Inside the making of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Bootylicious’ 15 years later

The story behind the jelly from some of the track’s key players

Destiny's Child
Destiny’s Child

It’s been 15 years since Destiny’s Child recorded “Bootylicious,” the Billboard No. 1 single that sampled the guitar riff from Stevie’s 1981 classic “Edge of Seventeen.” The track went on to sell 485,000 units to date, with more than 36.7 million online streams and a radio audience of 974 million, according to Nielsen Soundscan. The key sample proved to be a goldmine for Nicks, who received 50% of the songwriting royalties. Here’s a look back on the song and the making of its music video (see the video clip at the bottom of the page).

Before 2001, the term “Bootylicious” was mostly associated with Snoop Dogg, who so eloquently combined the words “booty” and “delicious” on his verse in Dr. Dre’s “F— Wit Dre Day” in 1993. But that all changed when Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, and Michelle Williams started working on Survivor, Destiny’s Child’s third album that would cement them as one of the decade’s best pop trios.

By May 2001, they had reclaimed the word “Bootylicious” on one of the album’s touchstone tracks that featured the phrase “I don’t think you ready for this jelly” and a Stevie Nicks’ guitar sample. Fifteen years after it was released on May 20, 2001, some of the track’s key players remember how it all went down.

“I had this track that had a Stevie Nicks’ [1981 hit “Edge of Seventeen”] guitar loop on it,” producer Rob Fusari, who has since worked closely with Lady Gaga, told EW in an interview earlier this year. He said hip-hop group Bell Biv Devoe wanted the song, but he gave it to Destiny’s Child’s manager and Beyoncé’s father, Mathew Knowles, instead.

Once they agreed to use it, Fusari and Beyoncé began “talking about lyrics and concepts back and forth over the phone,” he said. “She was out of the country at that point, but she had the ‘Bootylicious’ concept in her head. That was totally her. She knew what she wanted to say. It was very urban pop angle that they were taking on the record.”

The group recorded the song in Houston, Texas at SugarHill Studios, where they had worked for years. “We cut ‘Bootylicious’ in one 14-hour day,” SugarHill’s president Dan Workman, who worked as an engineer on the album, said. “Beyoncé was sitting sideways on the effects rack behind me in the studio and we’d play her the track over and over while she wrote. We wrote the song in one sitting right there in the studio, and she and Kelly would tap each other in singing the parts and figure it all out.

“I remember Mathew calling me that day asking what we did and I said, ‘Well we did a song called “Bootylicious” and the phone was just silent on the other end, he was like “Bootylicious”?! Oh no no no!’ I was like, ‘No you don’t understand. It’s this great female empowerment song it’s going to be fantastic.’ Sure enough it was on the radio within a few months and it was very thrilling to see that happen.”

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But Mathew Knowles went back and forth with Fusari about the track, debating whether to pull out the Nicks sample, which proved to be a fiscal splurge. “Initially the loop I wanted in the track was from ‘Eye of the Tiger’ which is the same riff,” Fusari said. “I didn’t have the vinyl to handle it, but I did have the Stevie Nicks record. Needless to say, Mathew was adamant about not replacing that loop because I knew it was going to come with a significant sample fee and a copyright that Stevie Nicks would want and sure enough it did. It was 50 percent of everything. He said, ‘The record’s perfect the way it is,’ so I didn’t get to change that. We kind of had a pissing match in terms of what the record needed.”

The sample worked to their advantage when the iconic Fleetwood Mac singer made a cameo in the “Bootylicious” music video, directed by Matthew Rolston. Nicks plays herself in a dressing room, strapped with a glittery guitar and magenta flared pants.

“Putting [Nicks] in the video… I don’t know what better way to put it than it’s woman-centric positioning,” said the album’s mixer Tony Maserati. “It’s super smart.”

Fans and critics agreed when the track hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song went on to sell 485,000 units to date, has been streamed more than 36.7 million times, and had a radio audience of 974 million, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

“When I was cutting that song, I definitely had the sense of ‘Oh my gosh, this is one of those moments.’ I knew it was going to be a hit record,” said Workman. “I’ve had that maybe twice in my career. It was just greatness.”

MTV Making The Video: Destiny’s Child ‘Bootylicious’

Jessica Goodman / Entertainment Weekly / Friday, May 20, 2016

Q&A: Stevie Nicks

A fog is pouring over the Pacific Coast Highway toward Stevie Nicks’ Southern California home, but the singer’s mood could hardly be brighter. The Fleetwood Mac alumna’s Trouble in Shangri-La has just entered the Billboard 200 at an impressive Number Five. Sheryl Crow, who co-produced five tracks, joined Nicks on the album, as did Macy Gray, Sarah McLachlan and Dixie Chick Natalie Maines. Nicks is also recovering from drug addiction— her latest was to the tranquilizer Klonopin. More recently, she’s come back from shooting her part in Destiny’s Child’s video for “Bootylicious,” which samples the Nicks classic “Edge of Seventeen.” “The wild thing is we’re together at, like, Number One and Number Five, and, of course, there’s about a 5,000-year age difference,” Nicks says with a sunny laugh.

