Cater 2 U

"Cater 2 U" is a song by American recording group Destiny's Child, taken from their fourth studio album Destiny Fulfilled (2004). Columbia Records released it as the album's fourth and final single on June 14, 2005. The song was written by band members Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams along with Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Ricky "Ric Rude" Lewis and Robert Waller, with Beyoncé, Rude and Jerkins handling its production. An R&B ballad talking about a woman's desire to cater to the male love interest of her life, "Cater 2 U" contains synthesizers in its instrumentation. A lawsuit filled by singer-songwriter Rickey Allen in 2006, claimed the group only recorded a cover of the song which was originally his; however the case was settled in 2009.

"Cater 2 U"
Single by Destiny's Child
from the album Destiny Fulfilled
A-side"Girl"
ReleasedJune 14, 2005 (2005-06-14)
Recorded2004
StudioSony Music Studios (New York City)
GenreR&B
Length4:07
LabelColumbia
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Destiny's Child singles chronology
"Girl"
(2005)
"Cater 2 U"
(2005)
"Stand Up for Love"
(2005)

"Cater 2 U" received mixed reviews from music critics who, despite generally praising its composition and the group members' vocal performances, criticized the lyrical content. The song was nominated in two categories at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in 2006 and received an award for Best R&B/Soul Single, Group, Band or Duo at the 2006 Soul Train Music Awards. "Cater 2 U" was commercially successful in the US, peaking at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, further receiving a gold certification. The song also appeared in the top ten in New Zealand and top twenty in Australia, while also receiving minor chart placement in Belgium and Netherlands.

A music video for the song was filmed by Jake Nava and shot at the Red Rock Canyon State Park in California. It features the trio at a desert with each member singing at a separate set and later a choreographed dance during the chorus. To further promote "Cater 2 U", Destiny's Child performed the song during several televised appearances and at the 2005 BET Awards. In addition, "Cater 2 U" was added to the set list of Destiny's Child's final tour Destiny Fulfilled... and Lovin' It in 2005. Both Beyoncé and Rowland performed the song during their solo tours after Destiny's Child's disbandment. A cover version of "Cater 2 U" was performed by Usher and Babyface at the 2005 World Music Awards as a tribute to the group due to their disbandment that followed the same year.

Background

"Cater 2 U" was written by band members Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams along with Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Ricky "Ric Rude" Lewis and Robert Waller. The production was handled by Beyoncé, Rude and Jerkins with the band members also serving as the vocal producers. The song was recorded in 2004 at Sony Music Studios in New York City with guidance from Jeff Villanueva and Jim Caruna. The audio mixing was done by Tony Maserati while the mastering was finished by Tom Coyne.[1]

During an interview with MTV News, Beyoncé talked about the meaning of the song: "It basically talks about how a guy inspires you... You want to make him happy and you want to cater to him. I know it's going to be surprising to a lot of people that the independent survivors are being submissive to their man, but it's important that people know that, you know, it's fine if your man deserves it and gives that back to you."[2] "Cater 2 U" was released as the fourth and final single from Destiny Fulfilled.[3] It was first released in the US as an extended play (EP) consisting of the audio version of the song along with four remixes on June 14, 2005.[4] On July 19 another EP was released containing the original version and six remixes.[4] Six days later an extended play of the single was released in Italy.[5] "Cater 2 U" was included on two of Destiny's Child's compilation albums: the greatest hits album #1's (2005) and Love Songs (2013).[6][7]

Lawsuit

Chicago-based singer-songwriter Rickey Allen pushed allegations that "Cater 2 U" was inspired by a song he had composed with the same title and spelling, which was copyrighted in the mid-1990s and 2000 and performed locally during that time. He claimed he handed over a version to producer Maurice Joshua, who allegedly went on to cover the song with Destiny's Child.[8] Joshua denied his claims, noting that he never held a copy of Allen's song.[8][9] Allen filed a lawsuit against the group for compensation in a Chicago, Illinois court in 2006 where the trio was due to appear in December 10 for an eight-day trial. However, they managed to avoid any given court dates after their public split in 2005 and agreed to settle behind closed doors.[10] In early December 2009 it was confirmed by Chicago Sun-Times that the group had reached a settlement with Allen. His attorney, Matthew Wildermuth, said in a statement, "I can confirm that yes, [the case] did settle. All of the issues have been amicably resolved and the case is going to be dismissed. [Allen is] excited about being able to devote time to pursuing his musical career. All legal terms and agreement will not be released and the case will be dismissed by a judge".[11]

