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Crybaby (song)

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For the 1983 song, see Utopia (American band).
Crybaby Mariah Carey.png
Single by Mariah Carey featuring Snoop Dogg
from the album Rainbow
A-side "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)"
Released July 18, 2000
Format CD
Recorded 1999
Length 5:20
Label Columbia
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"Things That U Do"
"Crybaby"/"Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)"
"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)"
Snoop Dogg chronology
"Chin Check"
"Story to Tell"

"Crybaby" is a song by American singer and songwriter Mariah Carey featuring American rapper Snoop Dogg. It was released on July 20, 2000 by Columbia Records as a double A-side with "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)". It was written by Carey and Snoop Dogg, and produced by the former and Damizza for Carey's seventh studio album, Rainbow (1999). It features Snoop Dogg throughout the songs bridge and is built around a sample of the 1988 song "Piece of My Love," originally performed by Guy and written by Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, Timmy Gatling and Gene Griffin. Throughout the song, the protagonist reveals the struggles of dealing with insomnia and thoughts of a past relationship during the night, as she spirals out of control and declares "I gotta get me some sleep."

The song was the center of a very public controversy between Carey and her label Sony Music Entertainment, due to their lack of promotion of it as a commercial single. It, alongside its A-side "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" were not eligible to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, due to the charts rules at the time of their release. Eventually, the song was able to attain a peak of twenty eight, Carey's first single to miss the top twenty. The song's music video features Carey spending a restless night in her apartment, throwing wine and cereal while trying to "get some sleep." Snoop Dogg makes an appearance in the video through a television monitor. Carey performed the song live during her Rainbow World Tour, in support of the album and its singles.

Background and composition[edit]

"Crybaby" was recorded during the summer of 1999 in Capri, Italy.[1] The song is composed in common time in the key of D minor and features instrumentation from the guitar and piano.[2] The song moves at a tempo of 79 beats per minute.[3] Carey's vocal range throughout the song ranges from the low note of B2 to the high note of D5. "Crybaby" features a rap verse from Snoop Dogg, and incorporates heavy usage of background vocals. The song's lyrics find the protagonist struggling with insomnia due to thoughts of a past lover throughout the night, not allowing her to sleep.[4] According to Carey, the song also has a more personal message, relating to the difficulty of getting rest with such a work-filled schedule.[1] She claimed that through writing, recording and producing her music, as well as all the promotional appearances, it became increasingly difficult for her to unwind and sleep at night. At one point in the song, Carey sings "I gotta get me some sleep," before finishing the final chorus.[1]


As with Butterfly two years prior, Rainbow became the center of a conflict in between Carey and her label.[5] After Carey's divorce with Sony record official and Columbia CEO Tommy Mottola, the working relationship with Carey and her label deteriorated. After the first two singles from Rainbow were released, Carey was gearing up for a third single to be released.[5] She intended for "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" to be the next single, as it held very personal lyrical content. However, after getting wind of her plan, Sony made it clear that the album needed a more up-beat and urban track to warm airwaves.[5] These different opinions led to a very public feud in between them, as Carey began posting messages on her webpage during early and mid-2000, telling fans inside information on the scandal, as well as instructing them to request "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)" on radio stations.[5] One of the messages Carey left on her page read:

"Basically, a lot of you know the political situation in my professional career is not positive. It's been really, really hard. I don't even know if this message is going to get to you because I don't know if they want you to hear this. I'm getting a lot of negative feedback from certain corporate people. But I am not willing to give up."[5]

Carey's actions were given mixed reception, with critics and executives both commending her bold actions towards a song she felt needed to be heard, while others criticized her for publicizing the scandal further.[5] Soon after, Sony involved themselves further, stripping Carey's webpage of any messages and began trying to reach an agreement with her. Fearing to lose their label's highest seller, and the best-selling artist of the decade, Sony chose to release the song as a double A-side with "Crybaby".[5] Carey, initially content with the agreement, soon found out that the song had only been allowed a very limited and low-promotion release, not allowing the song to chart on the official US chart, and making international charting extremely difficult and unlikely.[5]


Critical reception[edit]

