Fighting Temptation

"Fighting Temptation" is a song recorded by American R&B singer Beyoncé and American female rappers Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, and Free in 2003. The song was used to promote the film The Fighting Temptations (2003), in which Beyoncé stars. It was composed by Missy Elliott, Lana Moorer, Marie Wright, Jonathan Burks, LaShaun Owens, Karriem Mack, and Walter Murphy. "Fighting Temptations" was released as the lead single from the soundtrack album of the movie on July 5, 2003 through Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment.

"Fighting Temptation"
Photograph of four women who smile and look at the camera. From left to right, the first person is a brunette woman that wears a red dress. The second woman has red hair and wears a blue blouse, while the third wears an orange hat and a sweater of the same color. The fourth female outfit consist of a hip hop look (a baseball cap and shirt). Behind them a shrub is visible. Below the picture a large orange rectangle appears. On it, the words "Beyoncé", "Missy Elliott", "MC Lyte", and "Free", all written in white capital letters, are listed, and '"fighting temptation"' below them. At the right corner, "The Fighting Temptations: Music from the Motion Picture" is written in blue capital letters.
Single by Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and Free
from the album The Fighting Temptations: Music from the Motion Picture
B-side"I Know"
ReleasedJuly 5, 2003
Beyoncé singles chronology
"Crazy in Love"
"Fighting Temptation"
"Baby Boy"
Missy Elliott singles chronology
"Gossip Folks"
"Fighting Temptation"
"Cop That Disc"
MC Lyte singles chronology
"It's All Yours"
"Fighting Temptation"
"Ride wit Me"

An R&B-funk song, "Fighting Temptation" samples Uncle Louie's "I Like Funky Music" (1979). Lyrically, the song makes reference to fighting against negativity in life as well as waiting for the right person before falling in love. Music critics generally received the song with positive reception. They complimented the theme of the song, the vocals of Beyoncé, and the verse-raps. "Fighting Temptation" received attention mainly in European countries, peaking at number 11 in the Netherlands and reaching the top 50 in Belgium as well as Switzerland. The accompanying music video for the song was directed by Antti Jokinen.


The song is basically about a group of women's strict "no sex" rule similar to a part of the film's plot where the female lead, Lilly (played by Beyoncé) abstains from being intimate with her love interest (Cuba Gooding Jr.).[1]


"Fighting Temptation" appeared on the soundtrack album of The Fighting Temptations as well as in the movie.[2] As a whole, seven tracks featured the vocals of Beyoncé.[3] The latter has a starring role in the film, along with a choir made up of gospel, R&B and hip-hop recording artists. Faith Evans, Angie Stone, Melba Moore, Rev. Shirley Caesar, The O'Jays, Montell Jordan, T-Bone, and Zane are all seen on the film and perform on the soundtrack.[2] "Fighting Temptations" features additional vocals from American female rappers Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, and Free.[4]


The soundtrack single was written by Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, Lana Moorer, Marie Wright, Jonathan Burks, LaShaun Owens, Karriem Mack, Walter Murphy, and Gene Pistilli. Production was handled by Elliott.[4] "Fighting Tempation is an R&B-funk song with a fun vibe.[1] The song samples Uncle Louie's 1979 song "I Like Funky Music".[4] Heather Phares of Allmusic wrote that the song's lyrics make reference to a "celebration of ladies' night out and waiting for true love."[1] According to Dani Boobyer of the United Kingdom-based website, The Situation, "Fighting Temptation" has "a well worn message about striving for the best and fighting against negativity."[5] Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine found that Missy notices pleasure and joy in sins that make people go to church on Sundays, but in reality, the "party people" are no different from the churchgoers, who sin in their song and music.[6] Lastly, the song's strong female presence is only less than the song's religious arrogance.[6]


During a string of soundtrack releases, Beyoncé commented on the song with Billboard stating, "A lot of music was written especially for the film. At first, I was concerned about the timing of the soundtrack, [because] my solo album was supposed to come out way before the movie. But then the solo album got delayed."[7] While later announcing the release of the soundtrack album in a press release, Beyoncé said:

Once you hear the song 'Fighting Temptation', and all the music in this film, you can't help but fall in love with it. You'll definitely get emotional. You might become happy or even sad, but your heart will get full. All the songs are touching and spiritual, and that's what the movie itself is like.[2]

"Fighting Temptations" serviced as a CD single in Germany on July 5, 2003.[8] It was sent to urban radio for airplay in the United States on August 18, 2003.[9]