Composition

"Cater 2 U" is a four-minute long R&B ballad.[12] According to the sheet music published on the website Musicnotes.com by Sony/ATV Music Publishing, "Cater 2 U" was composed using common time in the key of D major with a slow tempo of 63 beats per minute. The vocal elements span from A3 to B4.[13] Instrumentally it consists of silky synthesizers "slink[ing] and slurp[ing]" throughout, creating a seductive feel as stated by Dimitri Ehlrich of Vibe and writers of Billboard magazine.[3][12] As the song progresses, it builds to a symphonic crescendo.[12]

Lyrically, "Cater 2 U" talks about females wanting to submissively serve their male love interests and take care of them as they admire their hard work and are inspired by them.[12][14] The trio further sings about the men of their lives and the way in which they will take care of them.[14] "Cater 2 U" was written as a continuation on the previous song on Destiny Fulfilled, "Soldier"; after the trio sings about finding a suitable lover in the aforementioned song, they express a will to cater to him in "Cater 2 U".[2] In the second edition of the book Introducing Cultural Studies, the authors argued that the song contained lyrics about objectification of women, which suggested that their gender role was to "'keep herself up', 'keep it right', 'cater to' their man by providing him with his dinner, a foot rub, a manicure, fetching his slippers, and much more, on demand".[15] An editor writing in The Times of India found a theme of feminine assertiveness in "Cater 2 U"; he noted that "the women come off not so much as lovers as full-service romantic servants".[16] J. Freedom du Lac, a staff writer of The Washington Post wrote that the song's theme was supplication.[17]

Beyoncé opens the song listing the things she would do for her man during her verses: brush his hair, take his shoes off, give him a manicure, rub his feet, help him put his do-rag on, undo his cufflinks.[18][19][20] She also sings the lines "Let me feed you, let me run your bath water, whatever you desire" after the things she had previously listed.[21] Rowland was noted for nearly rapping her solo part during which she promises to "keep my figure right," "keep my hair fixed" and acknowledges that if her man comes later home while she's asleep, "all he's gotta do is tap her on the shoulder and 'I'll roll over.'"[19][22] Williams sings her solo verses during the song's bridge.[23]

Critical reception

Beyoncé performing a segment during The Beyoncé Experience in which "Cater 2 U" was included.

Tom Sinclair of Entertainment Weekly noted the song was one of Destiny Fulfilled's "nice bits here and there", adding, "the pillow-talky pandering of 'Cater 2 U' ... is hard to resist."[18] AllMusic's writer Stephen Thomas Erlewine included "Cater 2 U" as one of the highlights on the album.[24] Slant Magazine writer Eric Henderson opined, "But just about the only element of the whole album that really sticks is the Laura Bush-worthy domestic complacency of 'Cater 2 U,' in which the trio espouses their joy in total submission."[25] Dimitri Ehrlich from Vibe magazine found that "the sexy trio is far more believable on the seductive R&B ballad 'Cater 2 U,' in which they set the feminist movement back more than a century over the course of four minutes".[12] Andy Battaglia writing for The A.V. Club felt that the song and "Soldier" "make sassy end-runs around notions of womanly subservience, but their best musical moments hide in tiny melismatic twirls instead of hooks".[26] The Guardian's Caroline Sullivan wrote that "Cater 2 U" was one of the songs that showcased "the girliness in the trio, musically and lyrically".[21] In a review of Love Songs, Amanda Koellner from the website Consequence of Sound described "Cater 2 U" as a "sleek" album opener.[27] Thomas Inskeep of Stylus Magazine hailed the song "sexy"[28] while USA Today's Elysa Gardner felt it was more "gently sensuous".[29] Rebecca Thomas from MTV News felt that the song differentiated from the trio's other material and added "While the Third Wave set may have side-eyed the gushy ballad, male fans eagerly welcomed [it]".[30]

