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Released 2004
Length January 25, 2005
Writer(s) Mariah Carey
Jermaine Dupri
Manuel Seal
Johntá Austin
Joseph Simmons
Darryl McDaniels
Jason Mizell
Producer(s) Mariah Carey
Jermaine Dupri
Manuel Seal

It's Like That is a lead single from Mariah's 10th studio album "The Emancipation of Mimi".

Background[edit | edit source]

In 2001, Carey released her debut film Glitter, which was met with critical and commercial overwhelming negative response, followed by personal and professional struggles.[2] Its accompanying soundtrack of the same name fared slightly better, spawning a top-five single in the United States and selling over three million units globally.[3] After posting a personally expressive letter on her official site, Carey checked into a hospital in Connecticut because of an "emotional and physical breakdown".[4] Following the events, Virgin Records bought out Carey's unprecedented $100 million USD recording contract. The company paid her $50 million to part ways.[5] Carey flew to Capri, Italy, after her two-week hospitalization.[6] During her five-month stay, she began to write a new studio album, using experiences she had gone through in recent months as inspirational themes.[7]

After being signed by Island Records and starting her own imprint, MonarC Entertainment, Carey released her intended "comeback" album Charmbracelet (2002).[6] However, the album failed to revive her career, receiving mixed reviews and not spawning a hit in the U.S., but sold considerably well. After enduring three years of "carping" from critics, Carey planned her return to music.[5] On November 18, 2004, she revealed on her website that she would return to music and announced that the album would be called The Emancipation of Mimi, stating, "For the first time in my life, I feel free and unashamed to be who I really am," she wrote. "I am celebrating that I've grown into a person and artist who no longer feels imprisoned by my insecurities ... I can now honestly say, 'This is me, the real me, take it or leave it'."[8]

Release[edit | edit source]

Originally, "Stay the Night" was going to be The Emancipation of Mimi's lead-single, with an online music forum based in the United Kingdom, announcing that it would be in stores on October 11 (in the UK). A few weeks later, it was removed from the release schedule, but it re-appeared under a different date, November 15, 2004.[9] Later, it was revealed that "Say Somethin'" (feat. Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg) was supposed to be the album's first single, as reported by Jennifer Vineyard of MTV News, who also revealed that the song was originally supposed to go to radio by the end of November, but it was pushed back to January and would be accompanied by a video, according to Carey's label representative.[8] However, both singles weren't release as the first single (eventually "Say Somethin'" was released as the album's final single).

Then, Island Records head L.A. Reid suggested Carey travel to Atlanta for a period of three days to work with Jermaine Dupri. When Reid heard the Dupri-helmed songs, Carey recalled, "He was like, 'Oh no! Now we've got to change the single, make these singles one and two.' " Carey agreed. "Nobody could tell me that 'Shake It Off' wasn't going to be my first single. It was my favorite song, just from the demo." Dupri had quickly sized up what he felt the album needed. "The records that I made are very melodic records, regardless of their hip-hop influence," Dupri said. "I think that's what she was missing."[10] On January 5, 2005, "It's Like That" leaked online and it was rumoured to be the official first single.[11] "It's Like That" aired first on Hot 97 in New York City and since the leak, over 40 stations begun playing the track.[12] On January 15, 2005, Carey posted a sound clip of "It's Like That", on her official website.[13] Ultimately, "It's Like That" was sent to mainstream and rhythmic radio on January 25, 2005.[1]

Composition[edit | edit source]

"It's Like That" was written by Mariah Carey, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal and Johntá Austin, while Carey and Dupri produced the song, with additional co-production by Seal. The song also features Dupri and Fatman Scoop providing adlibs and rap in the intro and outro, respectively.[14] It samples Run–D.M.C.'s hook "It's Like that Y'all" from their track "Hollis Crew" (1984).[15] "It's Like That" is an R&B and hip-hop song, about Carey going to a club to relax and forget her troubles,[16] refusing to give in to stress, strife and sadness.[17] Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine went further, writing that in the song Carey arrives at the party "already shit-faced": "I came to have a party/Open off that Bacardi…Purple taking me higher/I'm lifted and I like it."[18] As described by PopMatters's Jozen Cummings, "Hand claps and a playful whistle set the pulse for four bars. After Dupri’s ad-libs, the whistle drops out and allows Carey’s voice to lead the hand claps and throbbing bass, while the chorus spawns a chord progression with strings and piano."[19]

During an interview for MTV, Mariah explained the meaning of the lines, "Them chickens is ash and I'm lotion," stating: "We were sitting around basically having jokes. [...] We're like making up stupid stuff just to entertain ourselves at this point. Then Jermaine [Dupri] came back in the room and we're all sitting there going something about ash and lotion. We're not calling somebody ashy. We're actually saying, 'You are ash and we're lotion.' So basically, you are the antithesis of us. Basically I'm talking to the guy like, 'Them chickens is ash and I'm lotion. You need to get rid of them and I'm the antidote'."[20]

Charts[edit | edit source]

Chart (2005) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[35] 9
Croatia (Croatian Airplay Radio Chart)[39] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[40] 33
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[41] 29
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[42] 32
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[43] 29
Denmark (Tracklisten)[44] 19
Europe (European Hot 100 Singles)[45] 8
France (SNEP)[37] 16
Germany (Media Control Charts)[46] 14
Hungary (Mahasz)[47] 3
Ireland (IRMA)[48] 11
Italy (FIMI)[36] 7
Japan (Oricon)[49] 130
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[50] 13
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[51] 21
Norway (VG-lista)[52] 13
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[53] 4
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[54] 10
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[55] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[56] 16
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