RS: Do you feel you’ve become a sort of Mother Superior for women in music?

I do. I do. And it’s a nice feeling — I certainly would have never gone out looking for that, but it seems to be coming to me. I guess these are just all my lost children coming back into my arms.

RS: What do you think of how women in music sell their sexuality these days?

I definitely used my sexuality in a certain way. I kind of draped it all in chiffon and soft lights and suede boots. Everybody now is just much more blatant  Personally, I think that being a little more mysterious works better, and it lasts longer. You should be very careful that you don’t build everything you have around how cute you are or how sexy you are, because, unfortunately, no matter how cute you are or how sexy you are, in fifteen years, that won’t be the most important part of your music. I knew that in my twenties. And I prepared for that.

RS: Do players really only love you when they’re playing?

That’s just about groupies and rock stars and what happens out there on the road. It really doesn’t happen out there on the road to women. It didn’t really happen to me, but I saw it happening all around me.

RS: I hear you’re into doing Pilates these days. Has Pilates replaced Klonopin for you?

No, nothing replaces Klonopin. I’m not addicted to working out. I enjoy it, and I am doing it now not because I want to be thin but because I want to be healthy in twenty years.

RS: With all that you’ve lived through, are you surprised you’re still alive?

I am amazed. I feel very lucky. If I had not caught that Klonopin thing, I am absolutely sure I would have been dead in a year — no doubt in my mind. I feel really lucky that somebody tapped me on the shoulder — some little spirit — and said, You know what? You better go to a hospital right now and get better.

RS: Did drugs ever erode your love for music?

The Klonopin eroded my love for everything. Klonopin is a tranquilizer. So between Klonopin for the calm and some Prozac for the wellness feeling, you are never inspired. That’s what it does.

RS: Did you sense that this album was going to turn things around for you?

Well, I knew that this record would either make me or break me. I figured if I could do an album that the world loved after being addicted to that Klonopin stuff for eight years, and just having that be such a black hole, that I would be back on my way. That’s kind of how I feel. And the Fleetwood Mac reunion just slipped in there. I didn’t ever think that Fleetwood Mac would get back together. On that tour, I really regained my power, so when I came home from the Fleetwood Mac tour, I was really ready to finish this record.

RS: Even though Christine McVie has now retired from the group, is it safe to say there is a future for Fleetwood Mac?

Totally. Lindsey [Buckingham] and I and Mick [Fleetwood] and John [McVie], we are going to do this. Christine is OK. She has set us free and let us go. And she wants us to do this if we want to. And so we are going to do it. As soon as I get done with this [Shangri-La tour], and Lindsey is finished doing whatever he does in the next year, we’ll be done and we’ll come together, and we’ll do a record. And there’s a possibility that Sheryl could be a little involved in that.

RS: As someone who lived through the ultimate rock & roll interoffice romance, do you have any advice for us on the subject?

It doesn’t work. It just doesn’t, because when all the business and everything else is blended, you don’t have any space for anything.

RS: On the other hand, you’ve had some fascinating men in your life — Lindsey Buckingham, Don Henley, Jimmy Iovine.

They are all still my really good friends today. I just talked to Don Henley an hour and a half ago. We just did an incredible benefit for MS (Multiple Sclerosis) in Dallas two weeks ago. All the men who were in my life I’m friends with now, and it’s really nice. I chose to not be married. I chose to be single. I have a lot of fun this way. I can do anything I want, go anywhere I want, be with anybody I want, and I’m not angering anybody. Nobody is ever upset with me.

RS: It must be intimidating to ask you out. It’s like asking out Cinderella.

I would think it would be very intimidating for people. That’s probably why most people don’t, you know, because they’re scared [laughs]. I figure if there’s a soul mate for me out there somewhere, I’ll find him. He’ll find me.

RS: Is the secret to your success that you really are a witch after all?

I’m not a witch.

RS: Not even a good witch, Stevie?

I just like Halloween, and I thought that blondes look skinnier in black. That was my whole idea for that whole thing — a long, cool woman in a black dress, right?

By David Wild /Rolling Stone / July 5, 20001

Stevie Nicks takes care of herself

First she gave up sunbathing, then drugs

By Brenda Bouw
National Post (Canada)
May 9, 2001

Sitting two feet in front of Stevie Nicks, it is difficult to tell this is the same Fleetwood Mac siren who once lived the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle so severely that she has the quarter-sized hole in the cartilage of her nose to prove it.

Not only did the 10-year cocaine habit (which she quit in 1985) leave her permanently damaged, the addiction to tranquilizers that followed for eight years afterwards also nearly killed her. Then there were the breast implants that left her poisoned with the Epstein-Barr virus, causing lethargy, followed by a 30-pound weight gain in the mid-90s, which depressed Nicks to the point she swore never to sing in public again.

