"Dreamlover" was built around a sample of The Emotions' 1970 track "Blind Alley." The Emotions' Soul tune was previously sampled by the rapper Big Daddy Kane on his 1988 track "Ain't No Half-Steppin'."
In the US, this was the biggest hit of 1993, according to Billboard.
Carey's vocal performance, like many others of her earlier recordings, was inspired by Minnie Riperton, an American singer and songwriter noted for her five octave vocal range. Riperton is best known for her 1974 international hit "Lovin' You
This marked the start of a trend for Carey using samples as backbones for some of the songs. She told Billboard magazine in 2008: "I hate it when people are like (uses a dramatic voice): 'She's taking a new direction with Hip-Hop.' I'm like, 'Will you please freakin' research?' I've been doing this for a long time - working with (writer-producer) Dave Hall on "Dreamlover," using the 'Ain't No Half-Steppin'' loop.I think that it was Q-Tip - he said this to me in '97 - that I was really the catalyst for so many of these artists who are now trying to infuse (songs with Hip-Hop). It was just digging in the crates with Dave Hall and coming up with, 'Hey, let's use this loop!' And from then on, I did it anytime I could."
In the same Billboard interview Carey discussed her songwriting technique: "For each album, I try to have a book that I write the whole thing in. It started - this was a long time ago. I don't have birthdays, I only have anniversaries. (laughs) But actually, this was the last birthday party I had... I think it was my 21st birthday, even though I'm only 12. We had it in advance. (laughs) Cyndi Lauper came to the party, and I've always been a big fan of hers since I was growing up. She gave me this book, and I wound up writing the whole Music Box album in this book, which I still have."