place where she felt able to perform the song is enough of an accomplishment for The-Dream. "The first time we did it I was like, 'I know this isn't a song you sing, but I'd rather you feel this than to hit the notes you need to hit.' I had no idea how talented she was at vocals, and she just drove it out there," he told Billboard magazine. "Forget the rest of it, about the business and all that. Just knowing she feels and felt was great enough for me, even if nobody heard the record. It's an Earth-stopper. It's going to take a couple weeks for people to let it soak in."
Rowland told Fader magazine that she had a personal conversation with The-Dream, which led to them writing this song. "I was like, 'wait a minute, this is personal!' He's just like, 'People go through this every day. Everybody has their version of their dirty laundry and it allows people to get to know you more. Is that a bad thing?' You sit there and you're wondering what people are going to say, but in that moment after I sang it I didn't care. For me it was therapeutic. I felt lighter."