Combine all of that with the three decades she has spent on the road with Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist, and you would expect Nicks to look a bit bedraggled.

Instead, the singer/songwriter, who turns 53 on May 26, remains radiant, and claims she is the healthiest she has ever been.

Nicks gives some of the credit for her slim, tiny frame and smooth skin to her high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, and a vow at age 30 to stop sunbathing.

“Even in the worst of times, I kind of think I tried to take care of myself. I’ve never had a facelift,” says Nicks in a recent interview during a press-tour stop in Toronto to promote her latest solo album, Trouble in Shangri-La.

Nicks, dressed in form-fitting shiny blue pants, a long black shirt and open-toed black sandals, her signature straight blond hair resting on her chest, says she would consider having cosmetic surgery around her neck, but not on her face.

“The idea of really changing my face, I don’t want to do that,” she says. “I don’t want to look like another person. All of those other people who have plastic surgery don’t look the way they look.”

The what-you-see-is-what-you-get attitude is also evident on Nicks’s new album, which she describes as a reflection of her own life experiences.

“The whole concept of the record, Trouble in Shangri-La, is really about people making it to the top of their field and messing it up really bad.”

While the album is not about O.J. Simpson, it was written during the last two months of the trial, Nicks says.

Its release last week also fits in nicely with the recent career dive actor Robert Downey Jr. is experiencing after his arrest again last month for illegal drug use.

“I think Robert Downey fits right into my Shangri-La mode. Someone who is as respected and loved as he is — it is just Shangri-La and the fall of Shangri-La.”

Nicks acknowledges her own storied background fits into the same fall-from-utopia category, but she says the album is not all autobiographical.

“Of course I went through it, but sometimes you write more about other people than you do yourself. If you are sad about something, maybe you don’t write so much about it. When you see someone else go through it, well, there you go.”

Trouble in Shangri-La also features such guests as Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chick singer Natalie Maines, Macy Gray and Canadian singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan.

While Crow made the largest contribution, co-producing and performing on five of the songs, McLachlan sings background vocals and plays guitar and piano on “Love Is,” the final track.

McLachlan’s husband, Ash Sood, also plays drums on “Love Is,” which is one of the first songs Nicks wrote when she started working on the album six years ago.

Nicks first learned of McLachlan in 1994 while hearing her song “Possession” on the radio, while fast asleep during a visit in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.

“It woke me up … I sat up and said ‘Who is this?’ “ Nicks recalls. She bought the CD the next day.

She calls McLachlan’s contribution to her new album “one of those perfect accidents.”

Canadian producer Pierre Marchand was supposed to go to Los Angeles to record “Love Is” with Nicks, but had trouble crossing the border, and instead arranged a meeting in Vancouver. He then asked Nicks if she was interested in having McLachlan, now on a career hiatus and living in Vancouver, perform on the album.

Nicks agreed, and spent time with McLachlan and Sood at their home for a week in November.

“I really got to hang out with her. It was really neat.”

Not only are McLachlan’s musical talents on the album, but her artwork as well. She drew the ‘S,’ used to spell out ‘Stevie Nicks’ on the cover of Trouble in Shangri-La. Turned upside down, the ‘S’ is meant to be a picture of a dragon.

Nicks says she saw McLachlan’s drawing on the coffee table in the Vancouver studio and asked if she could use it on the album.

“This record was very hand-stitched,” Nicks says. “I love that part about this record, that everybody did a really special thing.”

Also appearing on the album is Nicks’s ex, Lindsey Buckingham, with whom she recorded her first album in 1973, Buckingham-Nicks, where the couple appeared nude. (She calls doing the nude cover “the most terrifying moment of my entire life.”) A year later, thanks to the nude cover, which got them noticed, the couple joined Fleetwood Mac, which became one of rock’s most storied and highly successful acts. That band’s 1977 album, Rumours, sold more than 17 million copies, and stood as the all-time best-selling album for several years.

Despite the band’s acrimonious past, which included Nicks’s affair with Mick Fleetwood after she and Buckingham split, Nicks says members of the band remain friends.

She rejoined Fleetwood Mac in 1997 on tour for the album The Dance. Since then, Buckingham has remarried and has a child, which Nicks says has been good for their professional relationship.

“It is all good now,” says Nicks, who is single and has no plans to have children. “He is very married, which kind of takes out that thing of ‘Will Lindsey and Stevie get back together when they are 90?’ It makes it easier for us.”

Nicks begins touring for Trouble in Shangri-La in early July in the United States. No Canadian dates have yet been scheduled.

Meantime, she says Fleetwood Mac will head back into the studio again at the end of the year. The band will record another album, but this time without singer and keyboard player Christine McVie.

Nicks is also considering collaborating with the all-girl group Destiny’s Child, who have asked her to play guitar in the video of their next single, “Bootylicious,” which uses music from Nicks’s 1982 solo song (single) “Edge of Seventeen.”