The lyrics of the song were criticized with BBC's Nick Reynolds saying that although the group "reinvent[ed] themselves as domestic goddesses for some lucky man", the song was neither convincing nor good.[31] He further opined "I thought they were supposed to be independent women?!" juxtaposing it with the group's earlier song "Independent Women" (2000).[31] Jenny Eliscu of Rolling Stone echoed his statements, writing "Jerkins should hang his head in shame for having a hand in the maudlin 'Cater 2 U,' a saccharine tune about how low Knowles, Rowland and Williams will stoop to prove their devotion to their man ... Since when did these independent women become so craven?".[19] Sean Fennessey of Pitchfork Media also stated that "their swan song of sorts ... completely defies the winking empowerment most of their greatest jams provided".[32] He further described the production as "milky and slight", the chorus as "limp" and the song overally as "a Prince mock-up of the worst kind".[32] Jess Harvell of the same website offered similar criticism: "[The song] reneged on everything early DC stood for in a parade of kept-wifey pleas".[33] Alex MacPherson of Stylus Magazine dismissed the sincerity of the lyrics classifying "Cater 2 U" as a "queasy" song.[34] Neil McCormick from The Daily Telegraph panned it as "cringe inducing, with lots of sensuous moaning".[35] Barbara Ellen of The Observer wrote, "I thought this was the kind of song bands recorded by mistake then hid guiltily in the attic".[20]

Recognition

At the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in 2006, "Cater 2 U" was nominated in two categories: Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals ultimately losing in both.[36] The same year, the song won an award for Best R&B/Soul Single, Group, Band or Duo at the 2006 Soul Train Music Awards.[37] It was one of the Award Winning R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at the 2006 ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards.[38] In 2013, Lindsey Weber from the website Vulture listed "Cater 2 U" at number seven on her list of the 25 best songs by Destiny's Child. Weber went on to describe it as "probably the least feminist song" of the band's material, "the best song ever to lyrically use the phrase 'run your bathwater'" and hailed Williams for her contribution during the bridge.[23] On the occasion of Beyoncé's 32nd birthday, Erika Ramirez and Jason Lipshutz of Billboard included "Cater 2 U" at number 25 on the list of "Beyonce's 30 Biggest Billboard Hits".[3]

Chart performance

In the US, the song entered at number 95 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the chart issue dated April 30, 2005. In its fifth week of charting it moved to number 83 on May 28.[39] After several weeks of ascending the chart, "Cater 2 U" peaked at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending August 13, 2005.[3] On the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs the song entered the top ten of the chart at number six in its 19th week of charting on July 9, 2005.[40] It became the band's fourth top ten single from Destiny Fulfilled and the group's twelfth top ten song. On the chart issue dated July 30, 2005, "Cater 2 U" moved from the position of four to three which became its peak and stayed there for three additional consecutive weeks.[41] With that feat, it became the second single from Destiny Fulfilled and the group's seventh overall top five single on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the single gold on December 13, 2005, for shipment of 500,000 digital copies in the US.Its ringtone was further certified platinum on June 14, 2006, for selling 1,000,000 copies.

In the Netherlands, "Cater 2 U" peaked at number 60 in its first week of charting on September 17, 2005.[42] "Cater 2 U" debuted at number 20 on the Ultratip chart in the Flanders region of Belgium and moved to its peak position of 18 the following week on October 8, 2005, which also became its final.[43] It performed better on the same chart in the Wallonia region of the country where it peaked at the position of eight on October 22.[44] In Australia, the song debuted and peaked at number 15 on the ARIA Singles Chart on August 21, 2005, and lasted six weeks in the chart's top 50.[45] On the New Zealand Singles Chart, "Cater 2 U" first appeared on August 29, 2005, at the position of seven.[46] It moved to number nine the following week and started gradually descending the chart. It last appeared on October 10 at number 40 after seven weeks of charting.[47]

Music video

The music video for "Cater 2 U" was directed by Jake Nava.[14] It was shot back to back with the video for "Girl" and large parts were filmed at Red Rock Canyon State Park in California.[48] On July 5, 2005, the music video was released on MTV's official website.[49] It is also featured on the DualDisc edition of the album #1's as well as on the Japanese version of the DVD Destiny's Child: Live in Atlanta.[50][51] In 2013, it was included on the album Destiny's Child Video Anthology which contained every music video the group had filmed during their career. An image taken from the video of "Cater 2 U" was used as the cover artwork for the DVD.[52] The video opens with a fast instance of a sun rising in the sky and moves to the girls standing nude together. Each singer is featured in her own desert scene performing individually during her respective verse; Beyoncé is seen on a diving board next to a swimming pool, Rowland on a deserted road where she dances next to a silver car from which she had previously got out of and Williams on a sunlounger. During the chorus the group members are seen wearing fishtail evening dresses, performing a choreographed dance routine for the camera and three males who watch them from the side; the men are never filmed in the same shot as Destiny's Child.[53] During the end, each member is seen together with one of their male partners and the video fades away showing the trio nude again as during the beginning.[14]

