Single Review: Busta Rhymes, Mariah Carey & Flipmode Squad “I Know What You Want”

I Know What You Want
Album: It Ain’t Safe No More
Year: 2003

Busta Rhymes, along with the Flipmode Squad, thanks his girlfriend for sticking by him through the years in the polished “I Know What You Want”

Busta Rhymes introduces the single by saying he knows his girlfriend’s wants and needs. He’s devoted to her and willing to do anything to make her happy. (“Shorty I know what you need/I got everything you need/I promise I ain’t gonna hold out either/I’ma give it all to you baby”).

He then starts with the first part of the chorus. As long as they pay attention to each other’s needs and are into the relationship, he’ll be able to fulfill her. (“Baby if you give it to me/I’ll give it to you/I know what you want/You know I got it/Baby if you give it to me/I’ll give it to you/As long as you want/You know I got it”). Next, Mariah Carey, in the role of the girlfriend, repeats the promise. Carey’s wispy vocals fit in with the slinky tone of the single.

Flipmode Squad member Spliff Star takes the first verse. They’ve been a couple for several years now. However, some changes have happened in their relationship. He’s become a popular, famous rap star and it has put a strain on them. She’s lonely and upset from not being able to talk to him for very long, if at all. He reassures her that this his dream and everything is for her. (“We been together for a few years/Shared a few tears/Called each other nicknames/Like Sugar Plum and Pooh Bear/I’m always on the road/I’m hardly ever home/Always busy this busy that/Can’t talk on the phone/I know you aggravated/Walk around frustrated/Ya patience gettin’ short/How long can you tolerate it/Listen ma I’m just motivated/I do this for us”).

Baby Sham is the next Squad member up. Sham loves her for her loyalty and for being a great mother to his child. She’s a special woman and he vows to be a good boyfriend to her. They love each other deeply and he enjoys their intimate moments together. (“…You stuck with me through my whole struggle/Can’t express the words/How much the kid loves ya/I’ma stand as a man never above ya/I can tell that you different from most….But when we sex we tease/In a passionate way”).

Busta Rhymes, the best rapper in the group, has the most redundant verse. He repeats the first verse. He apologizes for stressing her out which is the only new thing he adds. (“Listen, I’m never home/I always get up and go…I never meant to put a thousand pounds/Of stress on ya head”).

Rah Digga, taking Mariah’s point of view since she doesn’t rap, talks about the beginning of the relationship. Neither of them had any money and would spend time together taking walks in the city. They didn’t have a car so they traveled by bus to go anywhere and bought cheap soft drinks. When they were able to afford a car, it was whatever they could find. Now, they have luxury cars. However, they still intend to be together and not sleep with any people in the recording industry to further their careers. They’re a team and plan on growing old together. (“We started out broke…Cuttin’ up in the streets like we would never get old/Went from Lucy’s and buses to fifty cent sodas/And Novas to Hondas to Lexus to Rovers/Mad years passed/Still got each other back/Word is bond never screw none of these industry cats/We like Scull(y) and Mulder/Walkin’ shoulder to shoulder/Milkin’ this game watchin’ our seeds gettin’ older”).

In the fifth verse, Busta Rhymes promises eternal devotion to his girlfriend. (“Yes you know I’ll die for you/And ya know I’ll ride with you/I will always try with you/And give ya my love and cry with you”). Mariah takes the second half of the verse, singing that she will go anywhere with him and asks him to share quiet moments with her. (“I will climb a mountain high/Until I was up to touch the sky/So baby come and get more close to me/This is where your love is supposed to be”).

Rampage starts the final verse. He has finished touring and arrives home in a yellow Lamborghini. His girlfriend is sunbathing outside in a designer bikini and wearing the diamond ring he gave her. He’s glad to have found someone who will stand by him and to his gratitude, he lavishes her with the best things money can buy. They’re a family and he knows she wouldn’t break them up. (“I pull up to the house in a yellow Lamborghini/It’s been a few months in PA you haven’t seen me/Ya lookin’ good in that Gucci bikini/38 carats ya ring lookin’ freezy/No matter what I do in the world you never leave me/Fall back ma I’ll make ya lifestyle easy/I appreciate the things ya do to please me/Lookin’ at my daughter you’ll never do me greasy”).

After the chorus, Busta Rhymes does an outro which he mentions all the label subsidiaries he’s on. Mariah lets out a high note, which Busta says he’s expected. (“Flipmode Records, J Records/Def Jam Records/Busta Rhymes…Mariah/Flipmode Squad, yeah/So beautiful/Ah-ha I knew you was gon’ give me that high note, Mariah”).

Unlike most rap songs, “I Know What You Want” gives a full history of the relationship. It also feels genuine. In any other single in the genre, the woman would be a sex object and appear to be a golddigger.


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