Critical receptionEdit

Heather Phares of Allmusic wrote: "[...] the seven tracks that feature Beyoncé on her own or with other collaborators are more striking: in particular, the movie's title track, a surprisingly fun and funky celebration."[3] Dani Boobyer of The Situation (UK), commented that the soundtrack album "jumpstarts with the explosive 'Fighting Temptation' [...] setting R&B princess Beyoncé's sweet vocals against the hard sounds of Missy and MC Lyte's raps."[5] Ed Gonzalez of Slant Magazine wrote that Beyonce, MC Lyte and Free are not fighting temptations like the song's title says, but are looking for them.[6]

Chart performanceEdit

"Fighting Temptation" charted in mainland Europe in early 2004.[10] In the Netherlands it debuted at number twenty on the Dutch Top 40 in January 2004. The following week, it ascended to number thirteen, which became its peak position.[11] "Fighting Temptations" reached a high point of number 37 on its sixth week on the Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders). It charted for a total of seven consecutive weeks until mid-April 2004.[12] On August 29, 2004, the single debuted and peaked at number 42 on the Swiss Singles Chart.[10]

Music videoEdit

The accompanying music video for the song was directed by Antti Jokinen and it features Beyoncé, Elliott, MC Lyte and Free.[13] It was shot in an abandoned mansion near Los Angeles by the end of June 2003. Performance footage was seamlessly melded with clips from the movie.[13] On the set, Beyoncé expressed herself:

"Basically, it's kind of like a ladies' night 'cause it's all us females and the song is about basically all these temptations you have with this guy and you're kind of fighting it. The house came from the movie because it kind of reminds me a lot of the house that we filmed in for the movie."[13]


The video begins with Beyoncé in a red dress moving across a screen of multiple changing colors and then moves to multiple shots of Elliott rapping in a white and red jersey and matching hat, Lyte in a blue dress, and a church choir group. Next, Elliott is shown on roller skates in a white and black outfit rollerskating throughout the mansion. Shots are shown of Elliott in bed with a man and Beyoncé at a party with a guy and singing to the people there. As the song moves to Beyoncé singing the chorus, she is shown in a golden top and black shorts, sitting on a bed and dancing in a room, while back at the party, she is singing for her lover and blowing him kisses. The song then moves to a verse by Mc Lyte and we see her dancing in the middle of a semicircle of men wearing orange prison jumpsuits. Scenes of the movie and of Mc Lyte in front of an ever-changing background are intercut throughout this.

Beyoncé then sings the chorus again and dances in her red dress in front of the background. Mc Lyte and Free are seen at a backyard barbecue party as Mc Lyte's verse begins and she mingles with the party guests, with Elliott as the party DJ. Again, Beyoncé comes back to sing the chorus of the song, now at the barbecue party, with scenes of her dancing in a room of the mansion and scenes from the movie in which she is singing on a stage in front of a large audience with a group of people behind her. With the end of the final chorus, the song moves back to Elliott and Lyte, with the former on her rollerskates as at the beginning and the latter in front of the semicircle of men. The video ends with the four of them sitting at a picnic table at the barbecue party as two small girls clap hands on the opposite bench.

Track listingEdit

European CD Single[8]
1."Fighting Temptation"3:51
2."I Know"3:42


Chart (2003–04) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[14] 37
Germany (Official German Charts)[15] 54
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[16] 11
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[11] 13
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 42


  1. ^ a b c Tobey, Matthew. "The Fighting Temptations". Allmovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Murray, Rebecca. "'The Fighting Temptations (Music From The Motion Picture)' News". The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "The Fighting Temptations". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c The Fighting Temptations (Media notes). Columbia Records. 2003.
  5. ^ a b Boobyer, Dani (September 9, 2003). "The Fighting Temptations : Soundtrack". The Situation (United Kingdom). Archived from the original on July 25, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2011.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  6. ^ a b c Gonzalez, Ed (September 14, 2003). "The Fighting Temptations Original Soundtrack". Slant Magazine. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  7. ^ "Beyoncé Tempts Fans With More Movie Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. October 11, 2003. p. 20. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Fighting Temptation: Beyoncé/Missy Elliott/MC Lyte/Free: Musik". Amazon Germany (in German). Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  9. ^ "Urban – Week Of: August 18, 2003". Radio & Records. Archived from the original on February 18, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and Free – Fighting Temptation". Swiss Music Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Fighting Temptation". Radio Veronica. Retrieved June 18, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, MC Lyte and Free – Fighting Temptation". Ultratop 50. Hung Medien. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
  13. ^ a b c Moss, Corey (July 1, 2003). "Beyonce Throws Ladies' Night Party With Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, Free". MTV News. MTV Networks. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
  14. ^ " – Beyonce – Fighting Temptation" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ " – Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, Free – Fighting Temptation" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  16. ^ " – Beyoncé, Missy Elliott, MC Lyte, Free – Fighting Temptation" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  17. ^ " – Beyonce – Fighting Temptation". Swiss Singles Chart.