The music video was shot at Red Rock Canyon State Park in California

While reviewing the video of "Cater 2 U", Rashaun Hall of MTV News felt that "[the trio] have decided to go au naturale — tastefully, of course".[14] He further concluded that the clip "is all about scenery and the beauty of the trio".[14] In their book Music Video and the Politics of Representation, Diane Railton and Paul Watson felt that the presence of men "seems utterly superfluous to the video's spectacle of female bodies and female pleasures".[53] They further noted that the video's imagery and performance managed to proceed without a reference to its lyrics and elaborated,

"Indeed, the abstracted emptiness of its desert spaces, the posed tableaux of the women's bodies and the noticeable lack of attention directed to its male subjects by both the camera and the group, does not simply jar with the lyrical narrative of female subordination but in fact reinforces the image of Destiny's Child as independent women who are in control of their own lives. That is to say, the video (re)establishes an image of women who are in control of their own bodies, their own desires, their relationship with men and their friendships with women."[53]

Live performances and cover version

On November 16, 2004, Destiny's Child performed "Cater 2 U" during the television show Good Morning America broadcast on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). They performed it again on December 18, 2004, during the television show Saturday Night Live, along with their then-current single Soldier.[54] The song was performed on June 28 during the 2005 BET Awards in Los Angeles.[55][56] Midway through the performance, for which the members wore form-fitting, floor-length brown gowns, they randomly picked Terrence Howard, Nelly and Magic Johnson from the audience to the stage and performed a lap dance for them.[55] Corey Moss of MTV News felt that their performance was one of the more memorable of the night.[55] Emily Tan from the website Idolator noted that the performance was one of the band's best further writing, "No one expected the girls to get as down and dirty as they did ... But it looked like no one was complaining."[57] Steve Baltin writing for Rolling Stone remarked that the group provided "some sizzle".[58] The trio gave a live rendition of "Cater 2 U" again at NBC's The Today Show show on July 29, 2005.[59] A writer of People magazine felt that "Beyoncé shimmies and shakes things up" during the performance.[60] An acoustic version was also performed on MTV in 2005 during its Spring Break coverage.[61]

In 2005, "Cater 2 U" was part of the set list of the group's final tour Destiny Fulfilled... and Lovin' It where they performed it in the same style as during the BET Awards, following the popularity of that performance.[57] During the performance, the trio, dressed in long blue floor-length gowns, called three men from the audience to the stage and performed a choreography similar to a lap dance.[20][62][63] In a review of a concert in the UK, Adenike Adenitire of MTV News felt that the song was suitable to "slow things down" following the previous energetic performances of the show.[63] "Cater 2 U" was included on the track listing of the group's live album Destiny's Child: Live in Atlanta (2006) chronicling a concert from the tour in that city.[64] Following the group's disbandment, both Beyoncé and Rowland included "Cater 2 U" in the set list of their respective solo tours. The former performed it as part of a Destiny's Child medley included during the concerts of The Beyoncé Experience in 2007.[17][65] It was subsequently included in the live DVD, The Beyoncé Experience Live (2007) which included a concert filmed at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.[66] Similarly, Rowland performed "Cater 2 U" live during her Lights Out Tour (2013) as part of a segment which included songs by Destiny's Child.[67] Usher and Babyface performed "Cater 2 U" at the 2005 World Music Awards on August 31 as a tribute to Destiny's Child due to their disbandment.[68] Byron Flitsch of MTV described their duet as "sensual".[69] In 2009, "Cater 2 U" was referenced in Lil Wayne and Drake's song "My Darlin' Baby".[70]

Credits and personnel

Credits are adapted from the liner notes of the album Destiny Fulfilled.[1]

Formats and track listings

Charts

Certifications

Region CertificationCertified units/sales
Digital download
United States (RIAA)[85] Platinum 1,000,000
Mastertone
United States (RIAA)[86] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history

Country Date Format
United States[4] June 14, 2005 Dance mixes EP
United States[73] July 19, 2005 Remix EP
Italy[5] July 25, 2005 EP

See also

References

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Bibliography

  • Railton, Diane; Watson, Paul (2011). Music Video and the Politics of Representation. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press. pp. 8–10. ISBN 978-0-7486-3323-4.
  • Longhurst, Brian; Bagnall, Gaynor; Smith, Greg; Crawford, Garry; McCracken, Scott; Ogborn, Miles; Baldwin, Elaine (2008). Introducing Cultural Studies (2, illustrated ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-4058-5843-4.
  • Scapolo, Dean (2007). The Complete New Zealand Music Charts: 1966–2006. Wellington: Dean Scapolo and Maurienne House. ISBN 978-1-877443-00-8.
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