2013 has been a hell of a year for Beyonce Knowles. Between her Super Bowl halftime show, her Mrs. Carter Show world tour, things have really come full circle for Queen Bey. In the last decade alone she's acquired 14 grammys, seven starring film roles, five Forbes list placements, a fashion line, a fragrance collection, a production company and a cosmetology school. With Jay-Z, she turned a hyper-private seven year courtship into the pop culture archetype for the modern American marriage. Whether you love or hate Beyonce, you can't help but marvel at her.
In 2003, after a seemingly revolving door of Destiny's Child lineup changes, the media was content to pit the longtime friends and collaborators against each other to compete for solo success. Or in Beyonce's case, peg her as the spoiled daddy's girl who was responsible for tensions in the group. This scrutiny would cause a two year bout of depression in the young starlet. In preparation for her first solo effort, she was fielding more questions from the press about her under-wraps relationship with Jay-Z than about her music. After the success of Kelly Rowland's duet with Nelly, the Patti Labelle sampling "Dilemma" the release of Beyonce's first solo album was delayed. It was a frustrating and uncertain time in her career.
Out of the 48 recorded tracks in consideration for Dangerously In Love, the standout first single was created in the now-closed Sony Studios facility in Hells Kitchen, Manhattan. Producer Rich Harrison, who was receiving lots of looks and praise for his work on Amerie's debut album, was late to meet Bey for the session. On top of that, he was battling a hangover he'd never forget. He'd been out celebrating the night before, because he had a beat in the chamber he was sure would blow Beyonce's mind. When he played the instrumental for her, however, she wasn't as over-the-moon as Harrison had expected.