Critical reviews for "Crybaby" were generally positive. Danyel Smith from Entertainment Weekly called the song "sexy" and wrote "the rapper's words tumble like dice across her velvety vocals."[6] Editor from Rolling Stone, Arion Berger, also complimented "Crybaby," especially the way Snoop Dogg's verses blended with Carey's vocals. Berger called his rap verses "fittingly careless."[7] Robert Christgau, an editor from The Village Voice, commented that the song was "not real R&B thrush," but wrote "its good enough to fake it."[8] While reviewing Rainbow, Dara Cook from MTV wrote that "Mariah amazes," on the song also calling the collaboration "Snoop Dogg enhanced." Cook wrote further "Perhaps culled from remnant Derek Jeter-directed rage, a frenzied and fed-up Mariah aggravates herself into a soulful, improvisational tizzy."[9]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Crybaby" was released as the third single from Rainbow in 2000, as a double A-side with "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)". "Can't Take That Away" was emphasized at Top 40 Mainstream radio stations and "Crybaby" at mainstream urban stations.[10] It was intended that the former would chart on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the latter would focus on the R&B charts.[11] The songs had very limited airplay, and because Billboard magazine rules at that time stipulated that the song from a double A-side with the most airplay (in this case, "Crybaby") would be credited only, "Crybaby" was eligible to chart.[10] Double A-sided singles were credited together on the charts until 1998, when the Hot 100 changed from a "singles" chart to a "songs" chart, and consequently every song was credited individually.[10] "Crybaby" did not appear on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart.[11] It debuted on the Hot 100 at number 28 only after its release as a commercial single, but its minimal airplay prevented it from ascending the Hot 100. It remained in the top forty for two weeks and on the chart for just seven weeks, becoming Carey's first single to miss the US top twenty.[11]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video was directed by Sanaa Hamri, who also directed the video for "Can't Take That Away (Mariah's Theme)." Both videos were shot back to back, and were released simultaneously to music programs and channels for immediate circulation.[5] The video begins with Carey lying in her bed, as she receives a text message from Snoop Dogg reading "Yo what's happening? What you crying for? Now you know you look 2 damn good 2 be crying... Come here... Holla at a playa DPG style... Ya know," to which Carey responds "I can't sleep." As the video progresses as the lyrics continue, it appears to be 5 AM, and Carey is still unable to sleep. She lies in bed with the lamp on, pondering on thoughts of a past lover until she takes a bath. Afterwards, she makes her way to the kitchen, and begins pouring an abundant amount of cereal and milk into a bowl, spilling it over the counter in a restless rage. As the scene finishes, Snoop's face is seen on a small monitor, directing his verse to Carey in the video. As the last chorus plays, Carey becomes restless and tosses a champagne glass and bottle at a large window, shattering it and sending glass around the living room. The video ends with Carey lying down on the couch one more, attempting to sleep once more.[citation needed]

Live performances[edit]

Carey performed "Crybaby" live during every show on the Rainbow World Tour.[12] For the song's performances, the stage was set with a large bed, pillows and comforters, as well as a small desk and homely props. Carey, dressed in pajamas, sang while re-enacting segments of the video.[12] During her performance at Madison Square Garden on April 11, 2000, she threw the audience small stuffed bears and completed the song while lying in the bed on stage. After the song's bridge, Snoop's pre-recorded verse was played over the background vocals.[12] The song was also performed on select nights of The Elusive Chanteuse Show tour in 2014.

Track listing and formats[edit]

  1. "Crybaby" (Radio Edit) – 4:31
  2. "Crybaby" (Album Version) – 5:19

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the Rainbow liner notes.[14]


Chart (2000) Peak
Canada (Canadian Singles Chart)[11] 4
US Billboard Hot 100[15] 28
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[16] 23


  1. ^ a b c Shapiro 2001, pp. 121
  2. ^ Lorenz, Trey. "Mariah Carey "Crybaby" Sheet Music in F Major - Download & Print". Retrieved 2017-02-08. 
  3. ^ "Crybaby - Snoop Dogg, Mariah Carey - Spot On Track". Retrieved 2017-02-08. 
  4. ^ "Mariah Carey – Crybaby – Digital Sheet Music". Alfred Publishing. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Shapiro 2001, pp. 133–134
  6. ^ Smith, Danyel (1999-11-12). "Mariah Carey – Rainbow". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Time Warner. Retrieved 2011-03-08. 
  7. ^ Berger, Arion (1999-11-25). "Mariah Carey Rainbow". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Limited Liability Company. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (1998). "Robert Christgau: CG: Mariah Carey". Retrieved 2010-09-28. 
  9. ^ Cook, Dara (1999-10-31). "Mariah Carey – Rainbow". MTV Networks Asia Pacific. MTV. Viacom. Retrieved 2011-03-10. 
  10. ^ a b c Pietroluongo, Silvio (2000-06-24). "Hot 100 Spotlight". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 2011-03-15. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Mariah Carey Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved May 27, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c Argenson 2010, p. 37
  13. ^ Crybaby (US CD Single liner notes). Mariah Carey. Columbia Records. 2000. CSK 12714. 
  14. ^ Carey, Mariah (1999). Rainbow (Liner Notes) (Compact Disc). Mariah Carey. New York City, New York: Columbia Records. 
  15. ^ "Mariah Carey – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Mariah Carey. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  16. ^ "Mariah Carey – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Mariah Carey. Retrieved May 27, 2015.

Further reading[edit]